Did you know that 50% of nursing home residents are 85 years or older, 35% are between the ages of 75 and 84, and 15% are between 65 and 74 years of age?
Maybe you have an elderly parent who needs more care than can give them and you are wondering if they are old enough to go into a senior living community. If that’s the case, realize that there is no single age that is the perfect age for seniors to go into assisted living. There is no cut-and-dried rule like only seniors older than 85 can use an assisted living community.
That’s why we have created this guide below, which will give you more insight on what you need to watch out for when thinking about assisted living for your elderly parents.
It Isn’t the Age That Matters, but the Situation
When thinking about putting your elderly parents into an assisted living community, you shouldn’t use only their age to make the decision. This could result in a situation where your parent needs to be in a senior living community, but aren’t, because they are too ‘young’ for it.
What should dictate your decision then? Answer the questions below.
How capable are you of taking care of your elderly parents on your own without assistance? Are you worried about their health and safety? Do you stay up at night worrying about leaving them on their own in their home, waiting for an emergency call from them at any moment?
If the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes, then it’s time for you to get out of stereotypical thinking of age and senior living, and consider putting your ‘young’ elderly parent into a senior living community.
A Senior Living Community Can Provide Care and Community
The reason you would choose to put your elderly parent into a senior living community isn’t that you are lazy or entitled or shirking responsibility. Don’t put yourself down like that.
It’s about doing the right thing when it comes to your parent’s health and safety. You are only one person and you can’t keep an eye on your parent 24/7/365 no matter how much you would like to. Not only do you have to go to work and have other responsibilities, but you also have your health to worry about.
In a senior living community, you have the advantage of having a dozen pairs of eyes on your elderly parent at all times of day and night, rather than just one. And more than that, there is a whole community of seniors who are living, playing, and working in the community, creating a sense of camaraderie and friendship, which cannot be beaten.
Researchers call loneliness a ‘hidden killer’ of elderly people. Elderly people who are left on their own for long periods (which is inevitable when their children have families of their own to take care of) are more likely to suffer from depression, bad diets, and a lack of exercise.
You can’t be there for your elderly parent, but a senior living community absolutely can. There will be people their age in the community who can alleviate their loneliness.
Also, assisted living communities have many activities lined up throughout the day that your elderly parent could take part in, which means, that they will spend their time playing brain-stimulating games, rather than watching brainless television all day long or sitting and staring off into space, thinking negative repetitive thoughts.
Some Signs or Problems to Watch Out For
If you are still on the fence about putting your elderly parent into an assisted living facility, then go through the list of signs below to see if your elderly parent needs more help than you can give them.
- unable to cook or clean without assistance
- setting fires in the kitchen, leaving candles on when leaving home, or other dangerous home habits
- wandering inside and outside the house without purpose
- not able to clean or groom without assistance
- struggling with dressing up or changing clothing
- depressed, lonely, or feeling isolated
- severe memory loss
- not able to drive themselves anymore
- and more
Every senior citizen is going to be unique in the way they age. Some will have an easier time with the aging process and won’t have as many issues as others. But that doesn’t mean that there’s anything to criticize here.
All this means is that some elderly parents will need to be placed into a senior living center sooner than others. And that’s quite normal.
Remember, we are not only talking about their health and safety but yours as well. Burnout among caregivers or elderly parents is quite common, and if you are taking care of young ones, as well as your parents, then you are going to be exhausted by all this giving.
Do this for yourself as much as you are doing it for your elderly parents. Seeing them having fun with new friends, taking part in activities rather than being alone in their home, and having someone watching out for them 24/7 is going to feel so good! No guilt will be necessary.
No Right Age, Just the Right Time for Assisted Living
Don’t focus so much on the right age to put your elderly parent into a senior living community. Rather focus on what’s the right time for it, and that will differ based on many factors.
If you are interested in doing good by your parents, just like they took care of you for so long, then the better option in many cases is to find an assisted living community for them, rather than going it on your own.
Is your elderly parent suffering from dementia? Consider Bluegrass Senior Living of Sommerset, Kentucky as the ideal place for your elderly parent to spend their sunset years.
We specialize in taking care of seniors who are suffering from dementia or other memory impairments.