Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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The Assisted Living Decision – When is the Time Right?


Posted on April 5, 2014 by Katy Miller


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Making the decision to move your family member into an assisted living community isn't easy in any sense of the word. Older adults and their families face many doubts as they determine when the time is right to get extra help. Assisted living communities offer active adults a safe place to live along with personalized, discreet assistance and a friendly, shared living space. For those who might not be able to live safely on their own any longer, assisted living care in a social and engaging setting is a loving and practical option.

But, when is the time right? When do you know you officially need to look into another solution?

The answer to that question is likely different for each family. However, there are some warning signs to signify that the time is right to look for an assisted living arrangement.

1. A Messier House
Is the house a bit messier than it used to be? If the clutter has gotten a little out of control, or the newspapers are building up, that’s a sign that your family member may be growing a little withdrawn, and even depressed. Along these same lines, take a look at house plants, gardens and lawns. If they are unwatered or overgrown and were formerly well kept, it’s likely that these chores have become overwhelming to someone who is living alone. If this is the case, the social interaction that an assisted living community provides, along with the alleviation of household chores, will do a world of good.

2. Unkempt Personal Appearance
Has your dad’s appearance declined? Is he wearing the same clothes every day? Or is his hair unkempt when it used to be neatly combed each day? As in the case of a messier home, an altered appearance is a distinct sign that there are issues that need to be addressed.

3. Leaving Appliances Unattended
Even more dangerous is the tending of household appliances. Have you found the oven on in your mom’s kitchen, even though she is not baking? Or have you arrived to find coffee burnt and seared in the bottom of the pot after the coffee maker was left on overnight? These are all serious risks to your family member’s health and safety and are clear signs that he or she needs assistance.

4. Forgetting to Take Medication
Along these same lines, if your parent is regularly forgetting to take his or her medication, it’s time to look for another solution. You can’t be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, for the sake of their health, it’s time to start looking for some help.

Though many older adults turn to assisted living as they age, some are reluctant to give up their independence. Many do not want to leave the familiarity of their homes or neighborhoods. Abrupt change can be tough on anyone, so it's important for everyone involved in the decision to keep your family member’s needs and emotional health foremost in their minds.

Your family member may express anger or sadness at the idea of moving; however, consider that we have helped thousands of families make this move every year. In most cases, residents transition well and realize that their life is better in their new setting. They get the discreet help they need, maintain a private living space, eat excellent meals, get the medications they need, have amazing experiences with friends and, ultimately, live well longer.


Category: Caregiver Support Tags: ,

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