As adult children watch their parents get older, it can be tough to know when it’s the right time to make the move to assisted living. Some signs may be more obvious than others, but the key is to listen to your gut.
While it may be a son or daughter’s instinct to trust their parent when they say they’re eating and taking their medication, in this situation, simply asking questions isn’t always enough.
Open the refrigerator. Is it filled with food? Look at the food — is the milk expired, is the bread stale? Are their medications placed haphazardly? If they’re using a medication box, look at it. If it’s Tuesday and all the meds are still there, that’s a sign.
Another sign to look out for is memory problems, which could be an indication of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
You know your parents best, so you have to trust your gut, and that’s a hard thing.
Rather than waiting for something to happen that forces the move to assisted living, it is important to be proactive instead.
Take that first step and see, what is assisted living? What does it offer, what does it cost, how does this work? So at least in your mind, you have an idea.
Even if the move to assisted living isn’t necessary right now, assisted living communities often offer wait lists for potential future residents so that when the decision becomes imminent, it’s not a panicked last-minute effort.
Start exploring that option so that when something happens — because usually something’s going to happen — you’re prepared. Once that incident happens, where a fall happens and a hip is broken, they get pneumonia, they aren’t eating…you start to lose control. You start being forced to make decisions, emotion takes over, and you’re not thinking clear. So the more informed you can be prior, the better you’re going to be.
While some people may still picture an assisted living community as a “skilled nursing” home with seniors lining the halls in wheelchairs, this is not the case.
It’s a community, it’s a social model, it’s seniors that are choosing this alternative. Adult children need to go and look so that when they present the option to their parent, at least they have an understanding.
For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.