Caring for our elders can be a difficult, fraught process. One of the biggest decisions we may be faced with as our elders age is the decision to transition them into senior living care or assisted living. It’s unlikely the perfect moment to transition your elder into senior living services will present itself obviously. Informing yourself about common signs that indicate assisted living services will benefit your loved one can help in determining the best time for this transition.
Gauging Elder Independence Levels
In the 1960s, Dr. Sidney Katz developed a list of six daily living activities that act as a guide to whether someone needs assisted living or not. These remain in wide use today. Dr. Katz’s six items are:
- Using the bathroom
- Getting in and out of bed
If an elder struggles with or is unable to do the majority of the housekeeping tasks listed above, it is likely a clear indicator that they could benefit from senior living services.
Beyond those foundational considerations are a set of more expansive activities to consider in identifying an elder’s independence level. These include cooking, cleaning, ability to drive or use public transit, financial responsibility, and social engagement.
Three Signs It’s Time for Senior Living Care
Even after analyzing an elder’s daily living activities and related markers of independence, it can still be challenging to pin down if assisted living is right for them. Here are three signs that it’s time for senior living care for your loved one.
1. Declining Health
The AARP reports that over 70 million people aged 50 and older suffer from at least one chronic medical condition. These can range from mild annoyances to more severe conditions such as Alzheimer’s or a heart condition. A person’s need for medical attention often appears in contrast to their level of independence.
It is also a fact of life that aging makes the onset or development of a serious condition more likely. Aging brings an increasing chance of sudden shifts in health status, such as experiencing a stroke or heart attack.
If your elder seems to need more and more medical attention, or you feel their risk of a serious medical emergency is going up, it could make sense to seek our senior living care for them.
2. Social Isolation
Old age is a stage of life that has become somewhat synonymous with social and physical isolation. As independence and the ability to go places unaided decreases, elders begin to spend more time alone than they are used to. Not to mention millions of elders live alone and have limited family contact on top of lessened mobility. Isolation breeds decreased health outcomes and is connected to higher rates of:
Pay close attention to how much socializing your elder is able to engage in. If they are withdrawing from social life, or forced to withdraw due to medical issues, senior living care could provide the environment they need.
3. Hygiene Struggles or Increased Frailty
Even if your older relative remains capable of keeping up with their hygiene, they could lack the motivation to do so as they age. One key here is noticing if there are elements of their appearance or hygiene they used to take pride in that they have let fall by the wayside, such as their hair or the clothes they wear.
Frailty is a similar concern, whether it’s instability, trouble walking, or difficulty navigating steps. By paying close attention to your loved one’s hygiene and frailty, you can make an informed determination of if they could benefit from assisted living.
Senior Living Services at Summer’s Landing
Summer’s Landing provides comprehensive senior living services that prioritize your loved one’s health, dignity, and safety. Learn more by contacting us at 850.265.9829.