As we get older, our lifestyles and our care needs inevitably change. Whether you’re looking out for yourself or are feeling concerned about a senior relative, there is a lot to consider when it comes to long-term care.
It can be difficult to recognize the signs in yourself and others, and things can often go amiss until a crisis happens.
However, if you have noticed a few changes in yourself or a loved one, it might be time to consider starting a conversation about assisted living. There are many benefits to senior living communities, which offer a higher quality of life, support, and safety while still helping people to maintain their independence.
To help you recognize the signs that you need a little extra help or to identify the right time in someone close to you, we’re sharing a number of things to look out for.
Mixing up medications
Taking medications doesn’t always mean seniors will end up in care. There are plenty of medications that make living alone or at home much more manageable – especially if it’s for chronic conditions. However, these prescriptions only help when used correctly. If you’ve started forgetting to take your medication as regularly as prescribed or are struggling to get to the pharmacy for a new prescription, there are plenty of ways to get back on track.
Similarly, if you’ve noticed your family member skipping doses, overdosing, or regularly running out of medication, it might be worth setting alarms and delivering the prescriptions yourself. Of course, this isn’t possible for everyone, which is why finding a support nurse or someone to run errands, is a great way to ensure they’re taking their medications properly and have access to support as and when it’s needed.
Living alone means all the cooking is your responsibility – and sometimes it’s much easier to stick to ready meals or whip up just a sandwich for tea. Nutrition and healthy cooking often go out of the window, especially when it gets harder to move around or cook in the kitchen.
Everything from losing weight to skipping meals can be a sign of malnutrition but also a sign of Depression and underlying health conditions. At Belmont Village Lincoln Park assisted living, residents have the freedom of living like at home while also benefitting from varied, nutritious cooked meals every day.
Struggling with ADL
ADL – activities of daily living – includes things like dressing, bathing, and tidying. Without continuous supervision, it can be hard to know how well seniors are looking after themselves or if they’re even able to do the things they need to.
All of this can seriously impact their quality of life, and this is definitely the time to discuss assisted living or moving back into the family home for help. Not all families will be able to take on the responsibility of a full-time career, which is why assisted living communities are a great way to feel reassured that your relative is happy, healthy, and safe.
Untidy living conditions
Other ADLs include cutting the grass, tidying the house, and avoiding housekeeping. If you’ve noticed the house is looking a little worse for wear but are struggling with keeping up with the chores, you might benefit from a housekeeper or regular cleaner.
You might not even realize how bad things have gotten until it’s pointed out, so family members should keep a close eye on the state of the house – and garden – when visiting.
Trips and falls
If you’re falling or tripping more often, this might be due to a number of reasons. The first is a mobility issue, while the second might be down to living in a property that isn’t equipped for your needs.
For family, a fall in the middle of the night is the worst nightmare. With nobody around to help, seniors could easily find themselves stuck for hours. Worse still, they could gain a serious injury and need to go to the hospital.
When accidents start to happen more regularly, it’s worth looking at how the house could be adapted with pulls, railings, or a stairlift to making staying at home that little bit easier. You might also need to do a little sprucing of the house to get rid of any obstructions in walkways.
Those that need more help can benefit from a fully equipped apartment in assisted living. You’ll still have space to make the place your own, but if an emergency does occur, 24/7 staff will be quickly notified and able to help.
Signs of short-term memory loss could include misplacing things or putting them back in the wrong place. However, it could be more dangerous things like forgetting to turn the stove off or not being able to retrace your steps.
Memory loss should always be raised with your primary care provider, as it could be a sign of deteriorating cognitive health. However, as these short-term blips can potentially put you in danger, it might also be time to consider your current living situation.
You might not recognize anxiety building up in yourself. But relatives that have noticed you becoming more dependent or cautious about your surroundings might be able to identify it for you. If you’ve found yourself feeling more alone or afraid in your own house or neighborhood, this could be some early signs of anxiety.
People who feel a little low or lonely can make things worse by pushing away from friends and family. Mobility issues can also lead people to isolate themselves at home and struggle to socialize. If you find yourself staying indoors or losing interest in your favorite activities, it might be time to speak to the family about your concerns or book in with your GP.
According to a report from the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine, nearly a quarter of over 65s in the US feel socially isolated. This isolation can often increase the risk of other chronic issues such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and high blood pressure. Assisted living properties offer a community for seniors and encourage them to socialize and take part in activities or events with other residents. Keeping social can prolong cognitive help, which in turn can help seniors maintain their independence for longer.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs in yourself, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of help you might want in the future. Alternatively, if you’re concerned about a relative, start the conversation about long-term care today, so there’s plenty of time to smooth out all the details before a crisis occurs.