Every person must be able to perform certain basic tasks if they expect to live independently. These abilities, when assessed by health care professionals, are referred to as Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. If your elderly loved one lives in an independent living community, it’s important to be aware of their ability to perform ADLs and incorporate a higher level of assistance in their senior care when it becomes necessary.
ADLs are divided into two categories: Basic and Instrumental.
Basic ADLs include:
- Moving and ambulating
- Feeding oneself
- Dressing and undressing
- Personal hygiene, bathing
- Bathroom assistance
Instrumental ADLs include:
- Transportation and shopping
- Finance management
- Meal preparation
- Communication management
- Medication and health management
It’s important to become familiar with these skills and notice whether any are becoming too much of a challenge for your elderly loved one.
Signs Your Elderly Loved One Needs Senior Care
You can ask a health care provider to give you specific warning signs to look for if you’re wondering whether a family member needs assistance, but there are common observations you can make to assess whether it’s time to consider a higher level of care.
Pay attention to your loved one’s overall hygiene. Are they dressing and grooming themselves as carefully and thoroughly as they should? Are their clothes clean? Is their hair washed and brushed as nicely as you would expect?
Look around their house to see if it’s as neat and clean as it should be. A buildup of dust, or the occasional pile of junk mail, is normal for anyone, but are the groceries being put away properly? Are the bills getting paid? Are they taking their medications correctly?
Also notice if they’re as socially active as usual, and if they’re generally in as good a mood as they should be. If your elderly loved one is showing signs of falling behind in their activities of daily living, it can lead to a lower quality of life, frustration or depression, and can even become potentially dangerous. These are signs that it may be time for senior care.
Suggesting a Higher Level of Care
If your elderly loved one is showing signs of frustration with keeping up with daily tasks, this can give you an opportunity to start a conversation. These conversations can be very difficult to have, but a good way to minimize the shock or sadness of the subject is to bring it up early and often. If you start talking with your loved one about a long-term senior care plan while they’re still in independent living, then the door is open to talk about it again.
It’s a good idea to include your loved one’s doctor in the conversation. They can offer credible and compassionate insights. You can involve a financial advisor or a therapist as well. Also, include any family members who can be involved. The more love and support your aging parent feels, the easier these conversations will be.
Make the Transition to a Higher Level of Care
Asking your elderly loved one to uproot their life to move to senior care can be a massive challenge for them. If you take it slowly and meet with professionals who can explain the many advantages of assisted living, the transition can be eased and the benefits quickly realized.
Canterbury Court in Atlanta, Georgia, offers a continuum of care for the long term. As your loved one’s needs change over time, new services are already in place. There’s no need for stressful transitions or rushed decisions. They don’t have to uproot and start over someplace new because they’re already home.
Contact us for more information or plan a tour, and let us introduce you to all we have to offer.