It’s a decision no one looks forward to. We all imagine being self sufficient and living independently far into our senior years. So when do you make the transition from complete independence to assisted living? There is no distinct age or ability that determines this. Everyone must be assessed individually. Sometimes it is the senior that makes the decision for him/herself and other times, the decision falls on family. There are some signs that can be easy to recognize and may suggest there is a need for assistance.
With age comes more medical issues that require medication. It is not unusual to have several prescriptions with varying doses and schedules. Do you find that it has become increasingly difficult to manage this aspect of aging? Even with the pillboxes, are you forgetting or having trouble keeping up with refills? Do loved ones find pills that dropped onto the floor unnoticed when you take several prescriptions at once? Missing a dose can greatly affect your health, so get assistance if you have trouble managing it alone.
Driving can be a very difficult aspect of independence to relinquish. Once again, age is not always the defining factor. If you are still deemed a safe driver by friends and family, that is great, but don’t let pride keep you on the road when those around you notice you have become hazardous. Giving up driving may not mean you lose all your independence. You may be able to take advantage of public transportation or have a friend that can drive for you. If not, you need assistance.
This is pretty cut and dry. Falling can change one’s level of independence drastically. Depending on the nature of the fall and severity of injury, some will recover and be able to maintain an independent lifestyle. More often, falling is a definite sign of needed assistance. Everyday tasks can quickly become life altering or life threatening with a fall.
Are you able to shop for groceries and prepare adequate meals? Proper nutrition is vital to longevity. Look for changes in the pantry such as signs of restocking or using up groceries. Watch for weight loss. Sometimes medications can alter appetite, so make sure you are supplementing with nutritional vitamin drinks. When nutrition begins to suffer, it is time for some assistance.
Can you handle bathing safely? Are you able to wash your clothes, dry, and put away clean clothes? Is dressing becoming too cumbersome or hazardous? Friends and family may notice you wearing the same clothes each visit or that you are not as well groomed as you used to be. Everyone has a hectic period, but when this is consistently a challenge, it is time to seek assistance.
6. Maintenance (house, yard, bills, mail)
The house needs repairs and maintenance. The lawn needs mowing and hedges trimmed. You don’t have to be able to complete these tasks, but you should be able to manage hiring workers to complete them. When this is overlooked along with bills and mail, it is time for assistance.
Finally, many overlook loneliness as a need for assisted living. Health can decline quickly without a social network for entertainment, support, and friendship. Each person requires a different level of social needs. Some feel companionship with a pet while others need activities and events to look forward to. Sitting alone day in and day out is not healthy physically or emotionally. Assisted living can be a positive solution to this very real need.
As difficult as the decision can be to make, consider the alternative. There are varying levels of assisted living available to meet the varying needs of individuals. Keep an open mind, and be willing to listen to family and friends. Making the transition to assisted living could end up being the key to many happy senior years ahead!
We have taken the one-size-fits-all model for senior living communities, crumpled it, and tossed it out the window. We believe in making our communities a place where you begin living. Our fresh, purposely built communities are designed and created by seniors, for seniors, Avanti sets itself apart from the rest.