When Should You Consider Assisted Living?
Caregivers do everything in their power to make sure their loved one gets the care they need. However, the average person is unequipped to handle some of the challenges that can come with age. Eventually, you may need to turn to assisted living. Many seniors blanch at the thought of moving into assisted living facilities, fearful that they will lose their independence. In fact, the opposite is more likely. The help they’ll get with day-to-day tasks will give them the freedom to pursue a fuller life.
Here’s a look at a few of the signs it’s time for assisted living, and how to approach the conversation:
Signs They Need It
Your loved one may need assisted living if they are starting to show signs that they can’t care for themselves properly. This can be subtle, so it’s important to pay close attention. Decreased hygiene or self-care is a common sign. Often older people either forget to keep up with these routines, or they become physically unable to do so.
There are a few dangerous red flags to look out for. If your loved one seems confused about their medication dosages, you should be concerned. Unless it’s a new med they’re still learning about, confusion about medication can become very dangerous, very quickly. Missing, doubling, or mistiming a dose can all have serious consequences.
Other dangerous behaviors include forgetting to turn off the stove or other appliances, getting lost in familiar places, frequent falls, or forgetting familiar things or people. These are all indicators of major memory problems, and may mean your loved one would do best in an assisted living facility.
Signs You Need It
First, allow us to give you formal permission to stop being your loved one’s caregiver. When you’re in this kind of role, needing to quit can come with a whole host of awful feelings. However, you mustn’t feel bad or guilty for this decision. If the time comes when you can no longer care for your loved one, getting them to a safe and capable place is the absolute best thing you can do.
There are several signs that you’ve reached the end of your time as a caregiver. If you’re
feeling worn down, and you’re unable to get your energy back after a break, you may be stretching yourself too thin. If you have developed depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders you’re unable to manage, that’s another sign it’s time to stop.
Finally, wanting to stop is one of the simplest indicators you should; unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest ones to listen to. Remember, this doesn’t mean you care about your loved one any less, and it doesn’t mean you’re giving up on them. The self-awareness required to recognize when it’s time to pass the torch on to someone better equipped to handle it is one of the most loving things you can do.
Having the Conversation
As we mentioned before, many older adults are set against assisted living. You may deal with pushback, embarrassment, and even anger when you bring the topic up. It’s important to be compassionate and understanding, but firm in your decision. If the conversation gets too heated, take a break to allow everyone to cool down.
When things have calmed, help your loved one come up with a list of questions for potential assisted living facilities. Keeping them as involved in the process as possible will prevent them from feeling steamrolled into the decision. Moreover, you may be surprised by their priorities, and they may have questions you wouldn’t have considered on your own.
Focus on keeping an honest and open dialogue throughout the whole process. With time, your loved one can come to see the benefits of assisted living, too. We’ve gathered together a few resources, listed below, that can help deepen the conversation, expand your understanding, and give you ideas for how to take care of yourself through this process. Trust yourself: You have the power to make the best decision for your loved one and yourself.
What Is Adult Day Care and How Can it Help Caregivers?
Senior Service Options
The Cost of Assisted Living: What Do You Get for Your Money
Strategies for When a Parent Refuses an Assisted Living Facility
Caregiver Stress: Tips For Taking Care Of Yourself
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