Warning Signs That a Senior Needs Assisted Living

Adult children want to make sure a parent is happy and healthy as they grow older. It’s often difficult to know the best senior care solution. How do you ensure your family elder can continue to enjoy a safe, comfortable home and their favorite pastimes?

Sometimes it may be finding ways to allow the senior to remain in their own house, while other times it means transitioning to an assisted living community. Added to the mix is that this generation of elders is known for being proud and fiercely independent. They might be reluctant to admit they are struggling when loved ones ask. And accepting that it’s time to accept help might not be easy.

That’s why waiting for a parent to ask for help, especially if the solution requires a move, isn’t usually a good idea. You might find yourself in the midst of a crisis without a plan. How can you tell when a senior loved one needs help if they don’t ask for it? What can you do to objectively evaluate their situation?

This checklist of red flags to look for when you spend time together will likely help.


Is It Time to Talk with a Senior About Assisted Living?

There are almost always telltale signs that indicate an older adult is struggling and in need of a change, including:

  • Is a once well-cared-for home showing signs of neglect? Odors, overflowing laundry, dirty dishes, and a general lack of cleanliness can be small but meaningful signs to pay attention to.

  • Are maintenance and lawn-care tasks being ignored? Burned-out light bulbs, broken door handles, and trash not being taken out are other red flags.

  • Is the senior having difficulty paying bills and keeping up with their mail? Look for stacks of unopened mail on the counter or possibly even left in the mailbox. Are there past-due notices? Managing finances can become more difficult with aging.

  • Has the elder made a mistake or two with their medication? Or are they forgetting to refill prescriptions in a timely manner? This is another common challenge for a senior who takes multiple types of medicine.

The senior’s personal appearance can also tell a tale. Often the changes are subtle and might include:

  • Change in personal care, such as disheveled clothing, dirty or messy hair, and body odor.

  • Unexplained bruises or scratches. These may be warning signs that a parent is struggling with mobility, especially when combined with holes or scrapes in the walls or furniture.

  • Unintentional weight loss or gain. This is often a signal of poor nutrition, possibly caused by difficulty grocery shopping or preparing meals.

Older adults who live alone are at greater risk for health challenges related to isolation, such as:

  • Insomnia or sleep disorders that cause them to sleep too much or too little. It may be due to a lack of physical exercise or socialization.

  • Depression that results in withdrawing from favorite hobbies and friend groups, and possibly even from their religious services.

  • Becoming too sedentary, which increases the chance they will develop heart disease or diabetes.

  • Change in disposition, especially if they seem paranoid about the intentions of friends and family members. That can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

  • Agitation or restlessness that occurs later in the day. This may be due to a condition called sundowner’s syndrome, a behavior caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

If you found yourself identifying with more than one or two of the scenarios listed above, it’s likely time to share your concerns with your senior loved one. You might be surprised to discover that they’ve been concerned about their situation and just haven’t been sure how to proceed.


Invitation to Visit Bella Vista Assisted Living

For families who live in or around Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Paradise Valley, Bella Vita Assisted Living is an option to consider. From our communities’ small size to our low caregiver-to-resident ratios, we help seniors enjoy their best quality of life every day. Call (480) 770-4660 today to learn more!

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