When is it the right time to move a parent or loved one into assisted living? This is a question adult children are faced with more and more as the baby boomer generation ages. Unfortunately the majority of these decisions are made immediately following a senior’s fall or similar unfortunate event. Adult children are flung into a situation where they must make multiple big decisions – and quickly. These questions may include:
- How will my loved one respond to the idea of assisted living?
- What assisted living location best fits my loved one’s personality?
- What assisted living location will best fit my loved one’s budget?
- How will my loved one respond to the idea of moving out of their home?
- What assisted living location is convenient for me and my family to visit?
- Will my siblings and I agree about the move to assisted living?
- Should I sell my parent’s home?
If possible, it’s always best to plan ahead for such a situation and start leading conversations early. Hurried decisions during a time when one’s thinking is muddled with high emotions and stress is not the best position to find yourself. Here are the top 7 signs that the time for transitioning to assisted living may be drawing near.
1). Mismanaged Finances. Take a look where your loved one keeps their mail. A quick run through of their mail can tell you a great deal. Are payments up to date? Are there any “final notices”? Are there any nasty letters from creditors? Are there piles of unopened mail? Are there any overdrawn bank balances? Is there any evidence of a recent accident? Look closely. Difficulty in managing money is the most common sign of dementia.
2) Poor Diet and Hygiene. Give your loved one a good hug. Do they feel noticeably thinner? Heavier? Look in your loved one’s pantry and refrigerator. Are there any expired or spoiled foods? Try to get a sense of what their diet consists of. Does it look as though they are cooking for themselves or are they heating up microwave dinners? Early red flags of dementia include incessant snacking as mealtime begins slipping their mind. Do you notice any strange odors? Are their clothes clean? Are they wearing the same clothes as the last time you saw them? Poor hygiene may point to a lack of ability to accomplish daily acts of living.
3) Housework In Decline. Take a walk around the house and look closely. Are the plants dying? Is the laundry piling up in the laundry room? Is the trash being taken out and picked up? Are spills being cleaned up? If they have a pet, are they caring for them appropriately? Are the dog droppings being picked up regularly? Does the dog or cat appear healthy? Offer to check their mail and check the mailbox. Is it overflowing? Keep an eye out for obvious signs of forgetfulness.
4) Cognitive Awareness. Offer to play a board game with your loved one. You might try both a familiar game and a not-so-familiar one too. Do they have difficulty following directions? Do they need repeated prompts and reminders throughout the game? Do you notice a lack in judgement given the strategy of the game? This can give you a great deal of insight into any cognitive decline that could become a real threat to your loved one’s future well-being.
5) Driving Issues. Take a close look at their vehicle. Are there any dents or gashes you hadn’t noticed before? Are the tags current? Do the brake lights and turn signals operate correctly? Is the insurance card current? Are there any traffic tickets in the glove compartment? Ask your loved one when the last time they drove somewhere. They may be avoiding it because they no longer feel comfortable behind the wheel but don’t want to admit it openly. Is the mileage the same as last time you visited? Does the oil change sticker show the vehicle is current? If everything looks ok, find an excuse for them to drive you somewhere close. Do they need the radio off to concentrate? Are they verbally combative while driving? Driving well under the speed limit also is a common early sign that they are losing confidence in their physical abilities as a whole.
6) Deteriorating Personality. Take stock of your loved one’s activities and friendships. You can do this by taking a look at their calendar. Are they still involved in social activities? If you notice they are socializing less frequently, that may only be evidence of slowing down which is not uncommon. On the other hand, if your loved one is withdrawing from social activities, friends, or giving up hobbies, it could be a sign that their confidence is eroding. Try to get an idea of how often they leave the house. Flip the calendar back a few months to see if any hobbies have been dropped. A lack of companionship is closely linked to depression, so if you sense your loved one is feeling alone or isolated, it may be time to begin looking into assisted living.
7) Mental Irregularities. Since you know your loved one well, make an effort to take stock of their mental health. Do you notice that they have an increased amount of anxiety about events that are routine? Do they seem easily agitated about recent events on the news or typical events in their lives? If they are increasingly irritable or temperamental, it may point to deeper problem. All of these are early signs of dementia.
These are the 7 most common indications that the time for assisted living is drawing near. Early detection of these can not only avoid stressful situations but also help adult children ease their loved one into the idea of assisted living. Whether you are fortunate enough to have detected the signs early or if you find yourself in the emergency room with your loved one, Transitions Assisted Living is your advocate throughout your search for assisted living Phoenix AZ and assisted living Phoenix area.