We are often asked how you know if it’s time to move. We put together this list of indicators that an individual may be ready for assisted living sooner rather than later. Waiting until there is a crisis such as a visit to the hospital and the discharge planner tells you your loved one can’t return home is the worst time to make decisions about long term living. You and your loved one are already under a tremendous amount of stress, adding finding and choosing an assisted living community, memory care or adult care home is too much all at once-for everyone. In addition, your choices may be limited based on room availability and you may not get exactly what you are looking for.
Here are some signs it’s time to seriously start looking:
- Diagnosis of 3 or more chronic diseases such as: Heart condition, Diabetes, COPD, Stroke, Cancer
- Five or more prescription medications. This does not include vitamins, but may include herbal supplements as often times herbal supplements can have a counter-contradiction to prescription medications.
- Any type of diagnosis of dementia related illness, prolonging a move with someone with dementia becomes more difficult with each passing day. The earlier the transition, the more successful the move will be for everyone.
- Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) become unpredictable and/or unmanageable. Examples of ADL’s: Bladder or bowel incontinence is more frequent, falls are becoming more frequent, sleep patterns are changing, unexplainable weight gain or weight loss, Frequent or multiple trips to the hospital and medication errors
- Hygiene: Failure to be able to understand the need for showering, combing hair, brushing teeth, incontinence, wearing the same clothes day after day, clothes are not clean and/or stained
- Experiencing social isolation can occur without being noticed leading to depression. Has there been a decline in participating in place of worship, no longer enjoying group activities games, not spending time with family and friends, less exercise, less interest in hobbies, etc.
- Physical safety: is the current living situation equipped to safely meet needs: i.e. grab bars in shower or near toilet, are there throw rugs/other trip hazards, hallways too narrow. Is there a risk of wandering outside of home—are they exit seeking?
- Other miscellaneous factors: Who is currently offering assistance, family members, in home health care agency, or no one? Can family continue to be the caregiver physically and emotionally?
There are benefits from having assistance such as transportation, companionship, respect, dignity, independence that assisted living can bring. We often hear our clients say, “we should have moved a long time ago”. Don’t wait for a crisis.