When Is It Time to Consider Assisted Living for Mom or Dad?
~ By Richard Sgaglio
If you have an aging parent, you probably have already thought, “Is my mom or dad safe living home alone?” This is a difficult issue for many families. As people live longer lives, many older Americans want to stay in their homes as long as possible and caregiver children must be the catalyst for considering assisted living options.
How do we know when the time is right? Unfortunately, there is often a precipitating event that makes us review our parents’ living situation. Perhaps mom has fallen recently, or you realize that she has not been eating properly or taking her medications. Those are some of the signals that it may be time to look for an assisted living community.
When asked, many seniors don’t want to move from their homes to senior living communities. However, for many people this move is the best option for staying safe and healthy.
In fact, the best time to consider moving to an assisted living community is before a serious medical issue arises, when a parent feels they are still in control of their lives and capable of making an informed decision. Waiting until an injury or serious medical condition occurs leaves them with fewer choices. Having to deal with a health problem as well as a change of environment can cause added stress and you may find your parent more resistant to change.
The following questions may help you determine if it may be time to consider assisted living for your parent.
- Have they fallen recently?
- Can they bathe themselves regularly?
- Are their clothes clean?
- Are they eating regular, balanced meals?
- Are they able to cook and keep their homes clean?
- Do they ever forget to turn off the oven or stove?
- Is their home safe based on their individual health and mobility?
- Do they have a plan in place to get help in case of an emergency?
- Are they still driving and if so, have they been evaluated to ensure they can continue to do so safely?
- Are they able to manage their finances?
- Do they have friends close by who will visit them to make sure they are not isolated or feeling depressed?
If the answer to some of these questions is “no,” or you are noticing changes in a parent’s abilities and quality of life, it may be time to consider assisted living options.
Making the decision to move a parent or other loved one into an assisted living community is not an easy one but the process can be less burdensome if it is done while they are in relatively good health. Such a move can help keep your loved one safe and hopefully happier. They will find new opportunities for socialization as they meet others in their age group to spend time with. As their children, you can experience more quality time with them when you can simply enjoy their company rather than serving as their caregiver.
Of course, change is never easy, especially as we age, but after allowing for some time to adjust to a new living situation, children often find that they are able to spend more quality time with their parent. There is less to worry about knowing they are being taken care of. Your visits with your mom or dad can be less stressful and more meaningful.
If you or some you know is interested in learning more about The Osborn’s assisted living options, please call 914-925-8243 or visit theosborn.org.