Chances are, your parents are determined to age in place. It is something many of us will likely choose to do for as long as we are able. As caregivers though, there will come a time when you notice that Mom and Dad just can’t handle living in their own home and a move to either an assisted living facility or in with a family member will need to be considered.
Having the conversation with your parents about having to move is never an easy one, but there are some telltale signs you should look out for, including:
- Is the home still safe for them? Do they have to go up and down stairs to get to the bedroom or bathroom? Is the bathroom suited for an aging individual with potential mobility problems? Do they live in away from family members making frequent visits more difficult? Are your loved ones still driving - even when they maybe shouldn’t be?
- Do they have any mobility or personal hygiene issues? These can go hand in hand because if your parents are having a difficult time moving around, they may also find it worrisome to take a shower or a bath, or get dressed. Are they still able to do their own laundry and keep up with the housekeeping and yard work? It’s true that as we age, we may not keep our yard as nice as it once was and our house may not be always spotless, but there are items that can be overlooked, but if this type of upkeep becomes problematic you will either need to hire help, care for the home yourself, or consider moving your parent. Not being able to pay the bills, or forgetting to pay the bills is also another sign to watch for.
- If you find your aging parents are being faced with increased medical needs that make it unsafe for them to remain in the home alone there are options that can be explored. One of the options could be to install a home medical alert device as a way to keep them “connected” to an outside source who can be called upon in the event of a health care emergency.
- Are you noticing periods of forgetfulness? Yes, we all have those “senior moments,” but if you find your parents appear to be suffering from dementia or if you find they cannot remember who you are or what day it is this is a sign they need more care. Forgetting to turn off appliances or take out the trash can also be a sign of cognitive decline.
- Are they isolated from friends and family? This is a bigger issue when your parent has been widowed. If you find that their world is shrinking and they don’t take an interest in their former activities or if they can’t get out to visit friends or family, depression could become an issue. Don’t let your parents’ world shrink to the point where they have no reason to get up in the morning.
Having a talk with your aging loved ones prior to the need arising for a move to an assisted living facility may mean you can take time to tour various facilities and find one that is amenable to the entire family. It is also always best to make decisions when you’re not operating in crisis mode. Talk to your family today about their wishes should the time arise they need to move out of their family home.