The U.S. Census Bureau notes that the number of people over the age of 65 in the U.S. has grown by 1/3 since 2010, driven by the aging of the Baby Boomer demographic. Although these elders tend to be healthier and more active than previous generations, they eventually reach an age where they need more care. If you are becoming concerned about your aging parents, it might be time to take a close look at how well they are managing their own self-care, and whether it is time to consider an assisted living facility for their increasing needs. Here are a few signs that could indicate your parents need the more sustained care of an assisted living center.
Increasing Health Problems
Elders may have experienced a recent setback such as problems with mobility, an ongoing medical condition, or difficulty managing medications or other health maintenance. In these cases, assisted living can offer more intensive monitoring and help with daily living.
Loss of Weight or Difficulties with Cooking
The tasks of shopping and fixing meals can sometimes become too much for elders. They may begin to forget meals or experience kitchen fires from burners left on or from pots left on too long. They may show noticeable weight loss or nutritional problems.
If your aging parent is having more car accidents or you notice nicks and dents in their car, it may signal that it’s time to give up driving and rely on public transportation or family members to get around to shopping, doctor appointments, and other errands.
Problems With Memory
Another signal that an elder may need additional help is increasing memory problems. The senior may become lost when driving or may become disoriented when walking in their neighborhood or at the mall. The elder may constantly lose their purse, keys, or other important items. Bills may be left unpaid or money misplaced. They may forget to bathe or become negligent about personal grooming. Memory problems can sometimes be accompanied by mood changes, irritability or aggressiveness. Some elders become depressed and cry frequently. These are signs that the individual may not be able to live on their own anymore and could benefit from the higher level of supervision and care that an assisted living facility can offer.
The decision to move parents into an eldercare facility is an important one. You should start the conversation early and involve the elder in the discussion as much as possible. The move to assisted living can be a time of greater social connection, and improved healthcare and can offer many new experiences for the elder to enjoy.