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How to Know When It’s Time for Assisted Living

A senior woman and her daughter smile for a picture with colorful fall leaves behind them.

You’ve grown up depending on your family member’s unconditional love, support and wisdom. Now that it’s time for you to make sure their needs are taken care of as they age, you might face the tough decision of knowing when it’s time for assisted living.

That’s why the experts at Oaks Senior Living put together this list of three clear signs your loved one can benefit from a personalized level of support provided by a professional and compassionate care team in assisted living:

Difficulty eating

Appetite changes and even some loss of appetite are a natural part of aging, because changes in the sense of smell and taste can affect how we enjoy food. Plus, a lower metabolic rate means Elders need to consume fewer calories to maintain their energy.

However, there are many other nonage-related reasons your loved one’s appetite may have changed. Here are signs your mom or dad may need regular help with eating from a care team in assisted living:

  • Difficulty remembering to eat. Many Elders with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia have trouble remembering mealtimes. Living alone or not having someone to help them stick to a schedule can cause them to skip meals.
  • Avoiding certain foods and drinks. If you notice your family member is avoiding chewy meat, dry cookies or fizzy drinks, they may have difficulty chewing and swallowing. Dining venues in assisted living communities can prepare softer foods that taste delicious and help Elders regain their appetite.
  • Difficulty using silverware. Trembling hands, poor vision and loss of fine motor skills makes it difficult for many Elders to use traditional silverware. Not only does it make it difficult to eat, it also makes it less likely your loved one will eat in front of friends and family. They may be worried about making a mess or simply embarrassed they need to ask for help.
  • Overwhelmed by grocery shopping and meal preparation. A lot of work goes into making healthy meals at home. Many Eldershave difficulty getting out to get groceries and then prepping fresh food to make a meal.

The care team at each Oaks Senior Living community is dedicated to providing person-centered care for every resident, which means your family member will always feel comfortable asking for the help they need in order to enjoy their retirement.

Struggles with personal hygiene

Obstacles like hard, slick surfaces, high bathtub walls and getting dressed and undressed can cause your family member to skip showering or bathing. Bending over to transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer or buttoning a shirt can be difficult for Elders with chronic pain, which can lead them to repeatedly wear the same dirty clothes.

These are other changes in hygiene to help you figure out when it’s time for assisted living:

  • Long or broken fingernails
  • Messy home that used to be well-organized
  • Strong body odor
  • Unkempt hair or overgrown facial hair.
  • Unused hygiene products like toothpaste or shampoo

The features in assisted living communities, like walk-in showers and nonslip floors, are designed to keep residents safe, so they feel more comfortable with activities like bathing. Housekeeping and laundry services help residents keep a tidy home and make it easy to wear clean clothes. Plus, there’s a care team available to provide assistance with getting dressed.

Mobility issues

The ability to freely move or walk around is important for the mental and physical health of your family member. When an Elder becomes less mobile they’re less likely to engage in social activities and more likely to suffer from a fall.

Here are signs your loved one might have difficulties with mobility:

  • Avoiding the stairs. Stairs can be extra tough for Elders. They may opt for a ramp or elevator, no matter the length of a staircase, or spend much more time downstairs than usual, in order to avoid using the stairs.
  • Difficulty sitting or standing without support. Having difficulty with sitting and standing is a strong sign that your family member has mobility issues. This movement is essential for a high-quality life, because it’s used for other daily activities like eating, using the restroom, lying down to sleep and rising from bed when waking up.
  • Trouble keeping their balance. Normal signs of aging like impaired vision, muscle weakness, joint stiffness and slower reaction times can make standing, walking and exercising difficult.
  • Frequent falls. The biggest indicator of when it’s time for assisted living is if your family member has frequent falls. Falls are a threat to your loved one’s health, and can lead to life-threatening injuries.

There are a variety of ways your family member can increase both their balance and mobility in an assisted living community. For instance, they can improve balance with chair exercise classes and can increase strength with regular walks on beautifully maintained paths.

Discover a Person-Centered Approach to Assisted Living in Our Care Communities

Oaks Senior Living is proud to provide independent living, assisted living and memory care communities designed to create lifestyles that engage the mind and spirit and enrich every stage of retirement. To find out how your loved one can thrive in one of our care communities, contact Oaks Senior Living online or call us at 770-796-5871. We’ll reach out to you as soon as possible!

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