Taking care of our parents and other older relatives as they age is one of the most challenging parts of life. It’s tough to watch someone you love lose their independence, but at the same time, it’s sometimes just not possible to provide all of the care that a person needs without professional help.
Assisted living facilities can help not only with your loved one’s quality of life but with yours too. It’s important that you start planning when and if you will be engaging with an assisted living facility as early as possible so that your loved one can be involved with the decision making process.
Some families find that it is completely manageable to take care of your loved one’s needs and allow them to stay in their own home at the same time. However, for others, this is more of a challenge, and people continue to try to do it long after it remains feasible out of feelings of guilt.
A good way to assess whether caring for your loved one at home is manageable is to track what help you are providing on a daily basis.
Keep a note of how capable your loved one is of carrying out activities like:
- Feeding themselves
- Moving around the home
- Dressing themselves
- Continence (control of bowels and bladder)
If you are noticing signs that your loved one isn’t coping well with these tasks, then you will need to assess how help can be provided.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on things like payment of bills, the cleanliness of the home, and general household maintenance.
Suppose your loved one has been diagnosed with a medical condition that is likely to be ongoing, such as Alzheimers or cancer. In that case, it’s essential to speak with medical professionals about what levels of care are likely to be needed in the long term and assess whether or not you are able to facilitate that care in the home or whether professional help will be needed.
If your loved one has a specific health condition, you can use a senior living directory to find care providers that are specialists in that area.
One of the most significant risks to the health of seniors is isolation. It is thought to be as big a risk to health as smoking, and it increases the risk and severity of conditions like dementia.
If your loved one is spending a lot of time alone, then an assisted living community could be a great option for them. It means that they can easily spend time with other people their own age while receiving any other support they might need.
Many of these facilities will run activities to keep seniors engaged and enjoying their lives while facilitating rewarding social interaction at the same time.
If you are noticing signs that your loved one isn’t taking great care of themselves, or you are concerned that they might fall and injure themselves, then it’s important that these issues be addressed.
These conversations can be awkward and painful but ultimately life-saving.