Jun 12, 2019 by Maria Thompson
It’s a fact. The people we love age. They may need more help and it can be confusing and difficult. How do you know what’s “normal” aging and when your mom or dad needs more help than they can get at home?
Here are four signs that it’s time to talk about assisted living.
1. What’s “normal” isn’t anymore
Is your mom a neatnik? Never always dressed to the nines? Does your dad know where everything is – from your high school diploma to the remote control? You know what their “normal” is. If they start to deviate, is the change temporary or ongoing?
Their grooming may also give you clues. Are they wearing dirty clothes? Not bathing? Is it because they’re having trouble with the laundry? Are they depressed and neglecting personal care? Or are they having trouble getting in and out of the shower or tub?
2. Weight loss
Eating is another telltale sign. Is mom losing weight? Is there expired food in the fridge? Does it look like dad hasn't eaten anything you brought from your last grocery store run?
As we age our appetites decrease. Whether dad forgets to eat lunch or just isn’t hungry, he still needs the nutrition. Not eating leads to weaknesses which can lead to falls. It can also alter the effectiveness of the medications he takes and take a toll on his stomach and other internal organs.
3. When did mom or dad last leave the house?
Many seniors are isolated – unintentionally so. Whether they’re no longer able to drive or just not comfortable behind the wheel, that can keep them housebound. If they live alone, they can go for days without seeing anyone. Even if dad or mom are introverts, that much alone time isn’t healthy for them emotionally.
4. Are you running on empty?
It can be rewarding to care for a loved one as they age. But it isn’t easy. And it can be nerve-wracking. Are they eating? Taking their medications? Have they fallen?
You might be doing anything from grocery shopping and driving mom to appointments to yard work and housecleaning. That’s in addition to your family and professional responsibilities. It’s a lot of work. Even though you gladly do it, it takes its toll. No one can do it all. The rate of caregiver burnout and illness is high. If you get sick, who will step in?
How assisted living can help
Assisted living communities like those at Knute Nelson provide extra help so mom or dad can live independently. They receive help with things like medications, bathing and dressing. They also have social activities, three delicious, nutritious meals each day, staff on site 24/7 and more.
Your loved one will be well cared for and engaged with life. You can move from your caregiver role back to focusing on your relationship and time together.