It is estimated that by 2050, more than one-fifth of the US population will be over 65.
Currently, nearly 7% of older people require help with personal care. As the proportion of older people rises, the burden of care will only increase.
For many of us, there will come a point when that burden is too great to carry alone. When a loved one requires more care than we are reasonably able to give, it may be time to consider assisted living.
But at what point do you make that decision? When is it time for assisted living? We take a look at some tell-tale signs that your parents might need additional help.
Poor Personal Hygiene
One of the most obvious signs that things are changing is poor personal hygiene.
If your parent is no longer taking care of themselves, this could be for a number of reasons. It may be that they are physically no longer able to do so. They may find showering or bathing too difficult.
It may also be because they no longer have a sense of pride in their appearance. This could be a sign of a deteriorating mental condition. Realistically it is a large undertaking to try to take care of your parent’s personal hygiene by yourself, so this is a sign that it’s time to consider other options.
Falls or Close Calls
Has your parent has had a recent fall or has come close to having one? This is a sign that they probably need a higher level of supervision.
Obviously, accidents do happen, and any of us could have a fall no matter our age. But as we get older, the risk of falls increases along with the potential damage that can be caused.
If you are concerned about your parent’s safety, then assisted living could help.
Stale or Rotten Food
If you take a look in your parent’s fridge, this can often be a useful litmus test.
If everything in the fridge is in order and within date, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if there is stale or moldy food then there may be cause for concern. If the food is out of date then your parent may not be eating properly, or even possibly eating food that has gone off.
Unless you want to take over responsibility for meals, you will need to find an alternative solution.
Change in Body Weight
If you notice a clear change in your parent’s body weight, this can be a sign that all is not well.
A loss of weight is a symptom of a large number of conditions. It could be a sign of anything from depression to a serious disease. It may also simply be down to your parent no longer being able to feed themselves properly. Either way, it is a cause for concern.
If you notice a sudden increase in weight, this may also have a number of causes. It might be due to a reduction in their mobility, or a sign of an underlying problem such as diabetes. It could even have been caused by your parent forgetting that they have already eaten.
Forgetting to Take Medication
The older we get, the more medication we tend to need.
If your parent is no longer remembering to take their medication, this could have serious implications. Their doctor will have prescribed medication for a reason such as reducing the risk of stroke, and forgetting to take it will put them at risk.
If your parent is having medical issues that you are both struggling to cope with, then it may be time to learn more about in-home medical care.
Bills Not Being Dealt With
Even as we get older, we still have many financial responsibilities.
If your parent is beginning to neglect these responsibilities, then this is definitely a cause for concern. Failing to pay bills could leave them with no heating, electricity or water as well as putting their home at risk.
And failing to take care of such important bills is also likely to be a sign of a more serious issue.
Housekeeping Is Being Neglected
You will know from your upbringing how tidy your parents liked to keep their home.
If you notice significant changes in the state of the house, then it could be a signal that they require more attention. It might be that they are not physically up to the task anymore. Or it may be a sign that their mental faculties are beginning to deteriorate.
Confusion about Common Tasks
A telling sign that a parent needs more assistance if they are becoming confused.
This doesn’t mean not understanding how to use their computer or work a smartphone. It is when they become confused about tasks that they will have done on a regular basis that you should be concerned.
If confusion is arising over day-to-day tasks such as washing the dishes or cooking a meal then it could be a sign of underlying problems.
Aggressive behavior can be a sign of dementia.
Your parent may become frustrated as they lose the ability to do common tasks, but this should not result in aggression. If they are acting aggressively this is more likely to be a sign of the beginnings of dementia.
When your parent becomes aggressive, it is a clear sign that they will need more assistance in the long term.
When is it time for assisted living? It’s really down to you
When is it time for assisted living? Ultimately it’s when you feel the time is right.
But hopefully, this article will have helped you work out what you need to look for. If you have you found it useful, then we have plenty more articles that might also be of use. As well as more posts on family issues, we also cover topics such as business, technology, and education.
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