Home is where we feel secure, comfortable and cared for, a special place that holds lifelong memories and traditions. However, as we age, there may come a time when our house is no longer the safest option.
For some, this change can happen suddenly due to illness or injury. But for others, the signs that living at home is no longer safe are subtle and can easily go unnoticed. The National Council on Aging reports that approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, while many have more than one. It can become stressful to manage one’s own health conditions, as well as keep up with the tasks of daily living and maintaining a house or apartment.
Those caring for an aging loved one can also become overwhelmed. Caregivers spend between 24 to 40 hours of their time per week addressing their loved ones needs (Source). For some seniors, making safety and accessibility improvements within the home may be enough to help them remain independent. In other situations it may be time to consider an adult home or assisted living community.
Here are a few key signs that may indicate extra care is needed.
Changes in appearance
“The most common initial sign that someone needs to be in a more supervised setting is often their appearance, they don’t look like themselves,” says Patricia Schoch, regional registered nurse for Elderwood, a leading provider of assisted living facilities for seniors. “That’s one of the signs that families don’t often think to look for,” she adds. Pay attention to things like hygiene, clean clothes and even dressing appropriately for the weather.
Their home is not well kept
For many aging seniors, taking care of a house or apartment simply becomes too challenging.. Unusual messiness or dirtiness can be a warning sign that your loved one needs help. Also, be sure to check the refrigerator and pantry for spoiled or expired foods. Finding spoiled food can be a cause for concern, especially given the health implications if the expired or contaminated food is consumed.
Medications are being missed
Medications not being taken as prescribed is an important sign that extra help is needed to stay healthy and safe. You may wish to periodically count medications to make sure they are being taken properly. When it comes to medication management, you’ll also want to verify that prescriptions are being refilled as needed.
These are just a few of the signs that your loved one may no longer be safe living in their home. More obvious signs include wandering, letting bills go unpaid and immediate concerns such as unexplained bruises or injuries.
Those struggling to keep up with daily tasks may find a more fulfilling life at an assisted living community where they can benefit from regular social interactions and help with routine activities and closer medical supervision. An assisted living community like Elderwood can completely tailor the level of care to each individual’s needs. For some seniors, just having their meals prepared daily and their medications managed allows them to relax and enjoy their daily life. Others may require bathing and dressing assistance regularly.
As hard as this decision can be, it’s best to prepare for the future and learn about care options that are available.
Looking to explore your options further? Click here to find out more about the services available through assisted living.