Making the decision to reside somewhere other than “home” can be a challenging event affecting the whole family.  Some “food for thought” is appropriate in navigating the maze of decision making required for such a transition.  How can you tell if care is needed beyond the family such as assisted living and/or memory care?  Below are a few commonly asked questions that may indicate a change is appropriate: 

Does your loved one:

  • Have any recent falls or close calls?
  • Need help managing medications?
  • Walk independently?  …require walker or wheelchair assistance?
  • Have any chronic health conditions (ex. COPD, CHF, Dementia)
  • Have limited contact with family/friends?
  • Wear stained or wrinkled clothes?
  • Experience isolation?  …resist leaving the house?
  • Manage personal hygiene?
  • Need ongoing medical attention or treatments?
  • Need 24 hour supervision?
  • Need help eating?
  • Experience incontinence or need assistance with toileting?
  • Accumulate mail scattered throughout the house?
  • Require diabetic care?
  • Show changes in weight?
  • Have stale or expired foods?
  • Wander or seek exits?
  • Show aggression or other behavior issues?
  • Care adequately for their pets? Plants?

Questions to ask the communities you visit:

  • Staffing:
    • Number of training hours?
    • Daytime ratio?
    • Night ratio?
  • What medical services are available?
  • Outside care allowed/arranged?
  • A secured area inside?  Outside?
  • A  visiting physician?
  • Walking paths for residents?
  • Pet therapy?
  • Music therapy?
  • All-inclusive care?

No one thing determines the need for Assisted Living; it is always a combination of some prevalent factors and others not.  Seeking help and asking questions is allowed!

Hopefully, this overview can help identify areas to discuss with family and a healthcare support team.  If assisted living and/or memory care is a viable option for your loved one, there are many excellent place to consider.  Seek a community that offers an environment supportive of medical needs and the experience of a connected, active and purposeful life.