As we get older, there may come a time when we could use a little help. It can make life easier, safer and more enjoyable, but it can also be hard to accept and admit. To many people, the beginning of the need for assistance can feel like the end of independence and freedom.
But assisted living no longer has the stigma it once did. Today’s assisted living communities are vibrant, lively and happy places to live. The idea of receiving senior care doesn’t have to feel like losing independence, but rather gaining it right back.
Everyone has a strong desire to stay in control of their own lives and make decisions for themselves. And it’s not just about enjoying life; it’s also about dignity and self-esteem. So it’s not uncommon for an aging parent to downplay or try to hide the difficulty they may be experiencing until an accident or illness makes it obvious.
As a senior yourself or the adult child of one, you can be on the lookout for signs it’s time for assisted living.
Have you noticed that your parent’s hair is more messy than usual? Are their clothes disheveled, unwashed or ill-fitting? These can be signs that your parent isn’t keeping up with basic chores such as laundry. Has their hygiene worsened noticeably? Do they have bad breath, body odor, or are you noticing a faint urine smell? A decrease in self-care is often a clear sign that assisted living is necessary.
Also, you may notice your parent beginning to struggle with mobility. If they’re slower to get out of a chair, or up a flight of stairs, this can indicate a downturn in health. If you notice unplanned weight loss, it can be one of the clearest signs it’s time for assisted living.
All these changes are an indication that your parent may be having trouble with activities of daily living (ADLs). Basic self-care is crucial for health and wellness, and if bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, medication management, and other essential tasks are not getting done, it can lead to a worrisome decline in health and safety.
If your parent seems more irritable than usual, or generally less cheerful, it can be a sign they’re having trouble taking care of themselves. If their appearance is worsening, often their mood will follow. Cleanliness and order give us a sense of pride, and if that self-care routine starts to falter, it can be frustrating and embarrassing.
A decline in mood can also lead to a loss of interest in favorite activities and social interaction. Socializing is important, especially for older adults, and if your parent is showing signs of retreating from the world, it could be because they don’t want people to see them in decline. This can begin a downward spiral of depression leading to isolation and loneliness that builds on itself.
Along with a worsening mood, there can be other indications that your parent isn’t as mentally clear and decisive as they could be. If they’re frequently losing keys, forgetting where they’ve placed their purse or wallet, or often forgetting what they were doing, these can be signs aging parents need assisted living.
A slight cognitive decline is normal as we age, but if your parent is forgetting simple words, getting confused more frequently, or has become noticeably more indecisive than usual, some increased level of care could be helpful. This can be especially concerning if they’re missing medical appointments, or if there are unexplained scratches or dents on the car.
Along with a decline in self-care, you’ll likely notice a similar decline in the condition of the home. Is dust accumulating more than usual? Is the trash bin in the kitchen too full and smelly? You may notice that laundry isn’t getting folded, or beds aren’t being made. Is the food in the refrigerator long past its due date? Has some food even started to mold?
And what about the condition of the residence, appliances and yard? Is there a broken coffee maker still sitting on the counter? Is there a cracked window that remains unrepaired? Is the lawn a few weeks past due for mowing?
Are the bills piling up? Are there stacks of unopened mail growing on tables? Are there late notices arriving about utility bills or credit card bills? Sometimes collection agencies can be calling, which only adds stress, frustration and confusion to a person’s life. An assisted living community can be the answer to these issues, and take away some, and in many cases much of the worry associated with finances.
Imagine all your household chores being taken care of for you. Imagine not having to worry about running to the grocery store or planning ahead for your meals. You don’t have to organize your bills, balance a complicated checkbook, and make sure your utilities are all paid on time. Moving into a senior living community means you’re relieving yourself of all those obligations.
Assisted living isn’t about giving up your freedom. It’s about gaining it back. Letting caring professionals handle the responsibilities of daily living will make life safer and less worrisome, yes, but it also simply makes life more relaxing and fun. You’ll find you have more free time. You’ll have less to keep track of and worry about.
How do you know when it’s time for assisted living? When you realize your freedom, independence and overall quality of life will be greatly improved! Everyone needs some sort of help at various points in life. Asking for help can be difficult, but once you receive that help, you’ll immediately feel the benefit.
Senior care at Stevenson Oaks is focused on your health, your happiness, and your overall wellness. It’s about your dignity, your individuality, and the fact that you still have so much to experience in your life and contribute to the world. Our focus is on our residents living their best lives, at every level of care. We have the staff, services, and amenities in our assisted living facility to meet your health care needs and lifestyle preferences.
From helping you manage your activities of daily living to fitness, mental and spiritual wellness, to fun social activities with like-minded friends, Stevenson Oaks Assisted Living will help you reclaim your life. We assist with your independence. To learn more about how assisted living at Stevenson Oaks can be the right decision for you or a loved one, contact us.