There’s a time and a season for the various stair steps of senior care, which range from private residences to independent living communities to assisted living facilities to nursing homes to Alzheimer’s care units.
How do you know when a parent needs to transition from independent to assisted living?
The decision is highly personal, of course, but here are a few guidelines:
- Look for physical red flags. These are the easy-to-see signs that someone requires extra care and attention. Maybe they’ve suffered a fall or had a fender-bender, or they’re recovering too slowly from a minor illness or a chronic condition is worsening. Not all physical red flags involve illnesses or accidents, however. Something as simple as difficulty getting up from a chair or climbing stairs could signal a need for a change of address.
- Determine the health of their home. How well are they keeping up with their housekeeping and yard work? Are they able to shop for groceries and keep their fridge stocked? Seniors needn’t worry about these vital chores at an assisted living facility.
- See how they’re doing socially. When a senior pulls away from loved ones, and spends more and more time alone, that may be a symptom of depression. Whatever the cause, isolation and loneliness are never good for someone’s health. Increasing a senior’s social network is a major advantage of moving to an assisted living facility like Lourdes Noreen McKeen, which, among other activities, throws a birthday party for every resident in a common area of the facility.
- Figure out their financial footing. Even in this age of automatic payments, many people prefer to receive statements in the mail and pay their bills with a personal check. But when those little financial tasks begin to slip through the cracks, a homeowner can find himself sitting in the dark or unable to watch her favorite cable TV show. Assisted-living residents never have to worry about losing their power because of a missed payment.
- Consider a professional geriatric assessment. If your parents question your judgment, contact their doctor about arranging for a geriatric assessment. These multidimensional evaluations measure a senior’s physical and mental health, cognition and functional ability, and socioenvironmental circumstances. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, these appraisals often involve a team of medical professionals, including a physician, social worker, nutritionist, and physical and occupational therapists, and they provide a clearer picture of where your senior stands on the care spectrum.