We all love our senior friends and family members, and we want what is best for their health and well-being. Although aging is a natural process that can make a person become more dependent on others, it can be a tough reality for seniors to grasp. Nobody likes the idea of having some of their autonomy taken away. This is certainly true for seniors who have lived a proud, independent life for decades. But there are times when seniors can no longer live on their own. As the friends and family members of seniors, it’s important that we help them along in this transition. Here are some tips for knowing when it’s time to move a loved one into an assisted living facility and how to have that difficult conversation.
Monitor a loved one’s physical and mental health.
While some seniors do experience major accidents such as falls or strokes that require an immediate need for assisted living, that’s often not the case. In many situations, there isn’t as obvious a contrast between when a senior is fine living alone and when they need to be moved to an assisted living home.
As a loved one, it’s important to monitor a senior’s physical and mental health. Take note of the changes that occur throughout the years. Some of them will be perfectly normal and benign, but others may be tell-tale signs of a need for dependent living. You can always talk to a senior’s doctor to get the inside scoop on their physical and mental health.
Watch for symptoms of major mental and heart conditions.
Besides the gradual aging that seniors experience, they’re also more susceptible of developing some major health conditions. When it comes to your loved one’s mental health, you should always watch for symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Both conditions share similar early warning signs such as a disinterest in once-loved hobbies, lack of judgement, swings in personality or mood, repeatedly asking for the same information, repeated memory loss, and more. If some or all of these signs are present, talk to an expert about finding an assisted living facility that offers memory care.
You need to also be looking for symptoms of potential heart problems that many seniors could face. Heart disease is a major problem for seniors and is difficult to monitor visually due to the relative lack of early signs. It’s crucial for seniors to visit their doctors routinely to get checked for potential heart issues. If seniors express any feelings of discomfort, pressure, or pain in the chest area, their doctor should be contacted immediately. However, there are many other common symptoms of heart problems, including headaches, confusion, shortness of breath when resting, and more.
Have the difficult conversation with sincerity and firmness.
Once you’ve determined that a loved one is too dependent to continue living on their own and there are no other possible living arrangements, then it’s time to have the conversation about an assisted living facility. This conversation will be hard due to it’s sensitive nature, but it also needs to be productive because of the health needs of your loved one.
Express to them the reasons you feel that they can no longer live on their own while leading a healthy life, and talk about how their situation is impacting you personally. Sometimes, it can help for seniors to see how their move into assisted living will help not only themselves but others. Make sure to make concrete plans after this conversation and allow your loved one to be part of the process. Seniors will be more likely to cooperate when they’re given some decision-making autonomy.
It’s never easy to move a loved one into an assisted living facility. Once you’ve determined that this is the best move for their overall health, try your best to have a productive conversation to illustrate this need to your senior friend or family member. Although the move is difficult, their well-being is what’s most important.