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Your parents have been there for you from the very start, and the last thing you want to do is let them down when they reach their golden years. How do you decide if that means they are ready for assisted living, and how do you approach that difficult subject if so? Read on as we explore some of the concerns that could indicate it’s time for a change.
What Is Assisted Living?
Many people are surprised at the level of independence assisted living provides. At the same time, it’s not a decision made lightly, not only because of the big change in a senior’s life but also the big bill that comes with it. Senior Housing News says that last year, assisted living came in at an average cost of $4,000 per month.
However, assisted living communities have a lot to offer. They provide a safe environment designed for those with health and mobility concerns. Meals are designed with senior nutritional needs in mind, and transportation is normally part of the package. Seniors can also receive help with basic daily tasks, such as bathing, using the bathroom, and feeding themselves, but at the same time, they are free to do as they please. There is a blend of support and independence for keeping seniors safe and allowing them to still enjoy a happy, full life.
Health and Hygiene
Sometimes, seniors become unable to tend their personal needs as well as they used to, in which case it might be time for assisted living. For instance, seniors might stop eating well for several reasons. Perhaps there is an oral health issue, medication is making food not taste the way they like, or waning senses mean food doesn’t look or smell as good as it used to. However, proper nutrition is key to staying strong and healthy, and seniors often need to adjust their diet choices in order to maintain their well-being.
Similarly, some seniors’ hygiene declines; reduced vision or sense of smell might mean reduced cleanliness, both personally and in terms of their home environment. Sometimes, seniors don’t keep up with bathing and housework because it becomes too challenging. Hygiene can be subjective to a point, but if your loved one is not able to tend to grooming, doing laundry, or keeping up with spills and such, then it might be time for assisted living.
One Is the Loneliest Number
Often, along with age comes loneliness. A senior might lose a spouse, become uncomfortable driving, or experience health issues that mean frequently staying home. Home Care Assistance explains that loneliness can have surprising consequences on senior health. When seniors have fewer connections with other people, the risk for Alzheimer’s disease rises, bone health can deteriorate, they are more apt to become depressed, and the risk for heart disease rises. Ultimately, it can reduce someone’s lifespan.
Assisted living provides a built-in social life. If you think your senior is lonesome, asking a few questions can help you determine if isolation is becoming an issue. Find out whether your loved one is content in her relationships, how satisfying she feels those relationships are, and whether she feels there is someone to turn to when she needs assistance. If the answers aren’t positive, it might be time to rethink her living situation.
Even when you’re being considerate and gentle, talking through issues like good eating habits, hygiene, and loneliness can become difficult. Things get more complex if not everyone in the family is on the same page. Ultimately, if you hit a wall, hiring an elder mediator can be a plus. You can expect to pay a professional elder mediator from $100 to $300 per hour. Keep in mind it’s best to enlist their assistance early, before anyone becomes too steadfast in their opinion.
If you’re on the fence about assisted living for your mom or dad, think about how well things are going and ask some questions. If it’s getting too hard to handle everyday life alone, it might be time for a change. Do some talking, and weigh your options carefully to find the right solution.