Resources for Caretakers

Is it time to consider assisted living for a friend or family member?

Life decisions can be hard, especially when you’re considering whether to move a loved one into assisted living. Here are some signs that it might be time.

Safety concerns. Are you worried about your loved one getting in and out of the shower or tub? Have they recently had a fall or accident? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults over 65 years. It’s important for your loved one to be in a safe environment where risks of falls and injuries are minimized. The CDC has information to help you assess their risk of falls and injuries.

Signs of depression or anxiety. If your loved one seems anxious, sad or even irritable, it could be a sign that they are struggling on their own. To detect if it’s serious, pay attention to hygiene, eating habits and sleeping habits. If hygiene is suffering, it could be a sign of depression or mobility issues. If they are not eating, it could be lack of appetite or an underlying health concern. If they are sleeping all day or not sleeping well at night, this is also cause for concern. Always report these concerns to your loved one’s physician or a trusted medical professional to see if there is a larger issue.

Withdrawal from physical and social activity. If your loved one has abruptly stopped going to book club or church, or avoids leaving the house except when absolutely necessary, this could be cause for concern. Physical activity and social interaction are important contributors to quality of life. Ask questions to find out why they might be avoiding these activities.

Clutter and mess in the home. Is mail piling up on the kitchen table? Are old newspapers stacked in the corner? Trash not being taken out? Clutter and mess can be signs of underlying physical or emotional issues. If your offer to help clear up the clutter causes agitation, there could be underlying issues such as financial troubles or fear of letting go of things. Sit down and ask open-ended questions so you can determine the root cause.

Caregiver concerns. When thinking about the needs of a loved one, we often forget about the needs of the caregiver. Whether you are the primary caregiver, or another person, it’s important to determine whether the caregiver can continue to meet the needs of your loved one. Caring for an aging loved one can cause financial, mental and emotional strain. It is important to periodically review the demands of caregiving and determine when additional help is needed.

If you or your loved one is ready to begin considering assisted living, the best way to alleviate anxiety is to do your research. Look for reviews of assisted living communities in your area, and take a few tours – by yourself at first, then with your loved one. Seeing them firsthand can be very reassuring and help you both visualize their happier, healthier future. You also can talk to an Elder Care Alliance associate to hear more about our communities and all that we offer.

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