4 Signs It’s Time for 24-Hour Care… and What to Do Next

Each year, countless families must confront a series of difficult questions: “Does my senior parent or family member need more care? How much? Do they only need occasional support… or do they need round-the-clock help? Where do I begin?”

Acknowledging that it’s time to explore assisted living options is often a daunting process. For older people, coming to terms with one’s own limitations can be stressful and dispiriting. Similarly, many adult children have difficulty accepting the signs of a parent’s physical decline – or the range of emotions that it may bring.

While these feelings are natural, they should not discourage you from planning for the future. Finding the right level of care for an aging family memeber can dramatically improve their quality of life. By recognizing crucial signs that 24-hour care has – or will – become necessary, you can avoid having to make rushed decisions and find a senior living community that offers the best support for your family.

Instability and Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors – each year causing more than three million visits to the emergency room and almost one million hospitalizations. Older adults naturally experience a loss of muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia, which alters their balance and makes falling more common. Blood pressure changes, vision or hearing impairment, and light-headedness as a side effect of medication can also make navigating a home environment risky.

Falls at home are a strong indicator that a safer living environment should be pursued. Assisted living communities with 24/7 care offer a secure setting where older adults can go about their daily lives with greater confidence.

Because these communities can be quite different in their offerings, having questions ready when touring a prospective community helps ensure safety can be prioritized. Some pointed questions to ask are…

As you assess a senior living setting, look for safety features like furniture specifically designed for older adults and common areas that are well-lit and clutter-free. Private residences should have well-placed grab bars, smooth floors or inset area rugs to prevent stumbles, accessible bathroom design, and be supported by attentive hospitality staff to keep the home clean and free of obstacles.

Difficulty with Meal Preparation

Navigating the kitchen and its hidden hazards becomes more difficult with age. Older adults, especially those with underlying health conditions, often struggle with common tasks like reaching for ingredients from the back of the cupboard or lifting heavy baking dishes from the cabinet. Even standing in front of a hot stove or oven for an extended time can be a challenge.

As a result, many seniors cook less at home and fall into poor eating habits at a time in their lives when proper nutrition is of the utmost importance. If you notice a family member’s diet is sporadic and no longer well-rounded, it’s a strong indication this basic need is not being met.

Many assisted living communities offer flavorful, nutritious dining that promotes targeted nutrition for seniors. Some questions to ask when considering the culinary offerings in assisted living are…

Ideally, try to incorporate a meal into your tour so you can review the menu options, take in a typical dining experience of residents, and let your taste buds guide you towards a setting that brings joy and nourishment to mealtime.

Finding Support for Memory Care

Nearly 6 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. While progression unfolds over many stages, it’s important to recognize upon diagnosis that Alzheimer’s and related dementia conditions will advance, and very likely make specialized care beyond the home imperative.

Today, memory care in many senior living communities is helping those with these conditions live engaging, meaningful, and joyful lives. Here are some questions that can help you find the memory care setting that makes every moment count…

Caregiver Burnout

If you provide care for an aging parent or family member, it is important to remember that asking for help is normal and necessary. In fact, it can be transformative for both you and the person you care for.

A report by the AARP revealed that 40% of those who care for an aging family member experience emotional distress – 20% report physical ailments relating to their care duties. Unchecked, these stresses can lead to caregiver burnout – a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that comes from prolonged periods of feeling overwhelmed.

Avoiding burnout is vital for both caregivers and those they care for. Some signs you may be experiencing caregiver burnout are…

Some senior living communities offer expert consultations that help family members process their experiences, as well as support groups where family members can express fears and concerns, share coping tips and strategies, and receive emotional comfort to guide them through a difficult stage of life.

What to Do Next

If you have noticed or experienced any of the above warning signs, it may indicate a need for a more sustainable care plan.

Begin with a frank yet respectful discussion with your elder about your concerns. If possible, seek out a local senior living advisor to help you evaluate and connect with nearby assisted living communities.

A trusted primary care doctor can also provide insight into your family member’s care requirements, and how they might change in the coming months and years. By being aware of their heightened needs, you gain valuable time – without undue influence of emergency or mishap – to consider your options.

Through careful observation and honest conversation, you’ll be able to confidently search for a senior living community that will provide the care, comfort, safety, companionship, and peace of mind your family so richly deserves.

Coterie Senior Living is the operator of luxury senior living communities in New York City and San Francisco. We seek to redefine senior living by delivering an exceptional lifestyle for our residents, and by providing older adults and families with the information they need to thrive in the next stage of life.


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