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Talking to Mom about assisted living

Are you wondering if your aging loved one is safe and happy at home? Many adult children and family members wonder if Mom needs assisted living, but most aren’t quite sure what to look for in order to make the best decision. Unfortunately, waiting too long to make the move to assisted living can result in emergencies or health crises at home. These unplanned hospital visits can lead to more complications, including a stop at skilled nursing for rehabilitation to build strength.

Assisted living offers a safe and social retirement for older adults. With compassionate and friendly caregivers only steps away, family members also receive the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their loved one is well cared for.

If you are curious about whether Mom needs assisted living, here are a few markers that could indicate the answer is yes. Remember, all seniors are unique and have their own challenges. However, this list could help point you in the right direction as you advocate for your loved one’s health and happiness.

Mom Has Fallen in the Past Year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 4 older adults fall at home each year. This number is staggering, especially when you consider that most senior falls actually go unreported to family members or medical professionals. Unfortunately, falling at home can lead to fractured bones, emergency room visits, and other complications.
If your loved one has fallen at home at least once in the past year, assisted living could offer welcome relief. In assisted living communities, apartments are spacious and accessible, making moving around less dangerous than at home. Caregivers are also readily available to implement fall prevention interventions and offer a helping hand when needed.

Mom Has Lost Weight

Nutrition is a crucial component of wellness, and many older adults who live at home alone or with a partner are simply too overwhelmed to plan and prepare three healthy meals per day. This can lead to choosing more processed foods, which are high in sodium and not the best option for older adults with heart issues. Some seniors at home may also end up not eating as much, leading to weight loss and malnutrition.

Assisted living communities eliminate the worry about meal preparation three times per day by serving chef-prepared meals in a social dining room setting every day. Meals are delicious and nutritious, ensuring residents get the fuel they need to stay healthy.

Mom Says She Is Lonely

Perhaps one of the most common complications of living at home alone or with a partner is the feelings of loneliness because of social isolation. Seniors living at home can feel lonely for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because of fewer family visits resulting from professional obligations, or fewer book club meetups with friends because of transportation issues. In any case, isolation and perceived loneliness can lead to increased anxiety and depression in older adults as well as decreased immune system response and other serious health complications.

Assisted living communities are the ideal solution for seniors who are craving connection with friends and peers. These thriving and bustling communities offer multiple activities and events to enjoy each day, along with friendly neighbors down the hall or at the dining room table.

Mom Is Confused

If your loved one has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, long-term care planning is even more important. Confusion, wandering, anxiety, and poor judgment are just a few symptoms of dementia that can make daily life at home more dangerous. Though your loved one may be able to successfully live at home with additional support in the early stages of the disease, senior living communities offer additional care and positive interventions to keep them safe, healthy, and comfortable in the future.

Assisted living communities, like Arbor Terrace Shrewsbury, offer specialized dementia care neighborhoods. Our Evergreen neighborhood was designed especially for seniors living with dementia, offering a calm environment and caregivers who are trained extensively in how to care for residents who are living with the disease.

If you are ready to begin exploring senior living options with your loved one, download our free guide, “Finding a Safe and Comfortable Senior Living Community.”

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Meghan Windrem

About the Author: Meghan Windrem

A licensed Nursing Home Administrator with experience working with hospice and dementia care residents, she has led assisted living facilities since 2011. While working at a local long-term care facility as a social worker, she obtained her master’s degree in social work and her Nursing Home Administrator license. She resides in her hometown, Jackson, N.J., with her husband and two sons.