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Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland

Deciding When It’s Time for Your Parent to Move to Assisted Living

One of the most difficult tasks is deciding when it’s time that an elderly parent should no longer be living home alone.

“Making a decision to transition from independent living to assisted living can be very difficult,” says Christine Nelson, MSN, RN, a geriatric nurse practitioner in Lakewood Hospital’s SeniorCare Assessment Center. “However, in some cases, it is may be the best option to keep your aging parent safe and healthy.”

An assisted living facility is a community for seniors who cannot live independently. They provide mobility assistance and daily living care for bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming and eating. Generally, however, assisted living facilities do not have 24-hour access to doctors and nurses on-site.

“Watch for clues to determine if it’s safe for your parent to remain living at home alone,” says Nelson. For example, is there evidence that they are not eating properly or may have fallen down? Are they wearing the same clothes? Are they grooming themselves? Is the house being kept clean? Are they operating appliances safely? Are they taking their medications as they should be?

“Instead of assisted living, you may decide that in-home assisted living or adult day care are appropriate options,” says Nelson.

“Try to talk though these issues with your parent,” says Nelson. “Be considerate of their feelings and the changes that they are dealing with. Be patient and try to discuss options as situations present themselves.”

Get help from your doctor when talking about medical issues. “Be positive and let your parents know how much you care about them and want to help,” she says.
Moving a parent into assisted living is one of the hardest and most heart-wrenching decisions of your life. “But if it keeps your parent healthy and safe and perhaps even happy, then it is probably for the best for the parent, the caregiver and the family,” says Nelson.

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