Until you find yourself in a position where you have to begin caring for an aging loved one, you don’t realize how common it is for family members to be active caregivers. According to a report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 48 million adults are currently family caregivers and 3.4 million people under the age of 18 help assist with that care as well.
As people age, it’s likely that physical or cognitive conditions may affect their ability to live independently. The report notes that 58.5 percent of seniors between the ages of 85 and 89 require a family member’s support because of health issues; after 90, that number increases to 74 percent. Of course, there are always situations where individuals need assistance even earlier because of an accident or an illness.
At some point, a senior’s care needs will usually surpass a family member’s caregiving abilities. However, family members may second-guess whether that’s the case, or they may not even be able to recognize the signs at all. If you’re wondering if it’s time to consider a skilled nursing facility or long-term care center for your loved one, keep reading for some telltale signs.
Significant Memory Loss
Memory is one of the first things to be affected as we age. Misplacing one’s keys or remote is one thing, but when memory loss starts to impact larger aspects of a person’s life is when it’s time to worry. If your loved one is forgetting how to drive or will have bouts of memory loss where they forget where they are, it’s time to consider a center that will support and monitor your loved one 24/7.
The Mayo Clinic shared the early signs of dementia and memory loss, which include:
- Repeating the same questions over and over again
- Forgetting common words in conversations
- Taking a longer time to complete common tasks, like cooking a familiar recipe
- Getting lost while walking or driving in a familiar area
- Behavioral or mood swings that occur out of nowhere
Unsafe Home Environment
Since you’re not able to be with your loved one 24/7, it’s important to pay attention to what their home looks like when you come to visit them. If you’re noticing that they are unable to keep their space up to a safe standard, it’s time for you to step in and consider moving them into a long-term care center or SNF.
This includes having electrical cords exposed, clutter out that could put them at risk for a fall, and dropped glassware, but it’s also noticing any bruises or missed medication doses as well. All of this contributes to an unsafe environment that could spell disaster if left unmanaged.
Unexplained Weight Loss
There’s nothing concerning about weight loss, but if you’re noticing that your loved one is losing weight unexpectedly and for no reason, it could be a sign of a physical or mental issue — or even both.
According to The Mayo Clinic, sudden weight loss could be the result of a few things, including:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Socioeconomic issues
- An ability to cook like usual
- Other conditions like dementia, depression, or cancer
It’s so difficult to make the choice to send your loved one to a care center, but when it’s time to consider the move, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in good hands in a safe, protected, and monitored environment that puts their care above all else.