You have observed your father – a once active and gregarious man – transform into a shadow of his former self after he suffered a series of strokes. He walks with a wobble and can no longer drive. His balance is poor. He occasionally repeats himself and forgets crucial things such as turning off the kitchen faucet and taking his medicine.
Since your mother died five years earlier, you have done your best to support your father, checking on him a couple of times a week and keeping him company. However, your father’s physical and mental limitations make you realize that you can only do so much. It may no longer be safe for your father to live on his own.
Mobility issues, difficulty with self-care
Here are some signs that it may be time for your father to move to an assisted living facility:
- Mobility and transportation struggles: Perhaps your parent is having difficulty getting around the house or no longer feels comfortable driving and therefore needs assistance.
- An increase in falls: Getting dressed, walking down the stairs, difficulty getting into or out of the bathtub, and unsure footing may lead to falls which can result in broken bones, fractures and even death.
- Difficulty with washing, bathing, showering and grooming: A lack of personal hygiene is a sign that your parent may be struggling with self-care. Clothing may be dirty, and infrequent bathing results in body odor, and a decline in appearance; all may be signs that he needs more assistance.
- Difficulty preparing meals: Unhealthy eating habits, spoiled food in the refrigerator, take-out boxes, and weight loss may be signs that he now finds it difficult to make his meals.
- Housecleaning and laundry challenges: Household chores may prove difficult, and are not completed. A messy house, unwashed dishes in the sink, difficulty getting up/down stairs where the washing machine is located.
- Difficulty managing finances. He may be evidencing an inability to keep up with financial responsibilities. You might find an increasing number of unopened mail and unpaid bills.
- Forgetting to take medications: Your parent forgets to consistently take his medications or has difficulty swallowing them.
If your father is exhibiting some of the behaviors described above, now may be the time to have a discussion with your father about moving into an assisted living facility.
Getting regular attention
Your family wants what is best for your loved one, and you know that your father faces risks and hazards if he continues to live on his own. Maybe he does not need to be persuaded. Have a talk with him and let him know that he will get regular attention, have fewer responsibilities, will be less isolated, and will have the chance to participate in more outings and activities at an assisted living facility.