Is it time to consider assisted living?
an elderly man using a walker outside of his home

Caring for an elderly client or loved one is a rewarding yet challenging situation.

Knowing when it is time to move an individual from her present home environment to a living environment that offers them more assistance is an emotional decision. You worry about whether or not you can find a trusted source of care and whether or not your client or loved one will adapt well to the new living situation.

There are several signs that occur in your client or loved ones’ life that may indicate a needed change in his living situation.

As individual’s age, if one or more of their activities requires a high level of assistance, a living arrangement change may be in order. Here are other signs to look for that may also prompt a living arrangement change.

Behavioral Signs

Behavior changes as one ages. The behavioral signs to look for when considering a living situation change include wandering, sundowning and aggression. In the later stages of dementia, wandering outside or in areas of the home that pose risks can occur more frequently. Sundowning is when agitated behavior becomes more prominent later in day, which is also indicative of dementia. Aggression is another behavior issue that may occur in older adults that is cause for some concern. If you notice any of these behavioral signs it may be time to make a shift to an assisted living facility.

Physical Signs

Physical deterioration that requires a higher degree of monitoring than you have the capacity to deliver is another sign that it may be time to enter assisted living. Finding out whether or not your loved one or client can still bathe themselves, groom adequately and cook are all signs of continued physical functioning. In addition, if you loved one is hiding bruises because they are falling, this may be a sign that further support is in order.

Social Signs

Sometimes when a loved one ages and they can no longer drive, and if their spouse has passed away, they can experience a high degree of social isolation. This loneliness can include withdrawal from friends and activities that this elderly individual used to enjoy. This is another sign that your client or loved one may benefit from the living environment offered in an assisted living facility.

Caregiver Stress

Caregiver stress can be another reason that may prompt a caregiver to seek help from an assisted living arrangement. The demands of caregiving can put a huge amount of stress on loved ones or professional caregivers.

The long-term damage that can be caused due to this stress can cause problems for both the caregiver and the elderly adult. Finding the right arrangement can serve as an appropriate solution to reducing this stress for all parties involved.

Searching for the Right Place

After evaluating whether your loved one should enter an assisted living facility and determining this is the right choice, there are several things you should consider in regard to assisted living facility choice. You should think about your loved one’s future needs, their financial stability and the financial stability of the facility that you are considering. You should also look at the licensure of the facility, whether or not there is a waiting list and what provisions are included in the assisted living contract.

A great place to start is by talking to residents and getting referrals from others you know who may have placed their loved one in assisted living. There are facilities directories that can help you locate an appropriate facility. You can even search the Internet and find out-of-this world facilities like Ventana, which provides everything from recreational activities like movies and a salon and spa to on-site rehabilitation and a wellness center.

Making the decision to move to assisted living is a difficult choice for both the caregiver and elderly adult.

Finding the right place for your loved one or client can require research and investigation. Once you feel confident in your choice, you will feel a sense of relief that you’re helping to provide the right situation and right care for your client or loved one.

Written by Kayla Matthews
Kayla Matthews writes about medical technologies and news developments for publications like The Week, BioMed Central and Kareo's Go Practice Blog. To read more posts by Kayla, visit her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews or check out her website:

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1 Comment

  1. I appreciate this article. I burned out several weeks ago. Been through several years of journey alone. No siblings, best friend ironically walked away when the demands became significant. Two elderly, narcissistic and obstinate parents. I became so stressed and sick, they thought I took heart attack. Doctor, social worker all told me it’s beyond what one person can do. My parents refuse outside help despite being available and refuse to cooperate with anyone. I had some support of extended family until I mentioned I could no longer keep the pace nor could I financially quit job . They disagree with my decision to say they need more help than I alone can provide and took to social media to make remarks that are beyond hurtful. No help or advice offered just criticism. Any advice appreciated.


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