Elderly woman sitting in the garden with home health care nurse an using blood pressure.

6 Signs it’s Time to Consider Assisted Living for Mom

Assisted Living

When mom’s decline in health demands more attention than you can give, an assisted living community becomes a practical solution. Assisted living offers specific safeguards to ease your fears for mom’s safety and well-being. Safeguards include health monitoring and physical support for mom’s changing independence. Unfortunately, by the time many adult children recognize a need to seek professional care, their aging loved ones would have encountered a series of ill-fated events.

Warning Signs of Mom’s Declining Independence

In this first part series on senior care options for aging parents, we focus on warning signs that lead to family talks on how to get the best care available for aging loved ones. Statistics from assisted living associations show that the typical resident of assisted living communities are elderly, widowed women over 85 years-of-age.

Early detection of mom’s declining health can prevent major injuries from occurring in the home. Below we highlight common health concerns that create the need for supervised senior care:

  1. Mom’s Increasing Home Accidents and Incidents

Fall accidents in the home are the leading cause of deaths of aging seniors. Falling is also a common cause of traumatic brain injuries for aging senior parents. Mom’s fall injuries are warning signs of:

  • A worsening mobility problem
  • Disorientation (sometimes due to poor medication management)
  • Balancing and coordination problem
  • Weakening of limbs and joints

 

  1. Change in Mom’s Mental Health

As mom advances in age, memory loss can become a nagging problem. This decline in cognitive function is linked to early dementia and may include:

  • Forgetting common words when speaking
  • Asking the same question repeatedly
  • Difficulty following familiar driving routes or completing routine tasks
  • Misplacing items in strange, unsuitable places
  • Noticeable neglect of appearance or surroundings

 

  1. Change in Mom’s Eating Habits

Mom’s noticeable weight loss may suggest an irregular eating pattern such as skipping of main meals per day. An investigation should determine the source of mom’s drastic weight loss. Asking questions may also reveal a struggle for mom to shop alone or prepare meals.  Mom’s lack of interest in food may indicate:

  • Bouts of depression
  • Digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • Neurological conditions
  • Colon cancers or other signs of deteriorating health

 

  1. Mom’s Worsening Driving Abilities

Over time, mom’s driving skills will decline as her health also declines. Driving proficiencies such as quick reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and good judgment become impaired when stiff joints, poor vision, or dementia affect loved ones at the wheel. Take a ride with mom to assess her driving skills. Look for signs that indicate a problem such as:

  • Drifting from her lane
  • Driving under the speed limit
  • Frequent traffic tickets
  • Driving accidents: dents or scratches on the car

 

  1. Mom’s Neglect of Appearance

Mom’s lack of attention to her hair, skin, and dress are obvious signs of trouble. Reduced interest in grooming and personal hygiene are often mental health problems that include:

  • Depression
  • Grief state
  • Loneliness

Your aging loved one may also withdraw from socializing with friends or ignore hobbies she once enjoyed.

  1. Mom’s Delinquent Management of Home Finances

Mom’s poor management of simple household finances can lead to unpaid bills and loss of property. More importantly, these are early signs of cognitive impairment. Observe mom for clues of a problem such as:

  • Pile up of bills
  • Overdrawn bank accounts
  • Final notices documentation
  • “Thank you” correspondences from multiple charitable organizations

Elderly parents with difficulties performing activities of daily living (ADLs) need more help in the home from families. When this is not feasible for families, an assisted living option can remedy this problem. This type of senior living arrangement can give mom the support she needs to manager her health and independence.

 

 

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