When to Start the Search for Senior Care

assisted living for seniorsTen signs that mean it’s time to look into assisted living for seniors.*

The vast majority of those looking into assisted living for seniors do so in a crisis situation, brought on by a sudden change in health, housing, finances or family circumstances.* Many of these last-minute placement issues could be avoided if loved ones kept an eye out for these ten signs and started the search for senior care early. Start looking for these signs in your aging loved ones now, and you will have plenty of time to find the senior care option that’s right for them.

Signs That It’s Time to Look Into Assisted Living for Seniors

1. Decrease in Attention to Personal Care
Unbrushed hair, dirty clothes, odor and a lack of personal grooming are all signs that your loved one may require some help in the bathroom or around the house. As people age, these everyday tasks can become tedious and difficult due to loss of motor control, arthritis, pain or cognitive impairment.

2. Less Care Shown in Housekeeping
Take a look around your loved one’s living area. If there are sticky counters, un-emptied garbages, stained carpets or spoiled food, she may need help keeping up on household chores. Facilities that offer assisted living for seniors provide housekeeping and laundry services to residents.

3. Dangerous Driving
Do you hesitate to let your loved one drive himself or others? Are there unexplained dents or scratches on his car, or an increasing record of accidents or tickets? Loss of vision, cognitive impairment and diminished motor capabilities can all contribute to these signs.

4. Loss of Mobility
Trouble walking up or down stairs, rising from chairs and entering and exiting vehicles are all signs of diminished mobility. When aging individuals lose mobility, it is time to start looking into assisted living for seniors or other senior assistance.

5. Decreased Appetite or Interest in Food and Cooking
Some people never care much about food or cooking, but if your loved one starts skipping meals, grocery shopping or cooking too little to maintain general health, moving her to an assisted living facility will ensure three meals a day, and assistance with eating.

6. Lack of Care in Medication Management
Expired medicine bottles, unfilled prescriptions, or abnormally high pharmacy costs could signal an inability to manage medications properly. Proper medication is essential for many seniors who have medical conditions requiring treatment. Search for senior care today to find help for your loved one.

7. Reduced Attention Toward Finances
Bills piled on the counter, calls from creditors, or abnormally large donation receipts could indicate that your loved one is losing control over his finances. We don’t need to tell you how important it is to keep a good handle on finances, especially with the limited funds many seniors have. Talk to your loved one about their spending, or look for an organization that can help him, such as assisted living for seniors.

8. Memory Loss
Some seniors stay as sharp as a tack until the end of their lives. Others start to suffer from cognitive impairment as they age. Unexplained phone calls and loss of short-term memory are both signs that your loved one may be suffering. If this is the case, include memory care in your search for senior care facilities.

9. Diminished Communication Skills
Does your loved one have increased difficulty when following directions? Does she often have to stop and search for words when speaking? These signs are easy to overlook because we don’t want to see our loved ones lose the sharpness they once had. Being honest with yourself about their struggles will help you get them the help they need.

10. Depression
Depression affects people of all ages. Moodiness, anxiety, insomnia and loss of interest in things people once loved are all signs of depression. Try to stay in tune with your loved one’s interests so you’ll know if these symptoms show up. No one likes to suffer from depression, and the sooner it’s diagnosed, the sooner they can get help.

When It’s Time to Look Into Assisted Living for Seniors

While these ten signs can indicate a senior’s readiness for assisted living, there is no hard and fast rule to follow. The most important thing is for you to know your loved one well, and take part in his life so you’ll be aware if anything gets amiss. You should always take noticeable changes in health, self-care, safety or cognitive ability seriously. Speak to a physician or geriatric care manager if you have concerns.

Start Your Search for Senior Care

When you start to see these signs, take the time to begin researching senior care options in your area. It’s never too early to get educated and start planning this important move. We make the search for senior care easy by providing free consultations with experienced elder care advisors. Simply call the toll-free number at the top of this page and an elder care advisor will be on the other line to help you determine what’s best for your loved one.

The Eldercare Handbook, by Stella Mora Henry, RN, 2006
Eckert and Associates, 2009