Susan Ruff is a highly-valued member of the A Place for Mom family. She began as an Eldercare Advisor over 7 years ago and has helped hundreds of advisors improve their family advisement and partner management skills.
Sometimes you can see that parents are simply not doing well, but it is hard to put your finger on why. Often times, the holidays are a... Sometimes you can see that parents are simply not doing well, but it is hard to put your finger on why. Often times, the holidays are a common time families notice changes in elderly relatives as everyone is reunited after months, or sometimes longer. But whatever point you discover that your loved one needs more help than you knew—for example, your family begins to reevaluate the safety and care needs of your aging loved one as they seem depressed, malnourished or uncharacteristically aggressive or agitated—here are a few things you should look for to help you determine whether it may be time to move to a senior living community:
1. They seem depressed, lonely or isolated. If a senior can no longer drive, their world changes dramatically as they no longer have as much freedom. They can’t make a quick run to the store, drive to the barber or hairdresser on their own, or easily meet their friends for lunch. And, often, at a certain point of life, most of their friends—and spouse—have passed away, which can lead to depression and a lack of interest in normal, everyday activities. Socialization and stimulation are important and if life has changed and the senior is no longer getting these things, their health and personality can be negatively affected. If your loved one doesn’t seem to be acting like him/herself, go with your instinct that something is wrong.
2. They seem confused or forgetful. Health conditions, such as dementia, diabetes and others, can dramatically affect personality and can create confusion and problems with communication. If your loved one seems confused, you need to consult a qualified physician to see whether the change is health-related.
3. They are having problems taking medication. Medication problems are a big warning sign that something is wrong. Some medications are critical to get right, such as blood thinners.
4. They seem malnourished or their physical appearance looks different. Is your loved one eating old food in the refrigerator because they didn’t notice it is not fresh? Take a peek in there. Sometimes they forget to eat, so look for signs of weight loss. What’s in the cupboards and does it seem normal? Are wounds healing? Are they getting sick often? Does your loved one look like themselves? Have they showered and are their clothes clean? These are all important questions to ask.
5. They are not paying bills. Have the bills started to stack up in a big, disorganized mess? Is your loved one getting calls from collection agencies? This is a big sign your loved one may need your help and support and may need to relocate into a less independent environment.
6. Their pets are not cared for. This is pretty straightforward. If your loved ones’ pets seem underweight, sick or not like themselves, they may not be getting proper care because your loved one is no longer capable of caring for them.
Asking neighbors and friends and scheduling a routine doctor check-up is also a good idea to make sure nothing is out-of-the-norm. It is common for people to have a tendency to remember parents how they once were—not see the problems of today. Again, make sure to go with your instincts. see more
We often hear that it takes a while for seniors to become comfortable in their new assisted living community. It’s important to remember... We often hear that it takes a while for seniors to become comfortable in their new assisted living community. It’s important to remember that transitions can be difficult; especially when you’re older. Often, an elderly loved one is leaving their home of 40+ years, so many feel they are giving up their freedom. That being said, the transition is often necessary and ultimately a good one as senior living offers daily activities, socialization and care that is not available in the home environment.
If your loved one has any health conditions, such as dementia, this can also influence the transition. Dementia adds to confusion and behavior problems, which obviously can influence a smooth transition. I would talk to your mom’s doctor and care providers as they understand her health situation. Usually transitions to assisted living can take one to six months, so also keep that in mind. After this length of time, if your mom is still having a tough time, another move may be necessary. A health evaluation may help determine the level-of-care she needs. Memory care offers dementia services not available in assisted living, for example. If the difficult transition has nothing to do with your mom’s health, you may want to try to find an assisted living community that caters more to her specific interests or is a better fit.
Try to stay strong and patient. Your mom is lucky to have you as her support system to help her through this difficult transition! see more