Home Away From Home, By Nila Bair
They say home is where the heart is; however, sometimes the heart is forced to change locations because of age and safety. It can be challenging to recognize when it is time to consider moving from your home of years into an assisted living facility. Here are some identifiers to help you and your loved one start the conversation and determine if it’s time to take your heart to a new home.
Falls: If you or your loved one is falling often, whether they are hitting the ground or not, it may be time to consider moving them into an assisted living facility. Don’t play down falls as nothing because they are a big deal, especially for seniors. Studies have shown that every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. If your loved one lives in a home with stairs then it may be time to consider moving them into a senior community near by.
Medication Management: If your loved one is showing signs of forgetting or not taking their medication on a regular basis it may be time to consider an assisted living facility where the trained staff can manage their medication and ensure they take it. In addition, many assisted living facilities have great relationships with local home health and hospice agencies that can provide additional cares for your loved one covered by Medicare.
Dementia/Alzheimer’s: Memory loss is not a normal part of aging, so don’t fool yourself into believing it is. Forgetting to pick up a particular item at the store is acceptable but not remembering how to get from your bedroom to the kitchen in the house where you’ve resided for the past 50 years is not normal. Dementia is a serious condition that progresses at varying rates in people. Many individuals diagnosed with this wander and become a huge risk to themselves and others. If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer’s it is time to start discussing what you will do when cares become too much for the primary care giver or it’s simply no longer safe for them to reside at home. Assisted living facilities are great options because some offer memory care units that are specifically designed for residents that have been diagnosed with dementia and/or Parkinson’s disease.
These are just a few things that can spawn a discussion about your loved ones safety and continuing to live at home on their own. Some may be able to afford hiring additional help through private duty cares; however, most are not able to and will need to consider assisted living facilities as an option for their loved one. Keep in mind there are many different types of assisted living facilities out there, large ones (100+ rooms), medium (40+ rooms), and smaller communities (15-32 rooms). Determine what will be best for you and your loved one. Keep in mind that tours are available at all communities and most offer a respite room that your loved one can stay at for a fee to determine if they will like it there. It will give them a chance to get a feeling for the community, try the food, and enjoy the activities.
Nila Bair is a senior care consultant and marketing manager for Encompass Health. She has been empowering and educating seniors and their families for over 2 years. Her passion for senior care shines through in her commitment to providing the best care and education possible for both her residents and families. Dementia, Alzheimer’s Awareness, and Memory Care are one of her biggest platforms she wants to educate people on, as her grandmother was a victim of Alzheimer’s and her mom recently passed due to advanced vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s, and congestive heart failure.