At some point in our lives we all face the inevitable fact that our loved ones are getting older. Whether it is a parent or another close family member or friend, it can often be a source of great stress to know the right time for them to transition into other safer living arrangements. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Functional decline of the elderly is a natural progression of age. According to the National Survey of Geriatricians, it is often defined and measured “by a reduction in the ability to perform self-care of activities of daily living (ADL) due to a decrease of physical or cognitive functioning.”
It is never easy, but here are some things to look for to help determine when it’s time to make the change.
Their Needs are Escalating
A good question to ask yourself is, “Are their needs beyond my ability to meet them?” If you answered yes, it may be time to transition them into assisted living.
If there is any question about their safety in your care, such as slipping and falling, losing balance, or something as simple as leaving the stove top on, this is another signal. While you want them to remain as independent as possible, accidents can still happen.
Often times, it is critical for your loved one to take their prescribed medication, each and every day. When the danger of missing a day, and then two, begins to be too great of a risk, and you are not sure you can stay vigilant for them, it is time to seek help.
If your loved one is currently living alone, the day-to-day management of even a small home, let alone a larger one, can be overwhelming and become a great burden to them.
Stress on the Caregiver
You may find yourself a caregiver for them, only to realize that it is putting undue stress on your own life. This is when the cost of caregiving becomes too high – emotionally and financially – and it is time to move a loved one into assisted living.
If you are feeling isolated or alone, unable to make time for social events, and begin to feel resentful towards your loved one, this isa clear sign for a need for change. These feelings can be exacerbated by lack of sleep, or guilt that you are “not doing enough.” Even temporary help can alleviate your stress until you regroup and figure out what is best for the road ahead.
One of the best things you can do is to be proactive and have an honest discussion with your loved one far in advance of the warning signs. Talk to them about the desires and wishes they have for later in life. Try to come to some sort of understanding on what they would want. Research the best assisted living homes in your area, based on your situation. That way, when the time does come, they will not be blindsided when they are suddenly taken from their homes into an unfamiliar environment.