More than 50% of adult children in the US help their parents with various aspects of daily living such as home repairs, errands, and housework. They lend a hand because their parents need help. But what if your parents need more assistance than you can give?
Admitting that they need help is not easy for people as they age, but there are tell-tale signs that they need more help at home. You can be pretty certain it’s not going to be your mom or dad that tells you.
Generally, most seniors have a very strong desire to remain independent and retain control of their own lives as long as possible. They might downplay or even hide any issues. However, nobody knows your mom and dad like you do, so you’re in the best position to decide whether they’re just having an off day or there’s something more serious going on.
The following list of common signs may suggest that your parents could benefit from assisted living. Once you’ve determined that this is necessary, you can look into ALTCS eligibility to help pay for that additional care.
Signs That It Might be Time to Consider Assisted Living
1. Neglecting to Keep Their Home Clean and Well Maintained
Your parents may be known for the pride they take in their garden and home, so a lapse in the care they take could be a sign that they’re struggling to cope.
If you suspect that they’ve become overwhelmed with their responsibilities, offer to help with some of the tasks. When a home is filled with clutter, the garden overgrown, and home maintenance issues aren’t being dealt with, it increases the risk of injuries or falls.
However, if it looks like your parents are struggling to regain control, even with some help from you, it might be a good time to suggest assisted living.
2. Not Paying Their Bills or Paying Too Much
It’s perfectly understandable that your parents might forget to pay the odd bill or possibly even pay too much. However, if the bills are starting to pile up and your loved ones are making other financial errors, it’s only natural to feel concerned.
Managing money is a hallmark of independence, so this might be a difficult conversation for you to have. Nevertheless, it’s important that you help your parents understand they can accept help handling their finances.
3. Losing Weight
Weight loss can be linked to a variety of issues, such as depression, grief, or fear of leaving the house or driving. When you visit your parents, keep a lookout for empty fridges, spoiled food, or an unwillingness to leave the house to go grocery shopping.
If you can identify such issues, find ways to help your parents manage their stress and health.
4. Inappropriate or Uncharacteristic Behavior
This section covers a wide number of issues such as forgetting to dress properly, odd conversations, decreased personal hygiene, paranoia, taking too much medication by accident, and increased forgetfulness.
4. A Serious Medical Diagnosis
There are a number of conditions that can affect a loved one’s ability to care for themselves and cope with day-to-day activities. Alzheimer’s and dementia are just two examples. A permanent caregiving solution would be assisted living, and it could slow the condition’s progression and ensure their quality of life.
Of course, you’ll be able to help out in the early stages of such conditions, but a qualified professional will be able to provide additional support and compassion.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a community where older adults can receive personalized care in a residential setting. Assisted living is for people whose health or well-being required a higher level of support. In addition, assisted living also provides social engagement and a healthy lifestyle.
Whether a person is eligible for such care is determined through a health assessment by the community, according to state regulations.
The most common assisted living services offer the following:
- Medication management
- Assistance with using the bathroom, dressing, and grooming
- Transportation services
- Social programs and activities
In assisted living facilities staff will be on hand 24/7 to help with safety, care and support. Residents are encouraged to bring personal items and furniture to make it feel more like home.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
The cost of assisted living varies from one community to another. It can depend on the size of the residence, type of services needed, and even where the community is located. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2019, the national median monthly rate for assisted living is $4,051 or around $135 per day. This sounds like a lot, but it’s less expensive than home health or nursing care.
It’s important to note that Medicare or Medicaid doesn’t typically cover the cost of assisted living. Most assisted living residents pay for this kind of care from their personal resources or with help from the limited coverage provided by long-term care insurance. In many states, home and community-based waivers are also available for low-income residents.
If you’re worried about your parents or aging loved ones, the best first step is often a gentle conversation. Make them aware of your concerns and let them know what support is available to them.