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Five Warning Signs It May Be Time for Assisted Living for an Aging Parent

It can be hard, as an adult child, to watch your parents age and start to struggle. You worry about them falling or neglecting their health or being unable to get out of the house. If you’re in this situation, you may have wondered: is it time to move mom or dad to assisted living? 

“There isn’t one individual signal that tells you it’s time to move to an assisted living community,” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. “It’s a case-by-case situation, and it’s a decision that you need to make based on your heart, as well as your head. It’s important to take a hard look at your parents’ living situation, their abilities and their health and come to a decision that best meets their needs and keeps them safe.”

Too often, Kristine says, both aging parents and adult children can be in denial about the need for assisted living. “Adult children may brush off warning signs because they don’t want to think about their parents aging, while senior parents may know in their hearts that they need help, but they don’t want to accept the reality. It can also be difficult if you want to broach the subject with your mom or dad but know that they will fight you every step of the way.”

Although you and your parents will be the only ones who can truly tell if assisted living is the right choice, here are some signs to watch for that might spur a conversation about moving to an assisted living community.

Five Signs to Watch For

1. Mom or dad’s health is getting worse. 

According to the AARP®, more than 70 million seniors over the age of 50 have one or more chronic conditions like heart disease, dementia or diabetes. As these people age, they will end up needing an increasing amount of medical attention and will more than likely need assistance in order to care for themselves. Then, of course, the potential for emergencies such as falls increases simply because getting older makes us frailer. 

If you’ve noticed that your parent’s health seems to be worse than usual (for some time now), or you’re noticing issues with medication or there have been more than a few late-night trips to the emergency room, it may be time to look into assisted living. 

2. You’re noticing issues with their finances. 

It can be difficult for many seniors to keep up with financial responsibilities. Bills can pile up because aging seniors can become overwhelmed by the responsibility, are depressed and can’t be motivated to make payments or are unable to afford payments. Diseases like Alzheimer’s can cause people to forget about bills and make it nearly impossible to handle numbers. Unfortunately, seniors can also become the target of scammers (whether through the Internet, telemarketers or even family members), which makes them vulnerable and unable to care for themselves. 

Look around your parent’s home for signs of financial issues, like piles of unopened bills or unusually high credit card balances. If you’re on their bank accounts, be sure to look at their activity – is there anything that seems concerning? Whether or not your parent is able to handle finances, it’s important to have a discussion with them about powers of attorney and how they would like their affairs to be handled in the event of an emergency. 

3. Your parent is becoming increasingly isolated and lonely. 

Senior isolation is a big problem in the United States. When aging adults choose to remove themselves from social interaction, they can actually become ill – very ill. Here are just some of the health issues that are associated with isolation:

  • Depression: Not having friends or a sense of purpose can cause depression, which increases a senior’s risk of developing heart disease and dementia. 
  • Addiction: Aging adults who are isolated can develop dangerous health habits like smoking, prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse. 
  • Mortality: Studies have shown that seniors who are isolated have poorer qualities of life and tend to die earlier than their more social counterparts. 

4. Their living space is untidy and less-than-fresh. 

A messy house can signal that mom or dad really shouldn’t be living on their own anymore. The causes can be anything from the senior not being physically able to clean to them not noticing the state of their home due to cognitive decline. While a little mess never hurt anyone, things like unwashed dishes, spoiled food and unsanitary surroundings can cause disease and illness fairly quickly. One good indication that your loved one needs more than a little help is if their refrigerator is in a sorry state. Are there mounds of old take-out boxes or expired food? Are there moldy or spoiled items that they may still be eating? An assisted living community may be a good option at this point because the staff can handle all the chores, cleaning and cooking. 

5. He or she is frail and not attending to personal hygiene. 

If your parent is looking messy, has a bad odor or is looking thinner than usual, this may be a sign that they don’t want to or can’t take care of themselves. Perhaps he or she isn’t bathing as often as they should or doing laundry. This can be caused by mobility issues or cognitive decline. 

“Although it can be a hard decision to make the move to assisted living, it can actually be one of the best decisions you or your loved one can make,” says Kristine. “Assisted living communities like Waterstone at Wellesley are designed specifically to meet the needs of aging seniors, allowing them to receive the assistance they need so they can live as independently as possible. Our community has professional nurses and caregivers on-site 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, which means that help is always close at hand. Our residents receive help with tasks of daily living, and benefit from a wide variety of engaging activities, lively social engagement and so much more. We’re designed to make this stage of life enjoyable and safe, and it’s our honor to do so.”

For more information about when it might be time to move yourself or a loved one into assisted living, or to learn more about how we provide distinctive and luxurious independent and assisted living options for seniors in Wellesley, MA, please contact us at 781.235.1614.

Beautiful Riverfront Community

Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities. 

Celebrating Dynamic Living

Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.

Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors. 

Confidence of Care

The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone.

For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.