Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How do you know when it's time for assisted living?

        Health | Elder Care

Health and Well-being

It's a fact of life that as seniors grow older, their bodies begin to fail, their friends begin to pass away, and they have fewer ways of keeping engaged with social and cultural activities. As time goes on, seniors can become isolated and lonely. Assisted living staff will recognize depression and the causes, and skilled staff will identify ways to keep the residents engaged and interested, according to their specific interests and needs.

A loss of ease of mobility may be another sign that it's time to move to a safe place. Many seniors eventually have difficulty feeding themselves. Their loss of mobility, for example, may make it more difficult to retrieve pots and pans from the cupboard, to cook and to wash dishes. They may resort to eating what's easiest, like snack foods, and miss out on important nutrients. In the worst cases, seniors lose their appetites completely or forget to eat. Assisted living facilities will monitor intake and assist seniors to be sure they eat regularly, and they will ensure those meals are nutritious.

Memory loss is one of the major reasons that many make the move to assisted living. Sadly, the ramifications of memory loss can be extreme. As mentioned earlier, some seniors have trouble keeping up on when to take their medications. Those with memory loss have even more trouble. Skipping medications can put the senior's health at risk, and doubling a medication because they forgot they already took it can be dire. Seniors with memory impairments are also prone to wandering and could walk out of their homes and forget how to get back. They may be safer in assisted living, where staff can keep an eye on them at all times.

Some seniors, such as those who have suffered strokes, have difficulty communicating. Without the ability to speak, they can't convey when they're hungry, thirsty, feeling ill or in pain. This makes it hard for a caregiver, such as a family member, to know when, where and how to seek help. For seniors who can't verbalize distress and live alone, the situation becomes dangerous because they can't relay their needs over the telephone.

Skilled employees at assisted living facilities can attend to the needs of those with difficulty communicating 24/7 and are more experienced in what the senior is likely to be requesting.

For more articles on assisted living, check out the links on the next page.


More to Explore