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When To Take Action

Bethesda Senior Living Communities are heavily populated with retirees who chose to move here to enjoy an active life among like-minded adults in a secure and peaceful setting. But not everyone is the same. Many seniors fear such a move. Some will resist it at all costs. Others may go about their daily lives utterly unaware that they are no longer providing for their own health and personal safety.  Still others may have come to rely on the assistance of family members over time to the point where this care has eclipsed all other needs in the family members’ lives. If any of these latter descriptions sound like a senior in your life, it may be time to talk to them about senior living care.

This is not a discussion anyone should be afraid of having. An overwhelming majority of retirees living in our Bethesda Senior Living Communities are happier than they expected to be, and the relief their safety and happiness gives to their family members can’t be measured. But the discussion can be difficult to begin. Knowing when and how to begin the discussion is the best key to a successful conversation. Allow us to offer some suggestions that may help pave the way.

When

If your loved one is no longer safe living at home alone, the time for the discussion has arrived. That said, the clues can be subtle. Any busy person might leave a door open or a burner on. But if they don’t recognize it quickly, or if it happens more than once, their safety is no longer certain.

How does your loved one look on the stairs? Does he maintain a good center of balance? Is she tiring halfway up the flight? Is he forgetting why he started up the stairs in the first place?

Is your loved one getting in and out of the bath or shower on his own? Are you detecting any odors that might lead you to question his hygiene regimen? Are her clothes on straight and properly fastened?  Is he taking his medicines as prescribed?

Does the house appear sanitary and reasonably in order? Are clothes and dishes washed? Is the refrigerator stocked? Is there any evidence your loved one is forgetting to eat?

Is she craving company? Is he becoming withdrawn? Is she capable of caring for herself and her home, but is choosing to sit and do nothing?  These are all signs that assisted living may be in order.

Signs of Memory Care needs can also be subtle at first, so you need to look closely. Does he seem confidently aware of his surroundings? Does she have extended conversations with questionable strangers? Does he sometimes get lost on the way home, or find himself not knowing how he got where he is? If any of these are occurring, you should talk with your physician right away. Memory-related impairment is degenerative, but it can be slowed significantly if quick action is taken. Residence in a 24-hour care facility may be needed to both keep your loved one safe and lengthen the time that he remains healthy and lucid.

How

Start with something you and your loved one like to do together. Something simple and ordinary. Take a walk, have a nice one-on-one dinner, or work on a craft together. Then ask gentle but probing questions about how they're doing.  In a caring tone, explain your observations and concerns. Don’t push too hard. Let the idea sink in.

In a follow-up conversation, consider involving your personal physician with your loved one present. It can be important that she see your observations aren’t personal in any way, but that the recommendations are based on your concern for her welfare.

Be willing to listen. Consider your loved one's wants and needs. Provide him with good alternatives, and let him be actively involved in making the decision if at all possible. Move forward with sensitivity and courage.