Resources & Tips for Helping a Senior Parent Transition into Assisted Living

Updated: Jul 8, 2020


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Are you concerned about whether your aging parent should move into an assisted living community? If so, know that you’re not alone in those concerns. Each year, millions of adults have the same worries about their senior parents or other aging loved ones but knowing when the time is right for the transition into senior care can be difficult. That’s why it can be helpful for family caregivers and seniors to have more information about what necessitates assisted living and senior care, including these common signs and indicators:

Progression of Chronic Illnesses or Conditions

Has your aging parent recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia? If so, understanding the progression of these conditions can help you determine when assisted care may be needed. Adults who are still in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, for example, may only have mild symptoms and may still be able to age in place safely on their own. As the condition becomes more severe, family caregivers may need to seek help from in-home health aides or other professionals and at some point, assisted living or respite care will most likely be needed to ensure the health and safety of all family members affected.

Understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia can also help you decide which sort of respite care is best as the condition progresses. While some assisted living facilities may provide memory care, it’s best to confirm these specialized options before committing to a community or to search for an assisted living facility specifically designed for seniors who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Inabilities to Safely Carry Out Activities of Daily Living

Can your parents still perform essential tasks such as dressing, bathing, or preparing meals? If he/she cannot, it may be time to consider assisted living or other senior care options. Investopedia explains these basic tasks are commonly referred to as Activities of Daily Living or ADL’s. While ADL’s can be taken for granted by younger adults, seniors can find it difficult to carry them out safely on their own. Assisted living facilities are designed to help seniors with ADL’s, as well as other care needs, so if your loved one is finding these activities increasingly difficult you should begin to research some assisted living options.

Since processing the need for assisted living can be so challenging for older adults, it can also be helpful to breach the topic well before any considerable care is needed. Try to approach your aging parent or senior loved one when he/she is calm and relaxed. Be objective in expressing your concerns and your desires to plan for future long-term care, but also stay patient and compassionate as you talk.

Caregiver or Senior Concerns About Isolation or Loneliness

If your loved one can still safely care for him- or herself, but you’re worried about isolation or loneliness, Daily Caring points out that there may be alternate housing options to address those needs. While assisted living facilities can still provide a sense of independence to seniors who need some additional help, a senior who can still perform ADL’s and is not suffering from any serious chronic condition may be happier downsizing into a senior housing community, getting a roommate or even aging in place with the help of home modification and technology.

This reinforces the importance of open and honest discussions with your loved one to assess his/her need for care or simply companionship. At the end of the day, preserving a senior’s quality of life is what is most important.

Once you and your loved one have agreed that a move to assisted living is needed for his/her care, safety, and comfort, you can begin working on plans to ease the transition. To make things easier for you both, we’ve compiled a list of helpful links and resources that you can use when planning your loved one’s transition and planning each step in the move to assisted living:

Options for Paying for Assisted Living Costs

Finding Services for Senior Loved Ones

How to Help Seniors Who Refuse Care

Tips & Advice for Planning a Senior Move

Tips for Managing Caregiver Guilt

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