Moving a family member into a senior care residence or retirement community is never an easy decision. In fact, they may be resistant to moving and they may fear losing their independence. Let’s face it; it’s not easy to admit that one is getting older, especially when your body and your mind is not what it used to be.
However, there are some telltale signs that caregivers can look for in order to recognize when it’s time to consider assisted living for their loved ones:
When there are physical and anatomical signs of deterioration that will affect their well-being and their safety. For example, loss of sight, hearing or physical conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, loss of balance, stroke or disease.
Mental – Cognitive, Language, Decision Making
Wandering or forgetfulness where home and physical safety becomes an issue. Forms of degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Vascular Dementia can pose a safety risk for a family member where they can either wander off and don’t remember where they are, forgetting to turn off the stove or take their medication.
Are there concerns with any of the following: Nutrition, Preparing meals; Slips or falls, Bills being delayed or not being paid; Improper use or handling of medications; Loneliness; Transportation and Driving issues; Housework; Yard work; Safety; Security; Social activities.
Symptoms of agitation and aggression in behaviour otherwise known as “Sundowner syndrome” becomes more pronounced later in the day due to the fading of light— is a common characteristic of those with Alzheimers or other forms of Dementia. This can take a heavy toll on caregivers and other family members when it begins to severely disrupt family routine thus causing caregivers to suffer or begin to feel resentful.
There are the psychological costs of caregiving and of making difficult care decisions, which can be compared to the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Caregivers may experience symptoms like disabling anxiety, hyper-vigilance and more. The emotional, mental and physical toll of caregiving can be particularly pronounced for spouses of those who need care. An example, the wife, who is the primary caregiver, is also a senior. She’s taking care of her 75-year-old husband who falls. She has difficulty picking him up and has to call the paramedics. In cases like this, when the demands of care become too great, it might be clear immediately. In other cases, it might not be so obvious.
However, if you are feeling isolated and alone, or if you begin to feel resentful of your loved one, it might be time to examine the source of those feelings. Sleep deprivation, anger, resentment, all those things will become part of what happens to a caregiver. It is not an easy decision to make. Sometimes, it is best to discuss with other family members or with those who have gone through the experience to obtain their advice. Helping your loved ones to recognize the signs of when it is time to move, having an open dialogue with the family members involved and taking the time to discuss the options will go a long way in making the transition to senior care residence more agreeable for everyone.