How To Spot Signs It’s Time For Senior Care

Your mom tells you she’s eating, but food is spoiling in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, your dad’s medication was refilled three weeks ago and the bottle is still full. And you notice the house could use a little more attention than it’s receiving.

These observations include some of the classic signs that older adults may be declining physically or mentally, which could indicate that it’s time to consider a move to some type of environment or facility for older adults. Here’s what you need to know about senior living, as well as what to look for when considering moving yourself or a loved one to new housing.

6 Signs It Might Be Time for Senior Care, According to Experts

Your loved one and your loved one’s living environment can provide valuable clues that it may be time to move from home to a type of housing safer for older adults. Look for the following common signs that might suggest it’s time to make a move to a new living space.

A Change in Mobility or Function
Is your loved one sitting in the same place all day? Are they having difficulty getting up and out of a chair? If so, consider how these challenges are affecting their quality of life and how a new living environment might improve it, suggests Chrissy Moser, a certified dementia specialist and eldercare advisor with Assisted Living Locators of Naples, Florida.

Household Changes
The following changes in how your loved one tends to maintain their space and daily routine can be key indicators that it’s time to consider broaching the subject of moving, according to Moser:

Food is spoiling in the refrigerator or there’s unusually little food in the house.
The house isn’t as tidy as it once was—perhaps dishes are piling up in the sink.
Prescription medication is left untouched in its container.
Mail remains unopened.
There are new dents or racing stripes down the side of their car.
Judgment With Finances
If your loved one is uncharacteristically overspending or suddenly not paying their bills, consider it a sign that it’s time to address their current living situation, says Moser.

Personality Changes
Are you beginning to notice less-than-positive changes in your loved one’s general mood and personality? If so, consider how a different living environment could benefit them, suggests Moser.

Physical Changes
Another telltale sign that it’s time to start thinking about a new living space is an obvious and potentially concerning amount of weight loss in a given period of time, says Moser.

Mental Health Changes
Is your loved one frequently confused or experiencing clear signs of memory loss? Are they regularly leaving belongings in strange places, such as placing their glasses in the refrigerator? If so, it might be time to discuss the value of memory care and how that level of assistance can improve one’s quality of life.

“These signs can indicate your aging loved one may be ready to move from their home to a senior living situation,” says Dr. Labib—or at least to have a caregiver make regular home visits.

Be proactive in recognizing these common signs and seeking assistance for your loved one as you notice them. “Many times, families and caregivers can wait too long until things are progressing to a breaking point before looking for senior living options,” adds Moser.

If you notice any of the changes above, schedule an appointment with your health care provider or that of your loved one, as reasons for some of them can be reversible. Start with a full physical assessment and diagnostic tests to rule out reversible causes.

Excerpt from Forbes Health, June 15th 2022: Gerontologist Reviewed, Linda J. Keilman, DNP, MSN, GNP-BC, FAANP

If you have a senior care need, start your conversation with LiveWell today. 919-410-6148