You may already have home care for your loved one, or you may not, but the question keeps arising – does Mom (or Dad, or Grandpa, etc.) need to move into assisted living? Now, if you already have a home care provider, especially if it is one from UHCS, talk to them first. They are professionals and will be able to give you an idea as to whether or not home care is enough for your loved one or if their needs have surpassed what a home care provider can really do for them.
We understand that this can be a very difficult time. The idea of moving for many seniors and elderly is a hard pill to swallow and you, their loved one, want them to be happy BUT you also want them to be well taken care of and safe. If you are unsure as to whether or not home care or assisted living is the best fit, call us today for a consultation and we can help you through this difficult time.
Signs that Your Loved One May Need Assisted Living
Moving a family member into residential care is never an easy decision. However, there are some telltale signs that caregivers can look for in order to recognize when it’s time for assisted living:
- Wandering: In later stages of dementia, the risk posed by wandering becomes much greater, and the probability of falls and injuries increases.
- Sundowning: “Sundowner syndrome” — very agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day — is a common characteristic of those with Alzheimer’s. This can take a heavy toll on caregivers, and when it begins to severely disrupt family routines, this may be a sign that the caregiving burden is too much to handle within the family.
- Aggression: Verbal, physical, and even sexual aggression frequently happen in those with dementia, and caregivers and other family members may suffer or begin to feel resentful.
- Home safety issues: Ask yourself honest questions about your senior family member’s health and your own abilities to care for them. Is the person with dementia becoming unsafe in their current home? Look for signs around their house of danger but also signs of neglect – lax housekeeping, clutter, bathroom or kitchen grime, are their plants dying?
- Caregiver stress: Stress and other caregiver symptoms can be just as telling a sign as the dementia behaviors described above.
- A slow recovery or a chronic health condition that is worsening. Did a cold develop into untreated bronchitis? Progressive problems such as COPD, dementia, and congestive heart failure can decline gradually or precipitously, but either way, their presence means your loved one will increasingly need help.
- Increasing difficulty managing the activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). ADLs and IADLs are the skills needed to live independently — dressing, shopping, cooking, doing laundry, managing medications, and so on. Doctors, social workers, and other geriatric experts evaluate them as part of a functional assessment, which is one way to get an expert’s view of the situation. Difficulties with ADLs and IADLs can sometimes be remedied by bringing in more in-home care.
- Driving signs: Is the idea of your loved one behind the wheel of a car scary for their sake and others on the road? It is one of the hardest things for an independent individual to do, give up their vehicle, but sometimes it is necessary and can be a sign that assisted living (or home care) is a in the near future.
- Your loved one has cut back on social activities. Does he or she go days without leaving their house or communicating with friends and family? Lack of companionship is associated with depression and heart problems in older adults. If friends have died or moved away, moving to a place where other people are around could be lifesaving. Many older adults fear being “locked away” in a retirement home, many such facilities offer regular outings that may keep them more mobile and active, not less.
These are just some basic signs that you can keep a look out for when it comes time to start thinking about the future for your loved one. If you have questions, please contact us.