In the New Year, is it time to consider a senior community?

By From page A5 | February 01, 2013

Six signs your loved one might need new living arrangements

WOODLAND — Holiday visits, filled with lots of quality time with family, can bring to light the increasing and changing needs of aging parents and family members. After the holiday season, senior living communities like Palm Gardens see a rise in inquiries from concerned adult children looking for help and answers for their aging parents.

“When a visit home leaves a loved one concerned about an aging family member’s health, safety and quality of life, it may be time to evaluate the situation and determine what accommodations or care are necessary in the coming year,” said Laura Wayman for Palm Gardens.

How can we tell when seniors might need the care of a senior living community? Look for these signs;

* Depression or low mood. How are they emotionally? Do you observe changes in their activity level? Are they seeing friends and partaking in activities they have loved for years?

* Weight loss. Do they show decreased appetite or lack of interest in food and cooking? Illness or mobility issues could be keeping them from eating properly.

* Decreased personal care. Are they taking care of themselves physically? Look to see if they are keeping up with basic daily routines such as bathing, brushing teeth and wearing clean clothes.

* Unkempt home. What shape is the home in? Watch for stained carpets, unemptied garbage, soiled counters and floors. If the home needs cleaning and repair, the job might be more than seniors can handle without help.

* Loss of mobility. Are they having difficulty moving around their home, or going up and down stairs? Having trouble walking or being unsteady on their feet not only limits mobility but also puts them at risk for falls.

* Personality changes. Are you noticing different attitudes and habits? Memory loss, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, poor judgment, misplacing items, disorientation, rapid mood swings, increased apathy or passiveness are all early warning signs of Alzheimer’s. A doctor’s evaluation can help determine the cause and treatment of these symptoms.

It is important to understand the many choices that make up the new face of senior living in the 21st century. Here is a breakdown defining the differences in the level of senior living options offered.

In Independent Living Communities, active older adults continue to enjoy private dwellings, control over their own schedules, and freedom to come and go as they choose. Social networking, optional events, special interest clubs, and conveniently located services may be offered on site, as well as medical, dietary and other assistance when needed.

An Assisted Living Residence offers much of the freedom of an independent living community with a special combination of housing, personalized support services and health care designed to meet the needs — both scheduled and unscheduled — of those who require help with daily activities.

Memory Care Communities provide specially trained staff, secure facilities, and cognitive and physical therapies to help soothe and relieve those with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia illnesses.

Special to The Enterprise

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