When considering whether a senior can remain living at home, it is important to recognize the signs that may lead to unsafe conditions or poor quality of life. Depending on how much extra help they need, an independent living, assisted living, or memory care community may be the right choice. Below, we explain these levels of care and what questions you might ask yourself to determine what type of care suits you or your senior loved one best.
Independent living offers services-enriched apartments providing two meals/day, housekeeping, transportation, social, and recreational activities.
Here are a few signs that independent living might be right for you or your senior loved one:
You (or your senior loved one) feel like your home is too big and too much work.
You would enjoy the convenience of not having to cook for yourself.
Going to the grocery store feels stressful and burdensome.
You see yourself going on adventures, taking fitness classes, relaxing, dining out, having fun, and making new friends.
You’d appreciate having a chauffeur drive you to church, the doctor’s office, or grocery store.
You want to take advantage of all your city and community has to offer, but don’t want to do it alone.
You would feel safer and more confident with the presence of 24-hour staff.
You would appreciate a pet care or pet walking service to help care for your furriest family member.
It’s getting harder to keep up with mail and bills.
You worry about falling or injuring yourself in your home.
Activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing, are growing more difficult.
Managing your medications is becoming confusing, and even dangerous.
Cooking for yourself feels more stressful than fun, and you have expired food in the fridge.
Regularly planned social hours and fun outings with people your age sound appealing to you.
Friends and family members have encouraged you to check out senior living.
Assisted living is designed for the elderly who require supportive care from trained employees for Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs (bathing, dressing, grooming, medication administration).
Ask yourself the following questions when considering if it might be time for assisted living:
Is your senior loved one eating a healthy and nutritious balanced meal? Is their refrigerator well-stocked?
Are they able to get around the house safely? Do they have unexplained bruising from recent falls?
Are they displaying unhealthy hygiene practices, wearing dirty clothes or wearing the same clothes day after day?
Can they keep their home tidy like it used to be, or has it become dirty, unkempt and unsafe?
Have they been taking their medications properly?
Have they been making frequent or unnecessary trips to the doctors or hospitals?
Are they able to properly use household appliances and remember to turn them off when finished?
Have they had many recent minor car accidents, slips/falls, or have they been bumping into things?
Are they paying bills on time or at all?
Do they still engage themselves in activities or hobbies that they enjoy?
Memory care communities are for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. These communities offer specific programming along with assisted living services.
Consider the questions below if you believe that memory care might be appropriate for your senior loved one:
Does your senior loved one display memory loss that disrupts daily life?
Do they display challenges in planning or solving problems?
Do they have difficulty completing familiar tasks?
Have they displayed confusion with time or place?
Do they have trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships?
Are they displaying new problems with words in speaking or writing?
Do they misplace things, and have they lost the ability to retrace their steps?
Have they recently displayed decreased or poor judgement?
Are they withdrawing from work or social activities?
Have they displayed changes in mood and personality?