It’s natural for anyone to slow down with age. Some older individuals need a little extra assistance via assisted living as the years go by. Yet many elderly people struggle to admit that they need help. Indeed, some are very resistant to the idea, and will immediately dismiss the notion of help. This resistance often comes from a perceived fear that they would lose control of their lives.
As their caring loved one, it can be hard to know when it’s time to seek assistance for your parent or loved one. There is no one size fits all answer to determining just what level of care is right for them. Taking the time to recognize when more advanced assistance is needed will go a long way toward making the inevitable conversation a more comfortable one.
1) Unexpected Accidents Start To Occur
The occasional, stubbed toe or spilled glass of water can happen to anyone regardless of age. However, more serious accidents, such as suffering a hard fall, a bad cut, a dangerous burn, or a broken bone from a household accident should be taken as a red flag.
Yes, it is possible, that a one-off incident did occur. Your loved one might even play it down as a casual mishap or try to change the subject. Still, you should take note of these instances.. Loss of balance and coordination are natural parts of the aging process. It’s when unexpected accidents start occurring or a series of minor accidents happen frequently, that your loved one may need outside help.
Some seniors will be resistant to things like a personal care assistant or making the transition to an assisted living community. If they outright refuse to consider these options, you might want to suggest a home emergency alert system. This can allow them to still be in control of their living situation while giving you the peace of mind that should something happen, they can get timely emergency care.
2) Struggling To Keep Up With Basic Daily Tasks
It’s one thing to forget to put a stamp on the water bill. It’s when your loved one starts struggling to manage daily tasks like paying bills or consistently maintaining a clean home that, they may need some extra help.
The level of care they need can vary. Some seniors will be resistant to the idea of transitioning to an assisted living community. In a situation like this, you can propose/ introduce the idea of a personal care assistant coming in to “visit” once a week.
You could try to pitch the idea as something that takes the tedious work off their plate to free up time for them to do more of the things they enjoy. If paying bills in a timely manner has been an issue you could work with them to set up autopay features through their bank or a utility provider.
3) Struggling To Keep Up Their Personal Hygiene
Forgetting to put on deodorant, floss their teeth, or do some other minor tasks might not be an immediate warning sign.. It’s when personal hygiene issues develop into a consistently bad habit that you might start to become concerned
This can also extend to things like struggling to cook for themselves. Many seniors who are struggling to keep up with household tasks will turn to convenience foods or eating things like candy to get the calories they need. In the long run, they start to develop health problems related to poor nutrition
In a situation like this, it’s important to frame the conversation about their quality of life. Bringing in a personal care assistant or transitioning to an assisted living community might be just the thing they need to create a healthier lifestyle .
However, some seniors will be resistant to this idea, and might even reject it out of hand. Should this be the case, you might need to stop over from time to time to help straighten things up. Sometimes reducing the number of household chores they are responsible for can help allow them to take on other matters like personal hygiene.
If you are concerned about their diet, some areas do offer meal services that specifically deliver healthy meals to seniors.
4) Aggressive Behavior, Frustration, And Irritability
When seniors start having a difficult time managing their daily needs, it can be understandably frustrating. For some, it can cause them to be short-tempered when things don’t go as expected.
At the same time, some forms of dementia can also lead to sleep problems, which increases irritability. In a situation like this, it can often help to consult with an outside specialist to see if there are ways you can help improve their overall quality of life.
5) Seeking Isolation
When an individual starts to suffer from quality of life issues, their natural inclination is to become more introverted. Some even start to embrace isolation. This can be a disturbing thing to see in a loved one who previously had been very open and perhaps even extroverted.
Visiting them more frequently might help encourage them to engage socially. If they have an old friend or family member who already lives in an assisted living community, you might want to offer to drive them for a visit. Just make sure to frame the idea as visiting a friend, and not just a tour. The more they feel pressured the more likely your loved one is to resist.
Tips For Having A Conversation About Seeking Assistance
It can be understandably hard to have a conversation with your loved one about seeking assistance or possibly transitioning to an assisted living community. This is the kind of talk that you certainly need to be prepared for, especially if your loved one is resistant to the idea.
Many seniors are resistant to the idea of making the transition to assisted living. It’s human nature to resist change. Sometimes giving them a little extra time and space to think it over helps them come to their own conclusion on when they are ready to make the change.