Looking after an elderly parent can start to take a toll on adult children, whether in the role of caregiver or not. At a certain point, adult children or caregivers can find themselves struggling with the task of monitoring their parent and may start to suffer signs of stress or even illness. Before this happens, there comes a time when adult children should consider finding an assisted living facility for their aging parent. It’s never an easy decision, but here are five tell-tale signs that your loved one might need a senior care facility:
1. Home safety issues. Ask honest questions about your parent’s state of health and your ability to help care for them. Is your parent becoming unsafe in their own home?
2. A tendency to wander. In the later stages of diseases like dementia, risks posed by a tendency to wander become much higher. If you notice that your elderly parent tends to try and wander off aimlessly when out shopping or even when making a trip to the bathroom, this could be a sign that a higher level of care is needed.
3. Aggression. Physical, verbal, and even sexual aggression can start to manifest in elderly patients in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other conditions. Family members and caregivers can begin to feel resentful and suffer emotionally as a result of these outbursts. If aging parents start to become outwardly aggressive, it’s time to seriously consider placement in a senior care facility.
4. “Sundowning” and escalating needs. Ask yourself if the health and safety of your parent or those around them are at risk? Do you see a trend of their care needs increasing and getting close to going beyond your own abilities to keep tabs on them? If so, it might be time to have the conversation about a senior care facility. “Sundowner syndrome“ refers to highly agitated behavior that tends to manifest later in the day. It’s a common symptom of those suffering from Alzheimer’s, and it can take a heavy toll on adult children and caregivers. When the parent’s symptoms begin to severely disrupt the family, this is likely a sign that more assistance is needed.
5. Caregiver stress. If an adult child starts to suffer pronounced fatigue, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms related to caring for an aging parent, this is a sure sign that more help is required. If the responsibility cannot be shared in a balanced way by all family members, then a senior care facility is probably the best and safest route for everyone concerned.