Deciding to move into a senior living community is a complicated and sensitive topic. Many families avoid the subject because they don't want to upset their loved ones. But when is the right time to make the move? Planning and agreeing ahead of time can be exciting, less stressful, and much easier than having to make a decision because of an emergency situation.
Maintaining an Independent Lifestyle
There are various changes in people's lives that can prompt a reason to move. Many folks retire and could be paying for maintenance on a house that no longer suits them. The kids are out of the house, and retirees spend more time at home, but the daily chores and upkeep can be overwhelming and expensive.
Moving into a senior living community can help solve these scenarios and many more! Independent living is an excellent option for seniors looking to downsize and live a more care-free lifestyle. Not only will they stop paying for the maintenance and other household bills, but housekeeping and laundry are typically included, leaving more time for residents to visit with family and friends, learn something new, or participate in fun activities! Independent living truly offers a diverse and more relaxed lifestyle.
For additional peace of mind, some senior living communities offer residents the opportunity to transition into additional levels of care, such as assisted living or memory care, as needed with minimal disruption to their lives.
Increasing Social Isolation
As approximately 27% of adults aged 60 or older in the United States live alone, social isolation has become a significant concern. Many experts find that spending more time alone without friends, family, or community activities can lead to a mental decline.
Lack of socialization could have many causes. Perhaps friends and family don't live close by, adult children may have become busy with their jobs and families, or seniors may not feel comfortable driving.
Socializing may become challenging because it involves too much work. For example, someone who usually entertains in their own living space, may have difficulty caring for themselves and their home. They may feel too overwhelmed or generally unable to complete the tasks needed to make themselves and their home look as they always do. Once friends and relatives see their living conditions, they may feel ashamed or embarrassed, so they avoid the situation altogether.
Seniors may have trouble keeping appointments or plans with loved ones. The challenge of getting lost in familiar places is also a common reason older adults withdraw socially. The lack of engagement and stimulation can expedite mental decline.
New or Worsening Problems Completing Activities of Daily Living
Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs, are the most accurate indicator that an individual may need more assistance. Basic ADLs include:
- Personal hygiene
Consider senior living options if a loved one cannot complete these basic activities alone. If they are hesitant to accept their daily tasks are necessary, having a medical professional complete an evaluation of the patient's abilities may help them realize more help is needed.
Dressing and Personal Hygiene. When adult children or other family members are with senior loved ones, it is vital to observe how the older adult is doing and evaluate their surroundings. Some signs might include looking or smelling like they hadn't bathed recently or noticeably neglecting their dental hygiene when they used to maintain their hygiene regularly. These are clear signs something has changed. Some changes could include if they are still in their pajamas when they usually have a full face of makeup and matching clothes on by the early morning.
Dressing appropriately and maintaining personal hygiene may be optional for the senior. The lack of self-care and completion of daily chores could be due to declining health, whether physical, mental or simply from exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed. It is essential to respectfully talk about the observed changes and determine what has caused them. Seeking a medical professional for a checkup may be required.
Ambulation and Nutrition. Proper ambulation and the ability to transfer oneself are crucial to living independently. Whether the senior has had an injury, needs help getting around due to a recent surgery, or requires a wheelchair, ambulation has either become a concern or challenge. These situations may make seniors realize they need a home more conducive to getting around. Respite or Short-Term Stays are options for those who are recovering from a recent illness, injury, or surgery. However, it may be time to consider a long term solution if there are consistent problems with balance and require additional support.
Proper nutrition for aging adults is a common concern. In the United States, approximately 5.2 million older adults are at risk for hunger. Some causes are due to a lack of income and local resources to acquire food, but other times, aging adults can no longer complete their meal preparation. If they aren't able to cook or prepare meals, their nutrition declines very quickly and triggers other harmful ailments.
Toileting and Continence. Toileting and maintaining continence independently are critical issues. Toileting independently can be daunting for older adults without the physical capabilities to lift themselves or let down onto the seat without falling. Strength and balance become vital, along with ensuring they can reach the bathroom on time.
Incontinence can be caused by reasons ranging from general ailments, medications, or general loss of control. Though incontinence may be embarrassing for the senior, it is important to address. Toileting and incontinence issues can lead to an increase in laundry and other household chores which may be difficult or more concerning if the older adult has physical or mental obstacles.
Cognitive Health Concerns
Cognitive impairments are also a common and significant sign alternative living arrangements may be needed. In 2023, an estimated 6.7 million Americans above the age of 64 are living with Alzheimer's disease. That number is expected to double by 2050.
Alzheimer's and other cognitive impairments may require additional support, care and specialized programming from trained healthcare professionals. There are varying levels of memory loss, so it is important to recognize the signs and how to seek appropriate help for a loved one.
A move may be necessary to provide peace of mind to families. Memory Care communities offer seniors with cognitive decline opportunities to thrive with both physical and emotional support in a compassionate and engaging environment designed to provide a sense of purpose and promote confidence.
Senior Living Communities Can Help!
Senior Living Communities like Clearwater Living communities can provide solutions and assistance for seniors! Families no longer need to worry about aging loved ones living alone or without adequate care. They can help future residents and their families decide whether independent living, assisted living, or memory care are best for their needs or lifestyle.
Their compassionate care partners are available 24 hours a day for assisted living and memory care residents, so families can rest knowing trained professionals are providing support and assistance as needed.
Clearwater Living believes in a person-centered approach to programming and care. They celebrate each resident's relevance and encourage everyone to explore their interests and hobbies.
Residents also have access to incredible services and amenities, including housekeeping and laundry services, transportation and concierge services, on-site restaurants, and plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy with friends and family.
Clearwater Living arranges many events and activities for residents to engage, learn, and stay connected. Residents can make friends quickly at various social gatherings, enjoy a movie in the movie theatre, get their hair and nails done at the salon, or participate in non-denominational worship services. Many fitness classes are available in the on-site fitness center, art classes are available in the art studio, and continued learning is available in participating communities.
Contact Clearwater Living to schedule an exclusive tour or to learn more!