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How to know when your loved one might be ready for assisted living

Moving someone you love to assisted living is often an extremely difficult decision, especially if your loved one is having difficulty accepting that it is indeed time to do so.

It’s understandable that a family wants an individual to be able to stay in the home in which they’re most comfortable, surrounded by memories, for as long as possible. Unfortunately, people sometimes wait until something traumatic happens–like a fall or injury–and then the decision becomes sudden and hurried.

As we age, there may come a time when our house is simply no longer the safest option. Elderwood, a leading provider of senior care across the Northeast, has identified three key signs that may indicate extra care is needed and alternate living arrangements should be considered:

Changes in appearance

“The most common initial sign that someone needs to be in a more supervised setting is often their appearance,” says Patricia Schoch, regional registered nurse for Elderwood. “They don’t look like themselves. That’s one of the signs that families don’t often think to look for.”

Pay attention to things like hygiene, clean clothes and even dressing appropriately for the weather.

Uncharacteristically messy home

For many aging seniors, taking care of a house or apartment simply becomes too challenging. Unusual messiness or dirtiness can be a warning sign that your loved one needs help. Also, be sure to check the refrigerator and pantry for spoiled or expired foods. Finding these can be a cause for concern, especially given the health implications if the expired or contaminated food is consumed.

Missed medications

Medications not being taken as prescribed is an important sign that extra help is required to stay healthy and safe. You may be worth periodically counting medications to make sure they are being taken properly. When it comes to medication management, you’ll also want to verify that prescriptions are being refilled as needed.

More obvious signs that your loved one may no longer be safe living in their home include wandering, letting bills go unpaid and immediate concerns such as unexplained bruises or injuries.

Assisted living and skilled nursing communities are focused on improving the individual’s quality of life while providing the care they need. Those struggling to keep up with daily tasks may find a more fulfilling life at an assisted living community where they can benefit from transportation to appointments and shopping, a wealth of social activities, and closer medical supervision.

An assisted living community like Elderwood can completely tailor the level of care to each individual’s needs. For some seniors, just having their meals prepared daily and their medications managed allows them to relax and enjoy their daily life. Others may require bathing and dressing assistance regularly.

As hard as this decision can be, it’s best to prepare for the future and learn about care options that are available. Click here to find out more about the services Elderwood offers or to schedule a tour.