No matter how much you love and adore your parent, and no matter how much you want to care for them yourself for as long as possible, there are some signs that you need to watch for to determine when additional care or a move to a senior living facility may be in your and your family’s best interest.
- Unexplained bruises or abrasions–As people age, they sometimes experience a loss of balance or loss of muscle mass. If your aging parent is covering up bruises or cuts, or if they can’t remember how they got a bruise or cut, this could be a sign they need a little extra help.
- More frequent slips or falls–Balance issues with aging parents mean a possibility of not only more slips or falls, but the chances increase that these types of injuries can be debilitating or even fatal. Poor eyesight and equally poor balance are a sign that maybe Mom or Dad need to be moved to a senior care facility.
- Changes in hygiene–If your parent was always fastidious in their hygiene and appearance and you notice they suddenly are not, this is a sign that you may need to get them to a doctor. This may also be a sign that they need a senior care facility.
- Wandering–This is often associated with late stages of dementia, but caregivers need to be mindful that, sometimes, even if they try to go to the bathroom or prepare a meal in the kitchen, an elderly loved one may try to wander off.
- Difficulty driving–This is especially true if your aging parent has insisted upon their independence and has refused to give up their license or their car keys.
- Major health issues–Unless you work in the healthcare field, most major health issues are best handled by a certified staff, which is available at a senior living facility.
- Trouble with medication–If your aging parent insists on keeping their independence but they are missing doctors’ appointments, over-medicating themselves, forgetting to take medication, or forgetting which medication is for which ailment, then it may be time to move to a senior care facility.
- Sundowning–This occurs with dementia or Alzheimer’s patients in which they become frequently agitated or violent later in the day.
- Often wearing the same clothes or not changing clothes for days at a time
- Aggression–If your mild-mannered parent is suddenly very violent or constantly angry, this may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Early signs of dementia often come with aggressive or violent behaviors.
- Early dementia–As of this writing, there is no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The best place for aging parents who suffer from this condition is in a senior living facility.
- Escalating care needs–If your aging parent has such poor health they can no longer properly care for themselves and you, as a caregiver, can no longer care for them, then a move to a senior care facility may be in everyone’s best interest.
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss–Mom may insist that she’s eating, but spoiled food in the fridge or pantry may prove otherwise.
- Limited mobility–If your parent is having trouble moving up or down stairs, or if falls are becoming more frequent, then you might want to consider a full-time care facility.
- Complaints of unexplained noises–It is common for older people to ‘hear’ noises that do not really exist.
- Complaints of constant pain–Aches and pains are a part of ageing but when these aches and pains become unbearable, it can get difficult to manage the pain at home.
- Visual or aural hallucinations
- Misnaming people they see daily or misplacing everyday items they use every day–This is generally attributed to the forgetfulness that comes with ageing but in extreme cases it can lead to other problems such as trusting the wrong person.
Sometimes, caring for an aging parent at home can be detrimental to them and to you. If you spot some of the signs listed above, you know that your parent needs more help than what you can provide. In this case, the best option may be a senior assisted living facility where they will receive the level of care they need from professionals.