The transition to assisted living is a natural progression for many older adults, but knowing when to move isn't always easy. Whether you're considering assisted living for yourself or a loved one, evaluating the situation and being proactive for the future can help you decide when the time is right. Here are some steps to take when considering a move to assisted living.
Your current physical and mental condition can impact your decision on when to move to assisted living. If you've noticed a decline, you could benefit from the support of assisted living. Some signs you or a loved one could benefit from assisted living include:
Assisted living is ideal for seniors who need a little help with daily activities but want to maintain independence. Even if you're still getting by on your own, you might benefit from an assisted living community if you're having more difficulty living alone or could live a more independent life with some assistance.
Even if you're taking care of your basic needs on your own at home, consider the next few years. If you're noticing that things are getting more difficult to do by yourself, moving to assisted living now can be a proactive move. You'll already be settled into the community if you experience a sudden decline. Anticipating your future needs and moving now lets you take your time to choose the best community for you, downsize your belongings and make the move before you need a lot of help.
Leaving the home you know can be emotional, but looking at the living situation logically can help you decide if it's a safe location for you going forward. Many homes aren't built for accessibility, which can make it more challenging to age in place as your mobility declines. Stairs, narrow doorways and small bathrooms can make it difficult to navigate a home with walkers, canes or wheelchairs if your physical condition changes. Retrofitting an old home to accommodate those things is often expensive. Assisted living communities are designed with accessibility in mind, and you have staff members available 24/7 to assist with things like transitions or going to the bathroom.
If you've never been to an assisted living community, you might have inaccurate assumptions about what they are. You also might not fully understand the benefits of assisted living. If you're considering the move, schedule a visit to a community. Seeing the amenities and meeting people who live there could help you make your decision or feel more at peace about the option.
The financial aspect is always a factor when deciding to move. Evaluating and organizing your finances helps you plan for your future housing needs. Assisted living offers a consistent monthly rate you can anticipate for easy budgeting. While the monthly amount might be higher than a mortgage payment, you also get lots of services built into the price. Owning a home comes with uncertainty and often fluctuating expenses. You're responsible for all maintenance and repairs, which can get costly. Research the cost of assisted living communities in your area and compare those numbers to your budget and your expenses with your current home to help you prepare.
Deciding to move to assisted living is often shared between loved ones. Your close family members can offer their perspectives on your need for assisted living. They might be able to share things they've noticed about your situation or point out benefits you hadn't considered. If you're deciding on behalf of someone else, bring other trusted family members into the discussion to help you explore the benefits of assisted living and decide if it's the best option. Even if you've done your research, you might not consider different perspectives on someone else's decision.
Your health care providers can also offer insight into the move. They understand your needs from a medical perspective and can explain how your situation might change in the future. They can also share how an assisted living facility could help you and what services are offered that could benefit your situation.
No matter how much time you spend evaluating the situation, one of the most powerful steps to take when making any major decision is to pray about it. Asking for guidance from God through prayer can help you make your decision. Prayer can also give you peace about the situation and your decision. Pray intentionally about the situation and ask God for guidance. Prayer can be an important element throughout the decision-making process. Even after you've decided to move into an assisted living community, praying over the decision can help you maintain peace around the situation and feel comfort as you move.