If your loved one has dementia, especially in a more advanced case, and they begin to wander, it may be time to seek help. Just as you’d never leave a child unattended around a swimming pool, people who begin to wander need constant supervision. Even a quick trip to the bathroom, or a shower taken by the caregiver, can prove to be dangerous for an elderly person who wanders and the chance of injury increases greatly.
Caregivers must ask themselves the question of whether or not the person they are taking care of is affecting their own stability and health. If you are always stressed out, or at risk because your loved one is becoming violent or aggressive, it may be time to consider a professional assisted living environment. An article by the New York Times describes the stress inflicted on caregivers as similar to those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Not only is it stressful to care for a loved one, but the disturbances to a normal sleeping and eating schedule also take their toll. Although many people feel it is their duty to care for their aging parents, if you are stressed out or experiencing anxiety regarding your loved one, it may be time for assisted living.
Beyond the effects of caregiving on the caregiver, if your loved one has had a recent accident or fall, or a chronic health condition that isn’t getting better, it may be time for assisted living. Just as mentioned above, if you have to constantly keep watch because you’re worrying the elderly person is at risk of falling, regardless of how safe you think your house is, trained professionals may be better at keeping a watch.
Generally assisted living is used to aid people in their activities of daily living or ADLs. ADLs include shopping, cooking, dressing, going to the bathroom, bathing, taking medicines, laundry, and almost any other activity that a person needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the case of people who do not have loved ones in the home caring for them, it is extremely important to take notice of whether or not they can perform ADLs. Generally, as a person ages their social circle begins to diminish, so sometimes people become increasingly unhealthy with no one noticing. If you see your parents or other loved one only a few times a year and see noticeable weight loss, frailty, strange odor, or changes in appearance, you might want to consider having a talk with them about assisted living.
The decision to begin assisted living is tough, but once you do make that choice, there are ways to help find the facility that is best for your loved one. There are placement agencies, social workers, and even the assisted living companies themselves that are willing to help.