No one really wants to see their loved ones enter assisted living. And it’s not exactly a fate we look forward to ourselves. Especially amid stories of nursing home abuse and theft, the idea of assisted living could be a scary one.
But nonetheless, there are times when it’s necessary.
Here are five signs that it’s time for assisted living.
Slips and falls
If an elderly person is living alone, or even with others, and is experiencing an uptick in slip-and-fall accidents at home, it may be time for assisted living.
There are a few things you can do first, like getting bedrails and shower stools, but there may come a time when living alone becomes a threat to this person’s safety.
There’s definitely a tradeoff where this person will lose the freedom of living unassisted, but when safety is a concern, assisted living is often the best choice.
Oftentimes, the caregiver for an elderly adult is a family member who may also have a full-time job. So the care is either split among a few people, or the burden falls solely on one person who struggles to keep up. Either way, as the patient’s needs grow, so does the stress on any caregivers.
When a caregiver comes to the realization that the stress is impacting his or her own health, it may be time to consider assisted living options.
With certain conditions and medications, a patient may become aggressive towards their caregiver. This is a common phenomenon in patients with dementia. Those with dementia will often become very agitated and sometimes aggressive in the evening hours. This is called sundowning.
In cases like these, it’s dangerous for both the patient and the caregiver unless that caregiver can quickly and safely restrain the patient.
When patients become consistently aggressive and pose a danger to themselves and their caregivers, assisted living may be the best option. At an assisted living facility, there will be a team of professionals to help restrain the patient before they can do any damage.
Every once in awhile, you might hear a story on the news of an elderly adult who goes missing. This is a relatively common occurrence for seniors who live unassisted, especially when they’re suffering from dementia.
An elderly adult may wander away from home and forget where they’re going or how to get back. It’s easy for them to become disoriented, especially if they are wandering in the late afternoon or evening hours.
Wandering is dangerous because anything could happen. Not only could they get hurt, but they could also become aggressive with strangers or become victims of crime. When someone is clearly disoriented, they become an easier target for crime.
In an assisted living facility, the elderly patient would not have the freedom to wander, so they would remain safe.
As someone gets older, their likelihood of needing care increases. A patient who has managed a chronic disease for years may find that it’s more challenging as they get older or their symptoms may increase. And if a person does have any sort of chronic health condition and develops dementia, care becomes exponentially more difficult.
Add the risk for slips and falls onto that, and any caregiver may find it difficult to manage this person’s needs alone.
At this point, it’s safer for the patient to enter an assisted living facility. If the patient and/or caregiver begins having trouble managing his or her needs, the results could be disastrous. So rather than wait for the worst to happen, it’s best to make the assisted living call.
Many loved ones of elderly adults attempt to put off the assisted living decision for a few reasons. One, they may have heard about bad experiences. Or they may worry about what losing independence will do to their loved one’s morale.
But you can easily address both of these concerns by researching the reputation of each assisted living facility. Look for a facility that has a great reputation for stellar care without any complaints of abuse or neglect. And if you’re worried about independence, you should know that the organized activities in these facilities often provide more entertainment than the patient was getting at home.
When you research your options, you may find that assisted living is your best bet.
Updated: September 15, 2019