Is it the right time for Assisted Living?
Making A Common Sense Decision
The decision to move into an assisted living facility, nursing home or group home could be one of the most difficult decisions you and your family will make when it comes to making major decisions relating to the health and stability of someone you and your family care about. With open communications with family members and the primary individual being consulted, you can be sure the decisions made are best for everyone involved in the process.
Step One is the most important and is a decision that needs to be clearly answered and once a decision is made. The family needs to make a plan and stick with the decision. Second guessing can be harmful to the individual needing care, and can cause disruption within the family if you are continually changing your mind. When discussing this with the individual, much care needs to be taken when presenting them with an alternative living arrangement than they have been accustomed. The questions are pretty simple, “is my loved one safe and secure in their current living arrangement? Is he or she taking full care of themselves?" If these questions have arisen, then the time for transitioning into assisted living is closer than you may have previously thought.
There are many warning signs to consider that will let you know if you need to consider a health care facility or home care or other personal services such as companion care or reminder services. Some warning signs may be subtle and seemingly meaningless. Be honest with yourself and your loved one about the potential for harm if he or she does not seek professional help. It is important to differentiate between real warning signs and simple problems that come with aging.
Common Signs To Look For
There are several signs that are helpful to determine whether an assisted living facility like the Carriage House is the best decision for the family to make.
A common sign that it may be time to consider assisted living is if your loved one has an increasing lapse in memory, confusion or associated indecision when it comes to feeding oneself and taking medications. The elderly usually rely on several medications to maintain quality of life. Driving to the store and forgetting what they went for in the first place. Making irrational decisions that would normally be common place.
Forgetfulness when it comes to medications can be a major warning sign. Forgetting to take a pill or taking two that should have been one. Safety is a concern for all involved. Check with a doctor to learn of harmful affects that may be caused by not taking or abusing medications.
Another serious consideration for assisted living is usually after a precipitous decline in the physical or mental health or an individual. Many times a fall or medical procedure or other medical crisis can weaken a older person, which could put them in such as condition that they cannot take daily responsibility for themselves. Sometimes the medical condition may not be frequently monitored, and with a decline in health, any near term improvement may be impossible or even dangerous to the individual. Without effective monitoring a further deterioration or death could result.
A very common sign and the hardest to come to terms with is loneliness and depression. Though it may not seem to be life threatening depression can take a toll on an aging body and could quicken the pace of decline in the elderly. An assisted living facility can offer social activities and the chance to make new friends. If your loved one is needy, lonely and obviously depressed then please seek alternatives so they can have a chance to live out their last few years as happy as possible. Phones calls and request for help are not generally accompanied with this sign but is a true indication of need if the requests are being expressed. Take these request for help or attention seriously.
Many times your loved one may be mentally sound but a chronic physical condition may make care at home impossible. Around the clock home care is much more expensive than an assisted living facility. Just because a person is not suffering a mental decline they may be perfect candidates for assisted living. The assisted living option should be discussed openly and honestly with the person knowing that an informed decision is best for all involved.
In closing, what it boils down to, is another question: “Would my loved one be better off or lead a more meaningful life in an assisted living home compared to the current living arrangement?" Ask yourself if the person will be better off in a year from now than they are today. All these signs can have different meanings to different people, but the bottom line is whether the overall health and safety of the individual is best served with daily professional assistance and community social experiences available at the Carriage House or maintaining the status quo.