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When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

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More than 16% of the American population is over 65 years, equating to more than 1 in 7 Americans. Expected projections are 22% by 2050. 

The aging process is an inevitable part of life and its natural progression results in older adults experiencing a certain degree of functional decline. More than 1 million Americans reside in assisted living

Assisted living provides a community for seniors who need more care than they can get from family members and friends but can still live independently with some help from experienced and friendly staff. So how do you know when to consider assisted living for your senior loved one?

There are many factors to consider when deciding if assisted living is right for your loved one. Let’s look at some signs and questions when thinking about assisted living. 

Assisted Living Lifestyle Option

Assisted living is a residential care option that provides help, support, and housing to elderly adults who need assistance daily. It’s different from nursing homes and other institutions as it enables seniors to live in a home-like environment, get the help they need, and maintain self-dependence.  

Assisted living provides help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and eating. In addition to services such as:

  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Meal preparation
  • Wellness programs
  • Medication management

Signs That Indicate It’s Time for Assisted Living

Transitioning to assisted living can be stressful, uncomfortable, and met with resistance from senior loved ones. Knowing the signs can help make it easier to discuss. 

A Recent Fall or Accident

If a senior loved one has a recent fall or accident with no one to provide care or immediate medical attention, it might be time to consider assisted living. Especially with signs of early mobility issues, it can be scary to think: What if it happens again? 

Health Problems

Assisted living can take better care of seniors with sudden changes in health, those with slow recovery from illness, and deteriorating health. These can include sudden illness or chronic diseases. 

Loss of a Partner

The loss of a spouse through death or divorce can have significant implications on health and declining health in seniors. Assisted living rules out social isolation and provides support, various activities, and a true sense of community. 

Personal Hygiene

Changes in a loved one’s hygiene and grooming show their physical or mental inability or diminished capacity to perform essential self-care. Examples include forgetting to take medications or pay bills, weight loss, and unsanitary conditions. 

a close up photo of a young person holding the hands of a senior in support

Questions To Ask 

You may not always be sure of the kind of care required for a senior loved one and if you are providing that level of care. The following questions can help you determine if they need additional care. 

Do They Need Assistance With Activities of Daily Life?

If a senior loved one needs assistance with two or more activities of daily living (ADLs), assisted living may benefit them. ADL examples include eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, housework and laundry, shopping, and cooking. 

If this is the case, you may want to discuss options with your loved one’s doctor to see if they are physically able to live independently at home. If not, you may need to consider assisted living. 

Many assisted living facilities provide all or most basic needs, services, and amenities. It decreases seniors’ workload, with more free time to enjoy and maintain a higher standard of hygiene that might otherwise be impossible due to physical limitations or problems with dexterity.

Are They Socially Isolated?

If senior loved ones live alone, they may not be getting enough social interaction. Social isolation is a problem among seniors, with close to one-fourth of adults over 65 considered socially isolated. 

Study shows social isolation can significantly affect the health of seniors. Assisted living provides a safe and secure environment that allows for independence in daily activities yet still offers numerous opportunities for socialization with other seniors who share common interests.

As a Caregiver, Can You Provide Adequate Long-Term Care?

It can be challenging caring for a senior loved one while maintaining a balance in your life. The added cost and time add further pressure and can lead to caregiver fatigue and burnout.

Being proactive and looking for assisted living options allows you to maintain a healthy relationship with senior loved ones without constant caregiving. 

Benefits of Assisted Living

Many people are nervous about living in an assisted living community. However, with proper care, an assisted living community can be the place for your loved ones to live out their golden years. Here are some benefits of assisted living:

  • Maintain the physical, sensory, mental, and emotional health of residents.
  • Availability of professional medical services on-site. 
  • Flexibility to meet the changing needs of seniors.

Next Step in Senior Care

Assisted living facilities offer benefits for seniors and their families. It provides a home-like atmosphere for your loved ones and the help they need to maintain a strong sense of independence. 

It’s vital to discuss assisted living with an individual loved one’s needs with their doctor to get medical insight before making a decision. You can also call or schedule a visit with Tylers Mill Senior Living to learn more about how we can enrich your senior loved one’s life. 

Written by Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President

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