it is often difficult to know when it is the right time to move an elderly loved one into an assisted-living environment. Many people struggle with this decision. Sometimes, it is obvious that a person needs assistance. Other times, however, it is unclear whether an individual really needs consistent help. There are a some clear signs you can look for to determine if your loved one needs to be in assisted living. Here are three of the primary indications that a person is ready for assisted living.
Mismanagement of Medications
One of the first things you may notice is that the individual is skipping doses of their medication. They may also misplace bottles or forget that they have already taken a dose. This can become a dangerous situation as mismanaging medications is a serious health hazard. The best way to check that someone is taking their medication properly is to count the pills. Based on the date the prescription was filled and the number of pills that should be missing, you can easily determine if the correct number of pills have been taken.
The main thing you are looking for here is a change in hygiene habits. For example, if your mother typically styles her hair every day, but she has not done so in the past few weeks, this is a red flag. You may notice your loved one has stopped brushing their teeth or washing their hair. Are they wearing clean clothes? Understand that it is likely not a lack of desire to perform personal hygiene activities, but rather a lack of ability to accomplish these tasks.
This may be more difficult to observe in some people. If your dad has never been a great housekeeper, you may not notice that he has deteriorated in this area. Again, it is important to look for behavioral changes rather than specific tasks not being completed. Check for things that could be a serious health hazard like unwashed dishes that attract bugs. Cluttered spaces that are difficult to navigate create a safety hazard. A person may become unable to remove trash from the home which attracts all sorts of rodents. When you notice your loved one’s living conditions begin to deteriorate, it is likely time to consider assisted living.
There are many clues that a person needs assistance. These are just a few of the early indicators. The key is to observe your elderly loved one and take note of any changes. Look at the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of their lives. Unfortunately, there is not a line drawn in the sand that must be crossed before you know it is time to move a person to assisted living. More often, it is a series of factors that make this the right choice for your loved one.
On your journey to find the right senior living community, it is useful to understand the different types of housing available to aging adults. Every community is unique and has its own characteristics, but there are some general guidelines that define the various types of housing. Here, we will specifically look at the differences between independent living and assisted living communities.
As the name implies; this type of housing is intended for seniors who are very independent and active. Residents have few medical issues and therefore, do not require much assistance in their daily living activities. These communities are also known as senior apartments or retirement communities. The housing units are equipped with a full kitchen, but meal plans are available for those who wish to purchase meal preparation services.
This type of housing is best suited for those who are no longer able to safely live on their own, but do not require the extensive care furnished in a nursing home. These communities provide help with daily routines like medications, housekeeping, and meal preparation. They typically supply three meals per day in a central dining area. The housing units often have limited kitchens. Nursing staff is usually on-site at all times and available upon request.
- Scheduled activities
- Private apartments with community dining//recreation areas
- Landscaping, housekeeping, and meal preparation provided
- Encourage socializing
- Level of care – Assisted living offers more hands-on care and support with things like bathing, medications, and daily activities. They also provide nurses on call 24/7 while independent living communities typically do not have medical staff available at all times.
- Housing units – The significant differences in housing are in the kitchen and level of security. Independent living quarters often have a full kitchen while assisted-living units typically have a small kitchen or none at all. Assisted-living may also have more safety measures in place like security cameras, emergency call systems, and RTLS (real-time tracking location systems.)
- Financial assistance – Because independent living communities do not provide medical services, there is no financial aid available. Assisted living communities do qualify for some financial assistance. However, it is limited.
Once you determine which type of housing is appropriate for your circumstance, it is important to thoroughly research each community that interests you. Not all senior living communities are created equal. A wide range of services and amenities exist. Cost also varies greatly from the high-end luxury communities to the more affordable standard communities. Take your time to research and select the perfect community for your needs.
Elder care is a complex issue. It is often overwhelming for families to determine the best course of action for their elderly loved ones. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help.
What Is a Senior Care Consultant?
Senior care consultants are health service professionals with an express focus on aging and elderly care. They are also called geriatric care managers. Many of them have worked as social workers, psychologists, gerontologists or nurses.
Services Provided by a Consultant
- Planning – The consultant will work with you to create the best plan of care.
- Finding Resources – Services related to nursing, and elderly care are countless. The consultant will pinpoint the best options for your particular situation.
- Senior benefits – A consultant will discuss with you things like Medicaid, Medicare, and other state and federal programs precisely designed to benefit the elderly·
- Family Consultations – The consultant will assess your family circumstances. With this, she will be able to determine the level of care needed. She will also ensure that family members are in constant communication with her and with one another. Getting a consensus among members in making care decisions is one important task of senior care consultants.
- Legal Matters – Consider hiring a consultant who works in partnership with an elder lawyer. Do you need assistance in legal matters involving your elderly loved one, such as advance directives, living wills, or estate planning? Guardianship and revocable living trusts are additional legal matters you may need to address.
Do I need a senior care consultant?
This really depends on your specific situation. Finding the best care is a time-consuming endeavor. If you have the resources and time available to navigate these waters alone, then you likely will not need a consultant. However, if you are a busy person or simply feel overwhelmed by all the information, a senior care consultant is a wonderful solution. Having a professional to help with these huge decisions relieves an enormous amount of stress from family members. We all want what is best for our loved ones. Evaluate your needs and decide if a consultant is right for you.