The decision of whether or not to move a parent into an assisted care facility is a heavy one. Your beloved parents, who once cared for you, are now at an age where they can no longer effectively care for themselves. The brutal reality is that as Americans continue to live longer, more and more adult children are faced with the difficult task of determining whether their parents can live safely on their own.

The idea of putting your parent into assisted care may bring up a lot of guilt or concern for your loved ones. However, after a certain point, it just may not be possible for you to provide your parent with the level of care and attention they need. But how do you know when that time has come?

The Katz Chart

In the 1960s, a doctor by the name of Sidney Katz developed a way to measure the level of care a senior requires by charting ADLs, or activities of daily living. The goal of ADLs was to help others understand how well a senior could perform their daily routine. The six main categories ADLs track include:

  • Can they get in and out of bed?
  • Can they dress themselves?
  • Can they feed themselves?
  • Can they bathe themselves?
  • Can they control their bowel movements?
  • Can they go to the bathroom independently?

According to the National Council for Aging Care, each of these categories has a numerical value of one point. If your parent can perform four or five of the six categories easily, they are still relatively functional and may require less assisted care. But if they can only complete one or two categories independently, they likely need more assistance.

Other warning signs

Outside of the Katz Chart, there are other warning signs that suggest your parent is no longer capable of taking care of themselves. Sometimes the signs they need help are obvious, such as after a serious illness or injury. Other times, the signals are more subtle and develop over time. The following may be signs that your senior parent needs help functioning:

  • They have a worsening medical condition.
  • They have declining cognition.
  • They live in isolation.
  • Their home is messy.
  • They can no longer keep up with hygiene.
  • They have fallen in the past.

No one wants to have to put their parents into a care facility. But if your parents are unable to perform basic daily tasks, it may become a necessity. Your decision to do so could prevent a worse accident later on. Talking with your parents about assisted living before the time comes can help to ease the transition for both you.