Some families may struggle with the decision to transition a parent to senior assisted living, but there may come a time when it’s no longer safe for a senior loved one to live on their own. As you call or visit, pay attention to signs that your aging relative may need help.
A decline in cognition — the ability to think clearly, learn new skills, and remember — may lead to unsafe and sometimes life-threatening behaviors. When visiting a parent, look for signs of cognitive impairment:
- Do they seem more forgetful or confused?
- Have you noticed mood swings or changes?
- Do they often lose their train of thought during conversations?
- Are they getting lost in familiar places?
- Do they seem more anxious or irritable?
- Do they lack energy or motivation?
- Are they depressed?
You may also notice changes in your loved one’s appearance and hygiene that indicate it may be time to talk about a different living arrangement. For example, you may notice your parent has unintentionally lost weight quickly. Sudden weight loss in seniors could be a sign of a serious medical problem, but it may also signal depression, cognitive problems, or behavioral changes that impede good nutrition, like limited mobility or financial constraints.
If a loved one who’s typically well-groomed looks disheveled, or if their usually clean house seems cluttered, dirty, or disorganized, these could be warning signs that it may be time for assisted living.