During the holiday season, many families spend extended time together – often gathering at a parents’ home to celebrate. It’s a time of families coming together, experiencing joy and celebration, but it's also during this season that it is common to notice changes taking place with your parents. Maybe the house is not as clean as it used to be, or the refrigerator is full of expired food. These are just a couple of signs that it may be time to explore senior living options with your loved one, such as assisted living.
While you may be surprised or even angry with yourself for not realizing that they needed help, please understand that admitting a loved one needs help is not easy for any of us as we see our parents aging. It is often perceived as a loss of independence and is a difficult decision, even though it is a natural part of getting older. Many seniors when questioned will try to reassure you “I’m fine”, even when it is evident that they are not.
So, the burden of knowing the right time for senior care falls onto you or other family members. Thankfully, nursing homes are not the only senior living options anymore. There are many other choices such as independent living, assisted living and even memory care options based on the level of care needed.
When visiting your loved one’s home for the holidays, watch for signs that it is time to discuss senior living options. Some signs to look for are:
- Excessive unclean laundry
- Stacks of mail and unpaid bills
- Spoiled food in the refrigerator or around the house
- Lack of fresh or edible food
- Unexplained damage to the vehicle
- Signs of animal defecation in the house
- Strong smell of urine
- An unpleasant body odor
- Noticeable lack of hygiene
- Increasing forgetfulness
- Drastic changes in mood
- Visible weight loss or gain
- Signs of incorrect medication dosage or missed medication
- Reluctance to leave the house
- Difficulty with walking or sitting down
If you notice multiple signs during your holiday visit, it is probably time to consider getting help for your parents. Evaluate and discuss your parents' situation with your family and decide what senior care option meets their needs, whether it be a nursing home, memory care, assisted living or independent living. Make sure to include your loved one in the discussions and talk with them as soon as possible. Discuss your observations and the positive outcomes of looking for a suitable solution. When talking to your loved one make sure they understand that their wants, needs, and safety are the top priorities.