If you’re a caregiver, you most likely wonder if there are certain signs or signals that might indicate when the time is right to consider assisted living for your loved one. If you are starting to think about it, you are more than likeley feeling the challenge of balancing everything that is going on in your life and are starting to feel overwhelmed. It might be time to consider some assistance. But, how do you know when it’s time for assisted living?
Let’s First Address Emotions
Families often experience a lot of guilt and anxiety at the very thought of considering placing their loved in in an assisted living facility. Many have even promised their loved ones years ago that they would never place them in a “home”. And, many people feel that it is their duty to care for their loved one at home. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Mom took care of me, now it’s my turn to take care of her.”
Then, there are those who have had a bad experience (or have heard of someone who had a bad experience) with a facility and are afraid of making that decision. The most common fear or concern is that their loved one will not be cared for as well as they are at home or that placement in a facility will cause them to decline faster. Quality of life is a huge factor for most families when considering assisted living.
Many Times It’s Out Of Your Control
Occasionally, the decision to place someone in a facility is out of your control. There may be sudden situations when it’s clear that the time has come for assisted care. These can include:
- Severe illness
- Hospitalization/death of the caregiver
- Hospitalization of the person who needs care
These abrupt changes often necessitate immediate placement in a facility. Sometimes, a loved one may end up in a facility almost overnight, with little time to research options. I get calls all the time from families who have experienced one of these events and have to find a facility immediately.
When Do You Know It’s Actually Time?
Outside of the above sudden situations when it’s out of your control, how do you know when you should consider looking in to assisted living for your loved one?
The 13 Signs To Consider:
- You’ve injured yourself (such as hurting your back or falling) when trying to lift or move your loved one.
- If your loved one has Alzheimer’s and it has progressed to the point where they try to hurt you. Or, they exhibit other challenging behaviors such as paranoia or anger.
- Your family member has wandered off outside the home and/or has become lost.
- You are falling short of your other responsibilities.
- You exhibit signs of caregiver burnout. For example, you recently lost your temper when your loved one was resisting getting dressed. Or, they were following you everywhere you went inside the house.
- Your own health is declining. This can be either physical or emitional and may include conditions such as high blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems, anxiety, and depression.
- Your relationships are significantly suffering.
- You have surgery or another planned medical procedure coming up.
- Your doctor has said that it’s time for assisted living for your loved one.
- Your loved one has care needs that you really can’t handle well, despite your best efforts.
- Friends or other family members have expressed concern for you and have encouraged you to look in to other care options for your loved one.
- You have tried other in-home care resources but they just aren’t providing enough assistance for you.
- When you determine that assisted living is more cost-effective than what you are paying for in-home care assistance.
If one or more of these signs sounds familiar, it may be time to look in to a move to an assisted care facility. You can talk with people you know who might be able to recommend a facility in your area. Or, you can utilize a free assisted living placement service like Senior Living Options of the Desert who can guide you through the process. They can save you hours and hours of time researching the best options for you.
A Word From Senior Living Options of the Desert
Thinking about care options for your loved one can be stressful. Although sometimes it feels like you can manage it, there may be other times where you feel like you’re just not able to do it all.
Many people describe the feeling as if they are drowning in the responsibility and the weight of the caregiver role. Acknowledging these feelings, however, does not take anything away from the love you have for the person you are caring for.
Your health and well-being are important in being able to care for your loved one. Acknowledging that you can’t do everything is ok. Planning ahead will help you to be there for your loved one and allow you to continue to provide the support they need during the challenges of this journey.