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When is it time For Assisted Living? This is one of the most common questions we hear from families we’ve helped throughout the years.


There are several factors to consider when determining the right time for Assisted Living. The decision of moving your elderly loved ones to an Assisted Living facility is never an easy decision. 


There might come a time when your parents or elderly loved ones will no longer be able to live at home on their own. This is the reason why it is very important for us to observe any changes in their health and physical condition when visiting them.


We should be aware of general warning signs that will answer the question “when is it time for assisted living?” Most of the signs would be related to Activities of Daily Living, which include assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and medication assistance.


Are you starting to get worried about your elderly loved ones being alone at home? How about when they drive to the grocery? Are they showing signs of memory loss or starting to get weak going up and down the stairs? If you are, it might be a good time to start discussing assisted living with the family.


Here are 10 warning signs to help you answer one of the most important senior care questions you’ll have – When is it time for assisted living?


10 signs that will help you determine that it’s time for Assisted Living:  


1. Mobility Issues

Is Mom or Dad having trouble walking around the house, going up and down the stairs or demonstrating any signs of decreased mobility? Are you worried about falls and fractures due to normal physical changes that can limit your loved one’s mobility?


If you’ve answered “yes” then it’s time to assess your parents’ living situation. These are some of the signs that can help you determine when it’s time for assisted living. If you intend to keep your loved one in their home, you must make certain home modifications to ensure that it remains safe for them to live in. For example, if your loved one is prone to falling or slipping, handrails may be necessary for entrances and the bathroom. You might also want to consider getting them a walker or a wheelchair. If they are having a hard time going up and down the stairs, it might be a good idea to move them to the bedroom downstairs, don’t you think?


Scheduling regular visits to ensure your elderly loved ones’ safety is always a good idea. However, if you or other family members are not able to check on them regularly, or unable to find a caregiver to assist them with walking and transferring, then it may be a good time to consider assisted living.


2. Memory Problems

Does Mom or Dad tend to forget important events, doctor appointments, or even forget to take their medications? Do you notice any issues related to memory problems like repeating the same questions and statements over and over, misplacing things or leaving the stove on several times? Does your senior love one wander away from home?


These signs will tell you that it’s a good time to start thinking about assisted living.


3. Needs Help with Personal Care or Hygiene

Keep your eye on the hygiene of your senior loved one. Are they wearing the same clothes every time you come to visit? Does your aging parent go out without brushing his/her hair, wear dirty clothes, forget to shower, have bad breath or demonstrate other signs of neglecting personal hygiene?


For seniors with medical conditions, these tasks may be difficult to do. No matter what the cause is for their poor hygiene, whether physical or mental, it is another warning sign that they need some help with day-to-day activities of daily living. At this point, Assisted Living would be a good option as they provide assistance to seniors who need help with personal care and hygiene.


4. Housekeeping Issues

Next time you visit your aging loved one, try to observe and look around the house. Is the house well maintained? Are the counters and floors dirty? Are there spoiled foods in the refrigerator? If you answer yes to any of these questions, chances are your aging relative may need help with household chores. 


If you are able to help with household chores or pay someone to do so, your elderly relatives may still be able to stay longer at home. However, if you find that you can’t help them with day-to-day tasks and household chores, it may be a good time to consider assisted living.


5. Driving Safety Issues

Are you worried about your aging loved one’s driving abilities? Are there scratches or dents on the car or several traffic tickets? These driving safety issues may be a result of cognitive impairment and diminished motor capabilities due to aging. If you feel that your parent or aging relative can no longer drive safely, you have to find a way to get him or her to stop driving. It will also be a good time to schedule an appointment with the physician to help assess your parent’s physical and mental condition.


This is usually one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have with your aging parents. Most seniors feel offended when you try to convince them to stop driving, but don’t feel bad because you’re doing the right thing by putting their safety first.


When you talk to you aging parents about this topic, be sure to focus on the positive side so they don’t feel offended. Inform them that are several other options like transportation services for seniors in the community or you can drive them around.


Assisted living communities usually provide transportation services to all their residents. Be sure to mention this to your elderly loved ones as this will be a good way to start the assisted living conversation.


6. Weight Loss

Has your mom or dad been losing weight? Is it a sudden weight loss? If yes, then it might be an indication that your elderly loved one is not eating properly. This may be due to decreased in appetite, loss of ability to do grocery shopping or to prepare and cook their own food. However, for some seniors, weight loss may be attributed to memory loss, which results to skipping meals or forgetting to eat.


If this is a concern, you might want to ensure that regular meals are prepared for them. You can ask family members to take turns preparing their meals, or you can check available meal services in the community like meals on the wheels.


If you are not able to find someone to help with meals, you might want to start considering independent and assisted living options in the area as they provide daily meals and snacks for their senior residents. This will be another option to ensure that your elderly loved ones are eating healthy and nutritious meals every day.


7.  Issues with Medication

Proper medication is important for seniors who have medical conditions. When visiting your aging relative, do you notice any expired medicine bottles or unfilled prescriptions? If you do, this may be a sign that your aging loved one is no longer able to manage his or her own medications properly. Prescriptions are very serious and taking too much or too little can have serious health consequences.


Assisted living communities provide medication management. They are staffed with dedicated and well-trained caregivers as well as nurses to ensure that medications are given at the proper time. If you can visit regularly to help with med management or hire a caregiver, then maybe they can still stay home. However, if you cannot, it may be time for an assisted living facility.


8. Inability To Communicate

Does your aging love one experience difficulties in communicating their feelings and emotions?  Do you notice a change in your loved one’s behavior? If you have noticed any signs of confusion or aggression that seem out of place for your senior loved one, you may need to consult a physician. The physician can give you a recommendation if it’s still safe to live at home or if it’s time to move to an assisted living or memory care facility.


9. Isolation and Depression

Depression affects everyone, including seniors. However, the warning signs of senior depression can be different than younger adults, which make it harder to identify. Decrease in interests in things your aging relative once loved, moodiness, lack of appetite, fatigue and other behavioral changes are some signs of depression.


Moving to an Independent Living or Assisted Living facility may be a good idea as your loved one can benefit from the socialization provided by the community.


10. Caregiver Stress

Are you the full-time caregiver of your aging parent? Do you do all the caregiving tasks and starting to feel burnt-out? Caregiving is a challenging task as it requires a lot of time and hard work. There should be no shame in admitting the stress from being a family caregiver as it is not an easy task. Taking breaks regularly is very important as caregiving stress can have a negative effect on the caregiver’s health and well-being. 


If you are not able to continue caring for your aging loved one due to the physical and emotional stress, you will have to look for other caregiving options. You might want to talk to your family about taking turns with caregiving or hiring an in-home care provider. Keep in mind though that having a 24-hour caregiver can be very costly versus the cost of moving to an Assisted Living. Be sure to check all available options, including costs for Assisted Living.



We hope this article helped guide you on what you need to do next. If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then it might be the right time to learn more about Assisted Living to ensure the safety of your aging loved one.


If you need help with Assisted Living options, click here or call our Expert Senior Care Advisors today at 877-523-6523. We provide families with Free and Personalized Assisted Living options based on your elderly loved ones care needs, preferred location and your family’s budget. 


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