One of the hardest things to do is assume the role of caretaker to your elderly parents once they begin failing mentally and/or physically. Especially when there is cognitive decline, it can be problematic to step in and make some hard decisions.
It can also be challenging to know just when it is time to step in. Too soon, and the person loses quality of life unnecessarily. Too late, and they may have already suffered injuries or other negative consequences due to the delay. Below are some indications that it may be time to transition elderly loved ones into assisted living programs:
They can no longer manage their activities of daily life (ADL) on their own
Activities of daily life can mean different things for different people. But these are the main areas of concern when they are not able to manage them alone:
- Mobility – People whose mobility has deteriorated may no longer be able to toilet themselves or get food and water.
- Bathing – Sudden poor hygiene in formerly fastidious individuals is often the first sign.
- Dressing – Wearing the same soiled outfit over and over or not dressing appropriately for the weather conditions is another concern.
Mishaps with medication
An occasional lapse is worrisome, but it becomes deadly when seniors can no longer physically or mentally self-medicate with the appropriate dosages of their prescribed drugs. This also leaves them vulnerable to manipulation by those with bad intent.
Lack of socialization
Sandwich generation adult children often feel torn between the families they are still rearing and their elderly parents. Then, too, some are juggling careers in law or medicine that require them present and focused on their jobs.
Care coordination can clear up legal issues
In an assisted living center, your loved one is assigned a care coordinator who keeps track of and provides transportation to these appointments and manages any medication changes.
To protect an elderly and vulnerable parent, it is sometimes necessary to petition the Commonwealth of Virginia for guardianship of your loved one.