Placing parents into assisted living is never an easy decision. The signs are often slow to manifest and can be hard to spot at first. A caregiver may also feel guilty for having to make this decision, as many parents might feel shame for needing increased care.

There are a few telling signs that could indicate a parent might need assisted living. Most often, the decision will come down to a caregiver’s judgment call.

Signs of a worsening condition

It’s unlikely that any single sign will indicate a need for a change in care. Caregivers will have to weigh the frequency and severity of each event and work with their parents to explore options. Concerning signs may include:

  • Falling down: Loss of motor skills and frequent falls can indicate a need for care. A broken hip or knee can be particularly challenging for a senior to heal.
  • Taking the wrong pills: Despite proper labeling and organization, declining seniors may have difficulty taking the right medicine at the right time.
  • Physical aggression or violence: People with dementia may have difficulty regulating emotions or understanding their surroundings. Increased aggression can create a dangerous situation for both caregiver and charge.
  • Increased caregiver stress: Feelings of resentment or anger among caregivers are not uncommon and usually indicate a need for more help.
  • Sundowning: Seniors sometimes becoming more agitated and irritable later in the day. Sundowning may be another indicator of dementia.
  • Wandering: Many seniors may begin wandering at any moment, increasing their risk of falls and likelihood of hospitalization.
  • Needs beyond capabilities: If the caregiver fails to meet the needs of their charge, that could indicate a need for increased assistance.

The key is to find the right care at the right time. Ideally, this decision comes from a mutual place of understanding between seniors and their primary caregivers.

Choose the right care

When a caregiver and their parent decide it is time to secure living assistance, research is essential. Many different options are available including in-home care, nursing homes, and hospitalization for those with pressing medical needs. Many families searching for options have found success alongside the services of a local lawyer experienced with elder law. They will be able to help navigate the paperwork and agreements as well as help vet any assisted living facilities.