Is Senior Living the Right Choice? Part 2
Now that we have an idea what Personal Care is, let’s discuss how to know what some of the signs are that might indicate it is time for Senior Living. Some of these signs may not be as evident to a family member but they are something that should be discussed with our loved ones, and observed when visiting, to ensure they are safe and in the most ideal setting.
As we age, our bodies fatigue more easily and general household chores can become more demanding. Laundry, housekeeping, cooking and yardwork become a burden. This can result in spending more time in only a few rooms in the house, with clutter and dust accumulating and skipped meals, often leading to poor nutrition. Malnutrition is only one of the many issues that the elderly face. Another major concern is medication management.
It is very common for seniors, even with high cognitive function, to forget to take their medications or take the wrong quantity. They may also have difficulty in correctly placing medication orders to the pharmacy. Poor medication management can be quite dangerous and lead to serious health complications. Their general health situation further deteriorates by the inability to schedule and attend regular doctor’s appointments, have regular blood tests, or undergo needed physical therapy. This can become even more complicated due to short-term memory loss or mild cognitive impairment, common among the elderly.
Some signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are leaving the stove on, not remembering once familiar directions in driving situations, forgetting appointments, etc. This can become a frightening situation for all parties involved and can lead to an unsafe environment, especially if our loved one is living alone. Once this occurs other issues arise. Our loved one loses the ability to drive and this results in their being feeling isolated. They reluctantly become dependent on family members. As isolation increases their world shrinks and they can begin to feel that their neighborhood is a less safe place to live, further exacerbating their lack of socialization.
Once our loved one can no longer drive the tendency toward social isolation increases and they lose touch with friends. They have difficulty getting to church and other social gatherings and eventually lose interest in the activities they previously enjoyed. This isolation results in poor mental health and can lead to depression. Depression, in combination with cognitive impairment, poor nutrition, poor medication management and overall lack of health care management can create a “perfect storm” leading to a failure to thrive. This failure adversely impacts their activities of daily living and leads to a poor quality of life.
There are signs to look for when assessing if daily activities are suffering. Showering becomes less frequent and personal hygiene suffers. They may wear the same clothes multiple days or even sleep in them because it is too difficult to change. Sometimes this can be worsened due to the layout of their home, especially if it has steps or stairs, which raises the concern of risk of falls.
As we age, muscle tone in our ankles can diminish. This can lead to a kind of dragging of the feet, causing us to trip on the smallest obstructions—a rug, for example. Frequent falls are an indication that our loved one is having trouble with balance. Providing a walker is not a 100% solution. Orthopedic surgeons cite many examples where seniors had walkers but didn’t use them, thinking they could walk a few steps without them, then fell and broke a hip. Recovery for hip surgery is painful, long and tedious, often without a good result. If your loved one is experiencing a series of falls, a health assessment by a qualified medical professional should occur ASAP! This assessment may reveal the need to correct a variety of health issues, often recommending consideration of a more safe and secure home in a senior living facility.
A state licensed Personal Care Home takes all of these lifestyle factors into account and provides the closest thing to a home setting possible, free from the worries associated with living alone. For example, while living in their own or shared apartment, medication is managed by a medication technician who orders all prescribed medications and provides them to the resident at the proper time of day and in the exact amount prescribed. Three nutritious meals are prepared and served daily in a restaurant dining style, with a variety of meal options. Each resident has a detailed Support Plan, administered by a caregiver, that includes regular grooming/showers, dressing, incontinence care, scheduling medical appointments, weekly laundry, and mobility assistance, if needed. Additionally, residents are encouraged to interact socially through a wide variety of daily recreational activities. Many residents remark that they should have moved-in years ago because the environment is so stimulating, friendly and healthy. They say; “Its like being on a cruise ship without the ocean.”
Your loved one is invited to “take a cruise” with Oaks of Bensalem and enjoy a safe and secure, high quality lifestyle!
In my next blog we will discuss how to approach the subject of: “Making the Move to a Personal Care Home” with our loved ones. For more information or questions about options for your loved one, please call me at 215-752-9140 and I will be happy to assist in any way I can!
Brenda Brolly, Marketing & Sales Director