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Most states have assessments to determine what level of care a senior or disabled person might need. There are often an official state form to be completed and signed by a doctor or health care professional. They often need the assistance of a family member to accurately reflect what the senior really can't do. My LO thought she could get along just fine, but, her dementia prevented her from being able to prepare food, cook, take medication, use the phone, operate heat/air, shower, etc. So, she really needed assistance. Some people only need help with a few things. Plus, with dementia, they often forget to eat, get scared, confused, etc. So, sometimes the senior is unable to live alone. In a regular AL, I saw many levels of need. 

If dementia is involved, I'd also explore Memory Care facilities, as the dementia will progress. 
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JoAllen, your profile does mention Alzheimer's/Dementia. Is this for your mother?

Usually the time to place a love one into a higher level of care is when you are asking when to place a love one. That tells us you are feeling burnt out and need much more help as everything is becoming exhausting and too complicated.

The Assisted Living facility, and also a nursing home, would meet with you and your Mom and they would determine if Mom is ready for a higher level of care.

Usually the best time to place a person into senior care is when the love one still is able to find their way around the facility, learn the faces/names of the Staff, know where the dining room is located, and still be able to make new friends among the residents.

My Dad, who was 94, loved his new home in senior care, he liked being around people from his own generation :)
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I think we need more information to answer that. I guess whenever the person is not safe alone.
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