Aging isn’t easy for anyone. It’s extremely difficult for the person going through it to cope with the changes in their body and lifestyle, but it’s also hard for their loved ones to watch these changes occur. As the individual becomes older and older, they need more help with everything from getting to and from the doctor’s to getting out of bed.
This is where their spouse, siblings, children, or close friends may jump in. But, the level of care that’s required puts stress on all the well-meaning loved ones acting as caregivers. Over time, these caregivers may find themselves wondering if it’s time to consider assisted living.
Sound familiar? If you’ve been starting to ask yourself, “when is it time for a nursing home”, it’s time to consider the signs that point to assisted living.
Here are 7 ways to tell if your elderly loved one could benefit from such care.
1. Difficulty Eating, Sleeping, or Performing Basic Functions
The next time you see the elderly person in your life, take a moment to really consider how they’re doing. Observe how they’re walking and if they’re having trouble eating or if they’re still eating like usual instead of significantly less amount.
Ask them about the things you can’t see, too. Talk about how well they’re sleeping, if they find themselves getting up a lot in the middle of the night and if they’re still comfortable with tasks like driving and cooking.
Offer to run errands with them as well. You may be surprised to see how difficult simple things like grocery shopping or going to the doctor may have become for them since the last time you visited.
2. It’s Not Safe for Them to Be Alone for Extended Time
Was the last time you saw your loved one just a few hours ago? Are you now going to visit them every day and calling them regularly outside of your visiting time?
If you’re constantly having to think about the well-being of your loved one to this extent and checking in on them, it’s probably time to come to terms that it’s not safe for them to be alone anymore. It’s better to know that they’re in the proper care of an assisted living facility such as Arthurs Senior Care than to worry about what’s going on in their home when they’re alone.
3. Care Needs Are Becoming More Complex
The tricky thing about transitioning to senior living is that this need doesn’t make itself apparent overnight; it becomes more pressing as care needs become more complex.
It’s one thing to take care of an elderly family member who is fairly active and healthy or even with one chronic illness or just a couple of medical conditions. But, if they’re undergoing multiple treatments, it may be time to look into more care.
Consider how many of these things your loved one is experiencing:
- taking many medications throughout different times of the day
- having trouble bathing
- serious loss of mobility
- memory loss or confusion
- more than a few chronic conditions
- one serious chronic condition
Once you’ve added everything up, take a moment to weigh the options of assisted care.
4. A Recent Injury Has Occurred
Sometimes, it only takes one serious injury to turn an active, healthy elderly person into someone who could benefit from assisted care. The injury may have happened from a sudden fall, a car accident, or maybe something minor like a pulled muscle or fracture.
But, if it’s taking a serious toll on your loved one’s quality of life, the best way to help them may be to start the search for an assisted living facility.
5. Signs of Aggression
This is arguably the hardest sign to come to terms with. It’s hard to watch someone you love deeply and know well turn into a person who isn’t like them.
Aggressive behavior may start out as just a bit of bitterness or a few hard-hitting remarks here and there. When it becomes a trend or gets physical, though, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest to invest in assisted care.
The longer you go trying to cope with their aggression or outright ignoring it, the more of a strain will be put on your relationship with this person and the good memories you have together. Not to mention, you may be putting other loved ones at serious risk if things get too out of hand.
Maybe instead of an anger issue, the elderly person in your life has a bit of a wandering issue. They may have started a pattern of getting up in the middle of the night to walk around or be known for breaking their daily routine with a random diversion of plans – like walking around the neighborhood or going to the grocery store even though they don’t need anything.
That’s right, wandering isn’t limited to randomly walking around the house. It can take an elderly person across town if it’s really serious.
7. When You Have to Ask “When Is It Time for a Nursing Home?”
It’s one thing to know the signs that start to point toward assisted living, and another to make the call. If you’re constantly going back and forth with this thought, or you’ve noticed some of the signs above start to accumulate, the best time to start seriously considering this option is now.
Does this subject somehow come up at every family gathering? Is it an option that many people have brought up in private but no one has taken a firm stance on?
This dance around the subject can only go on for so long. Instead of trying to avoid it, it could be good for the whole family to face this change together.
Making the Change to Assisted Living
When is it time for a nursing home? It’s a challenging call.
The hardest thing about assisted living for most elderly people is that it can feel like they are giving up some of their independence. They may be afraid of what the home will be like or how they’ll be treated, or of not spending as much time with their family.
Similarly, you may be afraid of how they will react to you suggesting this idea, how it may affect your relationship long-term, or their health down the line.
The best thing to do is to go through all the steps of this transition together. Make it a point to research different facilities and to focus on the benefits of this change. Discuss your feelings about it all and be there for your loved one. They will appreciate it more than you know, and it could make the whole process a surprisingly healing experience.