How Do You Know When a Senior Needs Care?

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 12 November 2012

You’ve seen the signs. You know your father needs support to manage his health care needs. You know your grandmother would enjoy a better quality of life with some help.

Sometimes, the signs are not as clear. Mom has a bad week and you fear it might be time to consider assisted living, but as you work up the nerve to talk to her, she has a solid month with no falls, no depression, no missed medications.

Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” decision, no guidebook that says “after this happens, do this.” Many life decisions involve an element of risk, but that’s not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes the decision not to decide is a risk all its own.

For example, your father may thrive in assisted living, may be better able to manage his health care needs once he is surrounded by new friends and engaged in activities he enjoys. His loneliness may be what’s holding him back at home.

Your grandmother may simply feel overwhelmed by home maintenance; her outlook on life and overall wellness might improve greatly if a housekeeping service came in every other week.

The lesson here: ask first, try second, evaluate third. 1. Ask your senior loved one where they feel they need the most help. 2. Try a few options before making a major move (short-term stay at assisted living, a few hours of home care at a time, etc.). 3. Evaluate as you go forward; if something isn’t working, try another approach.

Read more about making a senior care decision here.



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