Most families enjoy a very strong and loving bond, which means that everyone is committed to looking after each other in difficult times. It is precisely this close connection that can make it so difficult having “that conversation” about placing your loved one in assisted living.
Here is a look at what signs tell you that the time is right to act on getting help with care and what to look for when choosing a facility.
Spotting the telltale signs
At least 15 million caring American citizens are devoting some or all of their time and energy towards caring for a loved one, but there definitely comes a point when that takes its toll and you are unable to cope with their current needs.
A behavior known as sundowning is a classic symptom displayed by someone with Alzheimer’s. It is called this because it is often late in the day when your loved one might suddenly become noticeably more agitated and difficult to handle.
Aggression is unfortunately all too common with dementia, and this is particularly difficult to contend with for caregivers who have an emotional attachment to the person and are not used to seeing them behave in this way.
Safety and stress
Safety should always be a key consideration and if you find yourself questioning the safety of your loved one on a more frequent basis, this could also be an indication that it is time to act.
You need to be honest with yourself about the situation and take stock of the situation. If you are having concerns about your loved one’s ability to stay safe in their own home without some level of supervision, this needs to be addressed before something regrettable happens.
Another classic symptom, is related to the caregiver rather than the patient. Trying to care for a loved one can take a heavy toll on your physical and mental well being, so if you are suffering from increasing levels of stress trying to cope with caring, that is also a warning flag that you definitely need to consider the option of assisted living.
Touring an assisted living facility
Use your eyes, ears and nose to guide you, as you walk around the facility that you are thinking of arranging your loved one to live in.
Take time to observe the level of cleanliness that is being achieved and also use your nose to gauge the freshness of the living space. It might seem strange to do this, but a persistent odor, could very well be an indication of a problem, that may not be temporary.
Observe how friendly the staff are and try to visit when there are activities going on, so that you can see how relaxed and happy the residents and staff are when they are all together.
It is never easy deciding to arrange a new chapter in your loved one’s life, but there comes a point when it may well be necessary to make that difficult decision.
Jane Stephenson is the sole-carer for her aging parents and knows how difficult it can be when deciding what to do for the best. She shares her thoughts and views online, hoping to give others in similar situations hope and help.