The warning signs aren’t always obvious: an empty fridge, unopened mail, an overgrown lawn…they may just stem from the forgetfulness that’s a normal part of aging. Others, though, are more concerning. If you notice your loved one becoming more isolated and struggling with hygiene, basic home care and other daily tasks, it may be time to consider talking with them about moving to assisted living.
It takes courage to start the assisted living conversation. Moving to assisted living can feel like the end of a road; a cold place where seniors are meant to live out the final years of their life. The truth is, assisted living can be the start of a wonderful new chapter of your loved one’s life where they can toss out their to-do list and focus on the things that bring them joy.
What is it Like Moving to Assisted Living?
Falling between independent living and full-time nursing care, assisted living offers a stress-free lifestyle where extra help with activities of daily living (ADLs) is always near so residents can maintain much of their independence.
Still not sure if it’s time to start the conversation? It’s not one to rush into or have lightly. Here are five signs to look out for when spending time with your loved one that it might be time to sit down and talk about when to move to assisted living.
1) Isolation and loneliness
Socialization is important to aging well. Unfortunately, older adults often find their social circles shrink with age. Friends move away to be closer to their children, and relationships you develop during your working life drift apart. Some seniors experience health issues that make them reluctant to drive.
Moving to an assisted living community can improve a senior’s quality of life. Life enrichment and wellness activities abound, as well as opportunities to meet people with similar interests and experiences.
2) Accidents and falls
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. They are often caused by an older home that isn’t designed with senior safety in mind.
Car accidents can also put a senior at increased risk for serious injury. For seniors who live alone, however, driving is often a necessity.
One suggestion is to reflect back on the last year. Did your senior loved one make more than one or two trips to a hospital emergency room because of a fall or some other type of accident? A pattern of falls and accidents may indicate that a senior may benefit from a move to an assisted living community.
3) Home maintenance struggles
Aging often causes physical strength to decline. This can make it more difficult to keep up with housework and yard maintenance. Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow and cleaning out the refrigerator can be difficult and even unsafe.
If your senior loved one’s home is beginning to look a little tattered, it might be a sign they are struggling. Moving to assisted living eliminates these stressors, as assisted living communities provide services and staff to help with maintenance, housekeeping and laundry.
4) Difficulty leaving home
Studies show a positive correlation between leaving the house and longevity in older adults. Some seniors, however, face challenges that make that difficult to do. Mobility impairments and a lack of transportation are two reasons why seniors may struggle to get out of the house.
If your older family member has difficulty leaving their home on a regular basis, they may benefit from moving to assisted living. Most communities provide on-site life enrichment activities, as well as transportation services to make it easier to stay engaged with life.
5) Poor nutrition
Menu planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation can become more difficult to accomplish with age. This can lead a senior to skip meals or to rely on unhealthy convenience foods. Assisted living communities offer well-balanced meals and snacks each day, and residents typically have their choice of mealtimes and menus.
The Freedom of Stress-Free Assisted Living
Talking about moving to assisted living with your loved one can bring up a lot of difficult emotions. They may fear losing their independence and feel frustrated that they would need to rely on others for help. For our Five Star residents, though, the move to assisted living has done just the opposite. With no more chores or errands to worry about, they have the freedom to do what makes them happy and rest easy knowing their every need is met at a cost they can afford. Most importantly, though, they are welcomed into a new home sweet home where they’re treated like family from the moment they walk in. Find out if there’s a Five Star community near you to learn more.