The decision to move into senior housing is a significant decision, for both seniors and their caregivers alike. As the older adult in your life begins to struggle more with the tasks of daily living, it’s natural to start asking the question, is it time for senior housing?
One of the most challenging parts of making the decision is bringing it up with your loved one. It’s understandable that most older adults don’t want to leave their homes, and approaching the subject gently is important.
Let your loved one know about your concerns for their welfare and ask them about their daily experiences so you can discuss the best options together.
6 Signs It Might Be Time for Senior Housing
No one wants to until a crisis before making a decision, but knowing when to broach the subject can be difficult, too. Here are some signs that it might be time to start thinking about senior housing options.
#1. Increasing Worries About Safety in the Home
Is your loved one more prone to falls these days? Perhaps there have been multiple ER trips, or even hospital stays. Your loved one or another caregiver or friend might have mentioned accidents such as minor burns or slips, cooking-related accidents, or other small but still worrying mishaps.
You might also be starting to worry about home challenges such as steep or winding stairs, high-sided tubs, uneven patios or too many sharp edges and corners on the furniture.
If it seems like home is less and less of a safe place, it could be time to think about moving to senior housing.
#2. Advancing Memory Impairment
Forgetfulness can be dangerous for seniors. Someone suffering from impaired cognition can easily leave a stove or freestanding heater unattended or let a bath or sink overflow.
Be wise to the signs of memory impairment such as forgetfulness, repeating the same information, seeming lost or confused, or even getting disoriented and wandering out of the home.
When you notice advancing signs of memory impairment, it’s time to have a discussion with your loved one and others in their immediate circle. Don’t wait to have this conversation until it's too late.
#3. Problems With Personal Care
Personal care can be difficult for seniors who are struggling with memory loss or physical problems such as dizziness, fatigue or mobility difficulties. Older adults may also be frightened of slipping or falling on bathroom tiles or have difficulty negotiating the sides of the tub.
Seniors who have a regular in-home personal care assistant might start needing increased personal care hours.
If you notice signs of neglected hygiene, such as being unwashed or unkempt, it’s time to find out how things are with your loved one, and whether they might be safer and more comfortable in a senior housing community setting.
#4. Neglected Household and Finances
How are things in your loved one’s home? Signs of neglect around the house are a telltale sign that someone is struggling at home.
You might notice trash cans left to overflow, increased amounts of dust or dirt around the home, mold, grime, or piles of dishes in the sink. You might also notice a lot of general clutter such as unfolded laundry or paperwork left unattended.
Your loved one might also start neglecting their finances. You might notice reminder notices lying around or see that they have left mail untouched in piles, or perhaps even outside in the mailbox.
Talk to your loved one about your concern for protecting them at home and their finances to assess whether daily tasks are getting to be too much for them.
#5. Increased Reliance On Loved Ones
Friends and family are generally happy to help out a loved one in need, but if the need for help is steadily increasing, that too can be a sign that it’s time to consider senior housing.
Seniors who live with a partner might start relying more and more heavily on their healthier spouse, which puts a lot of strain on the healthier partner.
#6. Becoming Isolated At Home
Staying social is important for us as we age. Having a local community of friends and plenty of things to do can help seniors stay active and even ward off the depression and lack of motivation that comes with social isolation.
Senior housing communities provide residents with opportunities to socialize and try out hobbies. For those who are becoming too isolated living at home, this can be a real boon.
Floating the idea that it's time for senior housing isn’t easy. However, if you notice one or more of these signs, it’s a good idea to start the conversation with your loved one.
Sometimes a move to senior housing is the best way to keep your loved one safe and happy and increase the quality of their later years.