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By Erika Stewart

Indicators your parents may need assisted living

You are hard at work when you are interrupted by a phone call for the third time this month. Mom is concerned she may be ill and wants to go to the doctor…again. You notice that Mom is needier recently and small issues that she used to handle independently now seem like emergencies requiring your attention. You love your mother and would do anything for her, but you feel helpless because no matter what you do, she needs more and more of your time and attention. Does this sound familiar? This could be a sign that Mom is lonely or depressed and would benefit from the socialization that accompanies living in a community setting like an independent living or assisted living community.

Are there other signs? Have you noticed Mom is more forgetful lately? Maybe she is not taking her medications on schedule, or maybe she has forgotten she already took her afternoon dose and took it again. For many seniors, the sheer volume of medications they take can be overwhelming and confusing. Often, seeing multiple physicians for a variety of real or perceived ailments adds more medications to the mix and increases the likelihood of drug interactions and unintended consequences. Medication management is the number one reason most seniors move to assisted living communities.

Proper diet, nutrition and hydration play a large role in maintaining the health and well-being of seniors. When seniors become dehydrated they have increased confusion, urinary tract infections and experience other chemical imbalances. Forgetting to eat or drink or not wanting to eat alone contributes to poor nutrition in the elderly. A community setting promotes positive peer pressure where neighboring seniors encourage healthy lifestyles among their friends.

Was Mom once immaculate in her housekeeping and personal care, but now both her home and her person seem to look a bit unkempt at times? Keeping up with housework may be a daunting task as aging joints and muscles ache, physical exertion causes increased fatigue or maybe Mom’s eyesight is poor and she simply doesn’t see the dust.

Depression and loneliness may contribute to decreased desire to make the effort to look her best. Or, maybe forgetfulness has crept into her personal hygiene regime and she simply does not remember to take a shower and change her clothes each day. Whatever the reason for the noticeable decline in tidiness and personal appearance, a community setting allows for housekeeping services, reminders to bathe and change clothes while maintaining the senior’s dignity. After all, doesn’t everyone want to age with dignity and grace?

Each individual ages differently, and each individual deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion. Some signs that it might be time to consider moving your loved one to a community setting to age with dignity in the companionship of peers and the professional care of individuals trained to recognize and assist in the needs of the elderly may include:

  • Medication errors
  • Anxiety
  • Hygiene concerns
  • Loneliness and signs of depression
  • Nutrition and hydration concerns
  • Safety concerns (Leaving the stove on, driving, wandering)
  • Unnecessary calls and trips to the doctor’s office
  • Repeated urinary tract infections
  • Increased falls
  • Forgetfulness or confusion

A community setting may be the answer if these or similar issues are negatively impacting the life of someone you know. For more on finding the right community in your area, please consult a Senior Care Adviser. Your local adviser may be found at

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