Deciding When Help is Needed
One of the hardest parts of making this decision is when you are faced with having to make the determination of WHEN it is time for a move to a more supportive living arrangement. Below you will find several of the key issues to look for when faced with this choice...
When Forgetfulness puts them at risk
Eighty-five percent of people 85 years of age or older have dementia. This isn't just an interesting statistic. If Grandpa's joy is taking a daily walk but he can't remember how to get home after the walk, then forgetfulness becomes a big issue and potential problem.
Even simple memory lapses can cause problems. If you are noticing that grandpa is losing weight and when you ask him what he just ate for dinner, he replies that he can't remember what he ate. You may find that he can't even remember if he ate anything at all. This is a serious issue. Something needs to be done.
When memory issues begin to be evident, then it's time to look for a new living arrangement that can protect your loved one and leave you confident that they are safe once again.
Potential from injury from falls
For every 10 years of life (after the age of 20) we lose half our remaining ability to balance. By the time someone hits 80, they may only be able to balance on one foot (as in taking a step) for just a few seconds. Turning around, bending over, tripping, or even standing still may be enough to cause a fall.
You may notice your family member is not as steady as they used to be. Your doctor should also be able to judge whether your family member is a high fall risk. If removing objects that might cause them to lose balance and exercise therapy doesn't improve their steadiness, this is the time to consider a new living arrangement that will lower the chance of a fall and provide help, on the spot, in case an accident does occur.
Needing help taking medicines safely
Let's face it, medicines can get very confusing. It becomes even more so as we grow older and tend to take more and more medicines. So it's no wonder that medicine errors pose a substantial risk to your aging loved one. Medicines not taken at the right time or the right amount are common issues that require immediate steps to be taken.
Removing all medicines and supplements that your loved one isn't using will help eliminate confusion.
You can prearrange medicine in a pill box that has separate places for the pills for different days and time of the day. For added simplicity, you can have tiny pill box dispensers for just one day with tabbed sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime pills.
You will also find that some pharmacies are very helpful in packaging pills each month for a very nominal price. The pills will be grouped into separate plastic pouches or bags for each time the pills are taken.
If none of this alleviates the problem then your loved one needs oversight when taking their medicines throughout the day. Medication errors are another serious reason to consider a new living arrangement.
Forgetfulness, risk of injury from falls, and need for help taking medicines are all strong indications that it is time to consider moving.
Diminishing daily life skills
Some skills are simply essential to life. Making nutritious meals and eating them, oral hygiene, dressing, bathing, walking, grooming, going to the bathroom are all essential skills that sustain life. If doing these things becomes difficult, life itself begins to feel like a burden. An individual struggling to maintain these skills will often grow weaker and more inclined dismiss many of these tasks. Isolation and depression are often experienced as these loses become more prominent.
But these life skills can easily be compensated for with the assistance of a skilled caregiver, allowing the senior to continue their life in a dignified way with increased strength and a decreased sense of hopelessness and frustration.
Providing this bridge of care is the basis of senior care facilities…
If you have been noticing that your loved one is struggling with one or more of the above mentioned tasks, then now is the time to begin looking at other living options. Don’t wait until the need is urgent.
This care could also be done in home with adequate care from certified nursing assistants but at a much greater cost.