Updated: Jan 5
How to Tell if Your Senior Loved One Is Ready for Assisted Living
Knowing when to introduce the topic of assisted living is rarely easy, and it’s oftentimes difficult to determine whether daily assistance is needed in a senior’s life. Many seniors would prefer to live independently at home for as long as possible, while others are far more open to the idea of transitioning into a continuing care community when the need arises.
In this article, you’ll learn about the different signs and behaviors that may indicate a need for assisted living care — as well as how you can pay for your senior’s assisted living expenses when the time comes.
Difficulties with Activities of Daily Living
Also known as ADLs, activities of daily living include things such as continence, bathing, eating, dressing, mobility, and toileting. And if your senior loved one is having trouble feeding, bathing, or dressing himself — or sitting, standing, walking, using the toilet, or controlling his bladder and bowels — it may be time to talk to your parent, friend, or sibling about the benefits of independent or assisted living.
Some independent living facilities offer home care services to assist residents with activities such as bathing, laundry, and taking medication, while assisted living communities can help with everything from activities of daily living to housekeeping and transportation. It’s important to understand the differences between independent and assisted living when selecting a continuing care community.
It’s important to keep in mind that if your senior loved one has a serious health issue that requires round-the-clock monitoring and skilled medical care then a nursing facility will be a better fit. You can visit sites like SeniorCare.com to vet San Francisco-area nursing homes and learn more about their amenities and costs.
Changes in Memory and Personality
Major changes in memory, health, and personality may also indicate a need for assisted living care. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with medical conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, for instance, she’ll likely require daily assistance at some point in the future — and it’s a good idea to talk to her about assisted living before her condition worsens.
Some common signs of cognitive decline include:
Withdrawal from social activities and hobbies
Personality and mood changes, including depression or anxiety
Fortunately, many assisted living communities offer safe, secure, and specialized memory care services for those with dementia. And while making the decision to move your senior parent, friend, or sibling into assisted living isn’t always easy, the right care community will keep your loved one safe for years to come.
Talking to Your Loved One About Assisted Living
If you’re ready to talk to your senior loved one about making the transition into an assisted living community, Ruben Castaneda of the US News offers some tips and strategies. Typically, it’s best to begin the conversation early on; listen to your loved one’s wants, needs, and concerns; and give him or her plenty of time to consider the idea. Don’t rush your loved one into anything, and be sure to talk to your senior with kindness and respect.
Affording Assisted Living Costs
Once you and your senior loved one have come to an agreement about assisted living care, you’ll need to explore your financing options. As a few examples, you could use your loved one’s long-term care insurance policy to pay for assisted living expenses, apply for an equity line of credit, or if applicable, check to see if your senior’s Medicaid insurance policy will cover all or part of these costs. As another option, some senior veterans can use their military benefits to pay for assisted living expenses.
If your loved one owns his home, you could also sell his house and use the proceeds to pay for assisted living care. Start by hiring an experienced and talented real estate agent like Raymond Maestas who has expertise in your loved one’s area and can market the home to prospective homebuyers.
Although it won’t be easy, it’s important to talk to your loved one about assisted living care if you notice major changes in his memory, health, and personality — or find that your senior loved one is struggling with his activities of daily living. Many senior-friendly housing options are available to choose from, but it’s important to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect fit for your loved one.