Many seniors are adamant about aging in place in their home, but over time their families may feel their loved one would be happier, healthier and safer in a senior living community. To assess if it’s time for senior living, take a look at the following tell-tale signs that living at home is no longer in an older loved one’s best interest.
Signs it may be time for senior living
Recent falls and injuries
If a senior continues to experience falls or other accidents, that can be a strong signal it’s time for senior living. In fact, falls are among the most prevalent causes of injuries among seniors, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention totaled 3 million emergency department visits and 36,000 deaths among Americans age 65 and older in 2020. Moreover, the CDC projects that the prevalence of falls will increase from 36 million in 2018 to 52 million in 2030 as the elderly population grows.
Although many people consider memory loss to be an expected part of aging, in reality, memory loss is not normal. According to the National Institute on Aging article, “Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?,” occasionally forgetting something is a completely different situation than memory loss that interferes with a senior’s ability to manage their daily life. Signs of memory loss include getting lost in familiar places (even at home), trouble following instructions, asking the same questions repeatedly, and lack of self-care.
Early memory loss may be diagnosed as mild cognitive impairment or in later stages the diagnosis may be a type of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. When memory loss becomes a problem it may be time for senior living and the 24/7 around-the-clock care and oversight it provides.
Most seniors take one or more medications every day. According to a Lown Institute report, “More than four in ten older adults take five or more prescription medications, triple the rate from twenty years ago. Nearly 20 percent take ten drugs or more.” Another sign it’s time to consider senior living is when doses are missed, taken at the wrong times or in the wrong quantities.
Although memory loss is one cause of medication mismanagement, poor vision, lack of coordination, and bad drug reactions are also among the reasons a senior may struggle with their medications. Particularly dangerous are overdoses, which the CDC notes rose among adults age 65 and older from 2.4 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2000 to 8.8 in 2020.
Another red flag signaling it’s time for senior living is poor nutrition as evidenced by weight loss or gain, depression or fatigue, lack of appetite, or a variety of other health problems described in the webmd.com article, “7 Signs Your Nutrition Isn’t On Track.”
Because seniors experience physical changes that inhibit nutrient absorption, have different nutritional requirements than when young, may be unable to prepare nutritious meals and rely on junk food instead, or may just forget to eat, nutrition is a very real problem. No matter the reason, however, poor nutrition is a sign it’s time for senior living where chef-inspired meals are the norm and seniors can get all the help they need to eat well.
Getting around safely at home can become difficult for seniors as time goes on. Typical family homes are not built for accessibility so seniors may take risks climbing stairs, using bathrooms and kitchens safely, and even just getting through doorways if they use an assistive device.
Loss of mobility is also implicated in falls, forcing seniors to become more sedentary and strip them of their independence. In this case it’s time for senior living because modern senior living communities like The Lodge at Stephens Lake are designed to be barrier free with plenty of safety features built in. In addition, residents always have compassionate assistants available to lend a hand and help them to safely go where they want, when they want. To get the truth about a loved one’s mobility check out the health.harvard.edu blog, “Two questions can reveal mobility problems in seniors.”
Isolation and loneliness
Isolation is becoming an epidemic among older Americans even after being freed from the COVID-19 confinement and it can make seniors sick. According to the CDC article, “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions,” the combination of isolation and loneliness increases the risk of dementia by 50%, heart disease by 29%, stroke by 32%, and death by four times in heart failure patients. For seniors who are isolated it’s time for senior living, a community of caring professionals and plenty of peers and friends with whom to share activities and interests every day.
When it’s time for senior living, consider the luxury of The Lodges at Stephens Lake. Find out for yourself what’s in store and contact us today to schedule a tour!