Life is full of difficult transitions and many first days… the first day of school, learning to drive, leaving home, starting a family, beginning a career and retirement each present an emotional roller coaster.
Now you may be needing to decide for yourself or a loved one if it is time to transition into Assisted Living. This decision is both critical and important.
Assisted Living is often ignored by the person but recognized by family, friends and doctors. At times it is difficult for family members to find the right words, the right time and circumstances to discuss transitioning to Assisted Living. Knowing recognizable signs is half the battle.
What Is Assisted Living?
A healthy person functions automatically every day in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Bathing, getting dressed, toileting, taking medication and ambulating are examples of these activities. In the aging process or due to illness or injuries it becomes more difficult to perform ADLs. When regular self-care activities become compromised, it is time to consider Assisted Living. Living alone and independently is no longer an option.
An Assisted Living community provides housekeeping, medical care, personal care, and meal preparation and medication assistance. Residents each require a different level of care. Assisted Living provides residents the opportunity to live healthy active lives while receiving the care and assistance they need for each particular circumstance.
Signs Assisted Living May Be Needed
Falling – Tripping over furniture or rugs, vertigo, ear infection, blood pressure problems, and poor balance lead to falling. Too often falling turns into a serious life threatening situation. One fall may not indicate a problem but repetitive falls or accidents are cause for concern.
Memory Issues – Memory issues indicate time for change. Forgetting to turn off the stove, pay bills or not take medication properly indicates assistance is needed.
Withdrawing – When a loved one is no longer interested in social activities, becomes withdrawn or depressed over an extended period of time there is reason for alarm. Social opportunities lessen as age increases and a person’s “world” begins to shrink.
Housekeeping Concerns – When dirty dishes are heaped in the sink, laundry undone and a general decline in routine household tasks occurs a problem exists.
Food Issues – Significant weight loss is an indicator of poor nutrition. When snacking replaces meals or doggie bags become stale or spoiled, nutrition is not being addressed Food preparation and cleanup may be a challenge or your loved one could be forgetting to eat.
Personal Care Deteriorating – Everyone has bad hair days but when body odor and an unkempt look need to be addressed it is time to step in and ask questions. People needing Assisted Living may not be able to tend to their personal care and need to be receiving assistance.
Any issues impeding activities of daily living need to be assessed, especially if they affect safety and well-being. Normal aging causes people to slow down but should not prevent one from enjoying quality of life.
Denial is a common reaction when one is faced with a move due to physical needs. Other “firsts” have been a personal choice. Few people wake up declaring “Today I want to move to Assisted Living.” Being cognizant of a decline in mental and physical capacities is traumatic. Always begin with a discussion and encourage your loved one to accept assistance. Encourage a new way of living.
Consider all options when making an assessment of care needed. Home Health, while a possible first step, may be more costly than a Senior Living Option and not always available. Assisted Living provides 24/7 medical staff and each community is different in services and amenities.
Making the decision to move into Assisted Living is difficult. Consulting with a Transition Consultant lessens stress and decreases the worries of making the wrong decision. Transition Consultants bring expert insight and guidance to all aspects of making the move. The safety and well-being of your loved one is important. Do not wait until a crisis occurs to make a decision. Be proactive. A well thought out plan leads to good decisions, easy transition and a smooth first day. Engage a Transition Consultant. Contact Bridge to Better Living®.