No one wants to move from their home into assisted living. However in some cases it is the best option to keep elderly or aging parents safe and healthy. To determine if it’s time for assisted living or if your elderly parent can safely remain at home take a good look at the present housing situation health status and medical needs. The following are signs to look for and how to know the time has come for a change.
Unexplained signs of injury. As people age they grow more fragile. Some elderly people may not tell their adult children about potentially serious falls they are taking-maybe because they don’t want to worry you or because they want to stay in their homes. However this can put them in an extremely dangerous situation as falls can cause serious injury to elderly people. If you are seeing mysterious bruises or other injuries you may need to have a conversation about your parent’s continued safety in living at home.
Decreased quality of life. Is your parent less well groomed than usual? Is your normally impeccably-dressed mother or father wearing rumpled clothes or forgetting to shave or shower? Is the house or yard messier than usual? Are you noticing strong odors in the house that weren’t there before? These might be signs that activities of daily living-such as dressing bathing laundry or housecleaning tasks-are becoming more difficult for your parent to cope with on their own.
Signs of memory loss. Is your parent forgetting things more frequently than usual? Are they missing appointments forgetting to take important medication or forgetting to pay bills? Are there stacks of unopened mail lying around the house? Are some of your parents’ medications expired? Does your parent sometimes forget to turn off the oven or stove? Some symptoms of memory loss are benign while others-such as forgetting to turn off the stove or take medication-can be life-threatening.
Physical fragility. Do you notice your parent has a hard time going from sitting to standing? Do they seem to have trouble navigating stairs? Do they move more slowly than usual? Do they have trouble bending or lifting even light burdens such as grocery bags? Is it easy for you to see your parent struggling with tasks that used to be easy?
Sudden weight loss or gain. Have you noticed a sudden change in your parent’s weight? Are they not eating as healthily as usual? Are you noticing food going bad in their fridge-even if they tell you they’ve been eating regularly? Your parent may be trying to conceal from you the fact that tasks such as cooking and shopping for groceries have become more difficult.
Their living situation. Some elderly people are more supported than others. Your parent may be able to stay in his or her home independently more easily if the home is outfitted with safety features such as grab bars in the bathrooms night lights in the hallways and all important rooms on a single floor. Also consider whether your parent has a solid response plan in place in case of a fall or a medical emergency and whether there are friends and family around and available most of the time to help out. The more isolated your parent is the sooner assisted living may be needed.
Calls from bill collectors. Are unpaid bills piling up in the house? Are bill collectors calling? Has your parent had a utility shut off in recent memory? Especially if paying bills has never been a problem before this is most likely a sign that your parent is forgetting to manage regular tasks such as bill payment.
Unexplained damage to the car. If your parent is driving take a look at the car. Are there mysterious dents or scratches on it? If your parent does not have access to a car but has a strong support system or access to easily navigable public transportation the period of independence may be able to be maintained longer.
Unexplained changes in mood. Are you noticing uncharacteristic mood changes? Does your normally cheerful mom or dad suddenly seem depressed angry or irrational? Sudden changes in personality and demeanor can be early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Once you know exactly what your parent is having trouble with you can begin to assess what type of care is needed. If help with light housekeeping is all that’s needed this is easier to deal with than issues of physical fragility and memory loss. But before you can decide what to do next you’ll need to find out what your parent’s challenges are-and be aware of signs that something may be wrong.
Visit www.elderoptionsoftexas.com today to find a Texas assisted living community for your elder loved one.