Does My Loved One Need Senior Care? Top Signs It May Be Time
One of the hardest things about caring for an elderly loved one is knowing when to broach the subject of senior living. If they’re starting to show signs of decline in their physical or mental abilities, it can be hard to tell whether it’s a normal part of aging or a sign that they need help. A senior living community could be the best choice for everyone involved—but how do you know when it’s time?
At CarePatrol, our Certified Senior Advisors speak with families navigating this decision every day. Each of our advisors is trained to assess a person’s care needs and make recommendations based on their unique situation. To make taking that first step easier, we’re here to share some of the top signs that it’s time to start thinking about senior living options.
At What Age Do Most People Need Assisted Living?
Most assisted living communities have age minimums of 60–65, with the average person moving in between the age of 75 and 84. However, everyone is different—aging is a unique journey for every individual. In fact, many people are choosing options like independent living communities before they require a significant level of care. That way, as new needs arise, they are better equipped to make the transition to assisted living smoothly.
Signs It Might Be Time For Assisted Living or Another Senior Living Option
Mobility and Safety
Household activity disabilities are the number one most common disability affecting older adults. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, 41% of adults between 65–79 and 71% of adults over 80 have at least one mobility-related disability. Mobility disabilities affect how people move through the world and accomplish everyday tasks: walking, getting in and out of bed, household chores, driving, and beyond.
Signs that your loved one may have a mobility impairment include:
- Unexplained bruising
- Trouble getting up from a seated position
- Difficulty with walking and balance
- Unexplained dents and scratches on their car
- Dirty house, extreme clutter, and dirty laundry piling up
Hygiene and Personal Care
Mobility issues can also affect a person’s ability to take care of their personal hygiene. They may be physically unable to accomplish some of the self-care tasks they used to. They may fear slipping and falling in the tub or shower. Or, a mental health barrier such as depression or dementia could make their normal routine more challenging.
Whatever the reason, declining hygiene is a warning sign that a person may need additional care. Take note of issues such as:
- Unpleasant body odor
- Infrequent showering and bathing
- Strong smell of urine in the house
- Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
- Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
Lifestyle or Household Changes
Activities of daily living (ADLs) include a wide array of tasks and obligations. From keeping up with the finances to preparing meals to simply indulging in hobbies, everyday life is busy! As older people face more challenges with mobility and cognition, household upkeep can fall by the wayside.
These signs can be more subtle, which makes them all the more important to be aware of:
- Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
- Unpaid bills or unanswered time-sensitive correspondence
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
- Poor diet or weight loss
Signs of Dementia
A little forgetfulness is normal for busy adults juggling the demands of family, work, and hobbies. But when memory loss gets in the way of daily life, it’s important not to brush it off. Occasionally forgetting things, then remembering them later, is a typical age-related change. But frequently forgetting important dates, names, or events or having trouble with planning and problem-solving could be signs of dementia.
Other signs to watch for include:
- Missing important appointments or losing track of time
- New changes in speaking or writing ability
- Forgetting to take medications or taking more than the prescribed dosage
- Diagnosis of dementia such as early-onset Alzheimer’s
- Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
When It’s Time to Start the Conversation
When it comes to senior care, being proactive is key. The earlier you start researching your options, talking about your loved one’s preferences, and taking note of changes, the easier it will be for you and your loved one to make the best decision when the time comes.
If you’ve noticed 5 to 8 of the signs listed above, it’s likely time to start easing into the senior care conversation. If you’ve noticed 10 or more signs, we recommend making concrete care plans sooner rather than later. In either case, a Senior Care Advisor can help you navigate your options. It’s never too early to get help exploring the senior living landscape!
Talk to a Senior Care Advisor
Whether you’re in the research phase or are in immediate need of a senior care option, CarePatrol is on your side and ready to help. We won’t just hand you a long list of senior living communities and leave you on your own. We’ll be your partner throughout every step: helping you understand what level of care your loved one needs, curating a list of recommended solutions, scheduling visits to communities of interest, and accompanying you on tours.
We even provide moving day support and check-ins once your loved one is settled to ensure that they are continually getting the care they need. Best of all, we provide our services at no cost to you!
CarePatrol: Helping Families Throughout the US Find Their Perfect Senior Care Solution
Are you still unsure whether a senior living community is right for your loved one? Your local senior care advisor is ready to assist. There are over 150 CarePatrol locations throughout the US, each with unmatched local knowledge of senior care solutions in their area. Get personalized assistance when and where you need it with CarePatrol!