There are many ways a family may arrive at a decision to seek assisted care for their loved one. Sometimes it happens when the person starts to struggle with everyday tasks. Other times, the family realizes that even having a caregiver is not enough, and their loved one would be more comfortable in a dedicated facility. But no matter how and where this happens, there is usually that one moment when you realize that your loved one needs specialized care. Here are some tell-tale signs from our Maryland assisted living care providers.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
If your loved one has been diagnosed or shows signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it may be best for them to get specialized care in an assisted living home. These conditions come with many dangerous symptoms, but one you especially have to worry about is wandering. Dementia patients tend to wander off and get lost, not remembering how to get home. This means they need round-the-clock care and attention, which an in-home caregiver is not always able to provide.
Spurts of Aggression
It may be stereotypical to refer to old people as a “grumpy old man” or woman, but there is a bit of truth in this stereotype. It can be difficult to always be pleasant and nice if you are in pain, bored or uncomfortable. There are also some medical conditions and nutritional and hormonal imbalances in old age that may lead to grumpiness and even outright hostility. If you start feeling like your relationship with your loved one is crumbling away due to the constant fights and resentment, maybe it’s time to let someone else care for them.
Bumps and Bruises
It’s one thing to slip in the shower when you are 20, but when you are 50+ slipping alone can pull your muscles and make you hurt for weeks! Healing takes longer as we get older, and some injuries tend to linger forever. If you notice that your loved one has slow-healing bruises or is complaining about steep stairs, it’s time to reconsider the safety of their home. It’s possible to minimize risks around the house with solutions like stair lifts, door widening, raised toilet seats, grab bars, etc. However, there is only so much you can do before resorting to a full home renovation. Why not move into a facility already equipped with everything your loved one needs?
Weight Gain or Weight Loss
Did you notice something different when you hugged your loved one during a recent visit? Do they feel thinner and more frail? Or maybe they are packing a few extra pounds that weren’t there before? Both of these changes could be signs of trouble. Weight loss may indicate that your loved one has trouble cooking for themselves, forgets to eat or has lost appetite. Weight gain, on the other hand, could be a sign of decreased mobility, depression or a side effect from a new medication. In either case, it’s a good idea to take your loved one to their primary care physician and attempt to determine the root cause of these changes. If it turns out all they need is a bit extra help and more supervision, then an assisted living facility could be the perfect solution.
Lack of Companionship
Everyone gets lonely every once in a while, but in the old age loneliness can quickly grow into sadness and depression. Your loved one may not openly admit that they are lonely or depressed, so you’ll need to look for clues. Ask them about their day to find out how they spend time. Try to find out what interests them and whether they feel excited about anything. Check their appearance to see if they’ve been keeping up with their hygiene, still bother to put on makeup or shave, or are dressed according to their style. Any drastic changes in appearance and/or personality may point to psychological issues, loneliness or depression. Assisted living facilities offer companionship of peers and constant attention of caregivers, which may be exactly what your loved one is missing out on.
If you are still not sure whether assisted living care is right for your loved one, schedule a visit to one of our 4 assisted living facilities in Maryland. We often find that many people have misconceptions about what assisted living care includes, so it’s best to see it for yourself!