When is the Right Time For Assisted Living?

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It’s a heart-wrenching decision. That decision being deciding your elderly mother or father can no longer effectively care for themselves. And though the family may do their best, often there comes a time when assisted living is a necessary evil.

The first thing to keep in mind is that while some are in denial, the vast majority of senior citizens may be ready to go to assisted living now, But they are holding back so as to “not deny the family of their presence.

Others may not be jumping to go, but they recognize that they can no longer take care of themselves on their own.

According to many geriatric experts, as far back as the 1960s, there was an identification of what are called activities of daily living or ADL’s.

ADL’s include:

  1.  Being able to bathe
  2.  Being able to dress oneself
  3.  Being able to go to the bathroom without assistance
  4.  Being able to get in and out of bed
  5.  Having control of your bowels
  6.  Being able to feed oneself
  7.  Being able to cook for oneself.

The ADL’s were developed by Dr. Sydney Katz, and it’s fairly easy to see where a senior fits on the independence scale by taking the first six tasks on the above list and giving one point for each activity the person can do by themselves and no points for a task that requires help.

If a person has four or more points out of six, they are fairly independent and are probably ideal candidates for an assisted living home. However, if they have three or less, a nursing home, where specialized geriatric care is available 24 hours per day is best.

To be a good candidate for an assisted living facility, IDALs, or instrumental daily activities will give a second clue as to what form of senior living is best.

IDALs include:

  •  Being able to pay your bills
  •  Being able to keep your residence clean
  •  Cooking food for yourself
  •  Being able to go out of the house on a bus or a taxi
  •  Socialization Activities

As you can readily see, while ADLs are a prime factor in the ability of a senior to be independent, IDALs are often tipping points as to a senior’s cognitive ability.

The typical background of someone who lives in an assisted living facility is a woman, around 80 years old who has recently moved from their private home and is fairly mobile.

For example, at Brightview assisted living near Forest Hill, residents may struggle with some ADLs or IDALs, so they receive the support they need while also being encouraged to engage in other activities that promote their health, and that they might not otherwise partake in when receiving care at their home.

Seniors with cognitive disorders, or who need a wheelchair are frequently not good candidates for living in an assisted living facility.

Although many residents of assisted living facilities are quite happy with the experience as meals are taken care of, there is plenty of time for socializing, there are social and exercise facilities, and seniors are protected 24 hours per day, to facilitate the move, the future resident and their family should view several facilities well in advance of the move.

Seniors should test the food, inspect the rooms, see that everything is clean and fresh, the staff seems to be friendly and above all, those living there appear to be happy.

People are much happier moving into an assisted living facility if they know what to expect and the transition is planned rather than rushed.