There’s really no way to know for certain, and the decision should be based on practical matters as well as what’s in your heart. Here are eight signs that the time for transitioning to assisted living may be drawing near.
Letting things go around the house. For example, lots of clutter, piles of laundry, spoiled food, dying plants, dirty dishes that appear to have been sitting for a long time, overflowing trash, and neglecting pet care tasks such as emptying the cat’s litter box.
Neglecting personal care. This can range from appearing disheveled and unkempt to signs of not bathing. Are you noticing that their clothes are dirty or they’re wearing the same thing all the time?
Changes in personality. As people age they tend to slow down, but if someone is withdrawing from friends and social activities or giving up hobbies, it could be more serious. Do you sense they feel isolated, lonely, or depressed? Do they rarely leave the house? Do they lack interest in things they used to enjoy?
Safety issues such as worsening mobility, increasing number of falls and accidents, inability to properly manage medications, difficult getting up from a seated position, forgetting to turn off the oven or stove, struggling with going up and down stairs.
Changes in eating habits. Skipping meals and be a sign that they’re struggling with shopping or preparing meals. Look around the kitchen; do you find stale, expired, or spoiled foods, or multiples of items (for example, more cereal or juice than they can use in a lifetime)? Are they losing weight (lack of interest in food, perhaps) or gaining weight (forgetting they ate and eating again)?
Overall cognitive decline. For example, lack of sound judgment, difficulty following directions, increased confusion, or requiring lots of prompts and reminders. Also, rely on neighbors and pay attention when they report observing unusual behaviors.
Driving issues. Traffic tickets, unexplained dents or scratches on the car, tailgating, drifting out of their lane, or driving the under speed limit can all be signs.
Wrestling with finances. Watch for bills piling up, overdrawn bank accounts, final notices or calls from creditors, evidence they may have fallen victim to a scam, large volume of receipts or thank you letters from charitable organizations, or bills that have been paid multiple times.