To ensure that Mom and Dad are safe and well, look for these signs to help you take the emotion out of the decision to recommend assisted living or memory care. Focus on ten objective measures:
- Driving. Don’t ignore near misses, fender benders, new dents or nicks. Request a ride to assess your loved one’s current driving skills.
- Appearance. Poor grooming or hygiene, like unwashed or uncombed hair and stained clothing, might mean a little assistance is needed.
- Activities. Watch for loss of interest in favorite pastimes. Giving up things that were once important may be a red flag.
- Moods. Frequent bouts of irritability, moodiness, depression or fatigue are always symptoms worth discussing.
- Mobility. To avoid the risk of falls and fractures, watch to see if your loved one is more unsteady when walking, has recently fallen or now has difficulty with stairs.
- Medications. Be on the lookout for empty or expired medicine bottles, unfilled prescriptions or confusion about proper dosage and medication times.
- Maintenance. Sloppy housekeeping or a neglected yard may reveal that your loved one isn’t faring as well at home alone anymore.
- Food. Check the fridge and cupboards. Look for food that’s old or spoiled—from past due expiration dates to moldy leftovers and sour milk.
- Finances. When unopened mail, unpaid bills and overdue notices stack up, it may raise concerns about how financial matters are being managed.
- Forgetfulness. It’s not just a natural part of aging when parents forget important appointments, repeat things constantly or frequently lose their sense of direction.
It’s often what aging loved ones need.
They just may not know it yet.
Even when the signs confirm it’s no longer safe for an aging loved one to live alone, Mom and Dad may simply cherish their freedom. It’s difficult to suggest they leave the home they love.
Check back next month for a companion article: How to Begin the Talk When it’s Time for Assisted Living or Memory Care.
Want to learn more? For details about how assistance with daily living at Clarendale of St. Peters maximizes our residents’ sense of independence, click Assisted Living or Memory Care or simply Contact Us to schedule a visit.