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5 Signs Your Parent May Need Assisted Living

Deciding when it's time to move Mom or Dad into an assisted living facility is never an easy decision, and no one time frame applies to every individual. However, some signs may suggest it's time to at least start thinking about relocating Mom or Dad to a place where they'd have more support. Here are five of those signs.

1. Significant Weight Gain or Loss

Most people will gain or lose a little weight periodically, and small changes in weight aren't cause for concern. They may be the result of eating too many holiday cookies, dieting during the new year, or simply making seasonal lifestyle changes (e.g., becoming less active during winter).

Major and quick alterations to a senior parent's weight, however, should be investigated. Doctors should look for any underlying causes, which may include dementia, cancer, diabetes, depression, or other significant health issues.

In situations of significant weight gain or loss, the weight change itself doesn't justify relocating Mom or Dad. It may be a sign of something else that does call for moving them to an assisted living facility, though.

2. Forgotten Personal Hygiene

Should you notice any signs that Mom or Dad might not be properly taking care of their personal hygiene, you ought to find out why. Unused toothbrushes, unwelcome body odors, and matted hair all suggest that your parent might need someone to help care for them.

If personal hygiene is an issue, you can try a few solutions. Depending on the level and duration of their needs, you might consider hiring an in-home aide, temporarily relocating them to a rehab facility, or moving them to an assisted living facility.

3. Unopened Bills and Other Mail

Many people don't open their mail every day, and some fully functional adults may go several days without checking what they've received. You likely know if this has been Mom's or Dad's habit, and a small pile of bills or mail isn't a major concern if this is how they've dealt with mail for years.

What you don't want to see is a large pile of unopened bills and other mail that dates back weeks or months. If you do, Mom or Dad will likely need help sorting through the pile. They may also be suffering from something else, such as stress or dementia, that has led them to ignore the mail. If the cause is dementia, plan on taking them to an assisted living facility soon.

4. Neglected Pets or Plants

If Mom or Dad keeps any pets or plants, the condition of their pets and plants can be a decent indication of their own personal condition. Someone who has diligently cared for a living thing (even if it's just a flower) and suddenly neglects the thing may also be struggling to care for themselves.

Whenever you notice a pet or plant that's not doing well, ask your parent why. It could be as simple as a plant not getting enough sun or a pet not liking their new food. The cause might be a more serious need, though.

5. Concerned Neighbors

Neighbors' insights into how Mom or Dad is doing are some of the best sources for information. Neighbors see your parent on a regular basis, and many neighbors will have known them for years. Any neighbor, and especially a close or inquisitive one, will know if something is amiss.

For this reason, any concerns that neighbors raise should be taken seriously. If someone says Mom or Dad isn't doing as well as they used to, follow up to see whether the extra help that's available at an assisted living facility is needed.

If you have an elderly parent who needs to move to an assisted living facility, contact us at Haven Homes Assisted Living of Stow.