Written by Josh Horsman
Assisted-Living facilities offer a supportive group-living environment for seniors. Some residents live in such facilities by their own choosing because they feel more secure in such an environment, or because they enjoy the social environment it presents. However, for many people, living in an assisted-living facility also becomes a necessity because they are no longer able to live independently. Making such a decision is not easy and can be a difficult and emotional process. However, sometimes it becomes simply the best option for a person’s wellbeing and to enable them to stay healthy and happy for longer.
Here are some of the signs it may be time to consider assisted-living:
The US census bureau estimates that 28% of americans over the age of 65 live alone. While this is to be expected later in life, it can lead to a range of unwanted outcomes. Seniors who live alone are more prone to depression and addiction, their brains are less likely to be regularly stimulated than those who live with others and, therefore, they are more prone to cognitive conditions like Dementia. Most worrying of all is several studies which suggest that those who live alone have a higher risk of mortality, meaning they typically die younger.
Of course living alone doesn’t have to mean social isolation, and many seniors who live by themselves participate regularly in social activities. However health problems and immobility may force someone to become isolated and should this become the case, it is perhaps time to consider the healthy and social environment presented by assisted-living facilities.
Keeping track of your finances and staying organised with bills and payments is essential for living an independent life, and something which most of us have a good grasp of by the time we reach later life. However when it all becomes too much and bills begin to go unpaid, you begin to misplace cash regularly or even accumulate debt, then it may be a sign that you no longer have the control over your life that you once did. You may also become more susceptible to making unwise financial decisions such as scams or irresponsible investments.
A common, tell-tale sign that independent living is no longer best for someone is when they begin to neglect their personal care. This can mean forgetting or neglecting to bathe regularly, taking an uncaring attitude towards personal appearance, wearing unwashed clothes and incontinence or other problems with using the bathroom. The person affected will often be oblivious to their decline in personal care, so this is a sign that will usually be observed by a loved-one who should then gently initiate a conversation about assisted living.
This is another sign that is typically only noticeable to a person’s loved-ones and overlooked by the individual themselves, but a messy and disordered home could be a reflection of internal issues. If you notice that your family member is failing to take responsibility for their environment and living in mess that is uncharacteristic of their previous behaviour, then it might be the case that they are struggling with keeping other parts of their life in order, likely due to impaired thinking, planning and judgement. If you notice these signs it is wise to first look for the other, previously mentioned, factors and then initiate a conversation about assisted-living.
Perhaps the most pressing and compelling reason to consider assisted living is when yours or a loved-one’s physical health deteriorates to the point where you can no longer physically cope with the demands of independent living. If this becomes the case, then it certainly might be time to consider the supportive environment offered by assisted-living. Being unable to live independently might mean: Being unable to leave the house by yourself, being unable to use the bathroom alone, being unable to climb stairs, being prone to falls or having a serious medical condition which you are unable to self-manage. These signs indicate that your health is at risk if you continue to live independently and it is therefore important to begin planning for assisted-living.