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Assisted Living for Seniors: the Right Time to Move

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Last Updated on March 29, 2022 by ashley.davis


One of the most challenging and difficult decisions a family can make is when to consider Assisted Living. Being prepared ahead of time can make the decision easier and stress-free. Let’s take a look at what to notice, how to decide, and best practices for moving to Assisted Living for Seniors.

Assisted Living for Seniors: What to Look for

Problems with a family member can get out of hand if you are not paying attention. This can be a challenge if you aren’t living in the same community, but there are ways to check-in. Here are some red flags that things may not be going as well as expected. One or more of these problems may indicate a need for Assisted Living:

Frequent falls

Falling is the leading cause of death and disability for people over the age of 65. The consequences can be devastating. Falls show that something is wrong. Find out why your loved one is falling and take the steps necessary to mitigate this problem.

Problems with activities of daily living

This includes trouble dressing, bathing, cleaning, or cooking. A number of issues can contribute to these difficulties. Poor management of medical problems, or trouble taking medications as prescribed. Cognitive problems like dementia can make it very difficult to manage independently.

Mismanagement of medications

Not taking medications or taking medications incorrectly can lead to serious problems and hospitalization. Assess whether your family member is taking medications as prescribed. See if there is a med box set up and if so, check against prescriptions. Look to see if there are expired medications.

Poor nutrition

Take a look at your loved one’s fridge if you can. If you notice spoiling food and/or an empty fridge, there could be a bigger problem. Perhaps your family member isn’t able to get out and get groceries, or they are having difficulty cooking

Memory problems

If your loved one confused or overwhelmed by simple tasks? Are they forgetting names or where they are going? Time to get a cognitive evaluation by a physician.

Poor driving

Driving is considered a pillar of independence. But when someone isn’t safe it can have a huge impact on daily tasks. How do they get to appointments or shopping? What if they won’t give up their driver’s license and insist on continuing to drive?

If you can’t personally be with your family member to make an assessment, ask a friend to check-in. Or hire a geriatric care manager to do an evaluation and report on their findings. If you have health care power of attorney, reach out to health providers. They will often notice when things are going well. There are additional factors to consider when opting for Assisted Living that you may need to consider.

Assisted Living for Seniors
: When Is It Time to Move?

A senior father and his daughter at an Assisted Living facility

As a family member starts to need care, it is possible for someone to remain at home with in-home care. This is accomplished through a combination of home health (time-limited and covered by Medicare) and personal care. Personal care is an out of pocket cost unless your family member has a long-term care insurance policy. So, where is the tipping point at which you would consider Assisted Living?

  • Care in the home becomes too complicated or unsafe to manage. If your family member begins to need nursing access or transfers in and out of bed, it may be too much for caregivers to safely handle. There may be medical needs such as diabetes and wound care, or breathing treatments.
  • The cost of in-home care exceeds that of Assisted Living. At $20-$40 an hour and higher, the cost of private or live-in caregivers may become too expensive. Especially if your loved one requires anything close to 24-hour care. Costs can soar and it may make more sense for someone to be in Assisted Living where they can be cared for safely and more affordably. 
  • The caregiving strain on the family is too much. It is not unusual for family members to assume much of the caregiving duties for a loved one. This can have significant economic impacts from lost wages to difficulty getting back into the workforce. Not to mention the psychological and emotional impact of caregiving. 
  • Rehabilitation after an accident or illness is not going as well as expected. Each time an older person has surgery or hospitalization, recovery may not be complete. Even after a stay in a rehab facility, a person may never get back to their previous level of functioning. A safer alternative to going home may be Assisted Living. 

How to Have the Conversation

A daughter talking to her senior mother about moving to Assisted Living
We may like to tell our loved ones what to do because we know best! Take a step back and realize that even ailing people have free agency to make their own decisions. It is best to use tact and diplomacy. You can also share with them some great benefits of moving to Assisted Living.

Show Respect

Respect your family member’s autonomy and need for control. Pressure and intimidation will backfire. Maintain a healthy and productive relationship by showing respect for a person’s concerns, fears, and questions

Cooperation and consensus lead to good decisions

Well, most of the time! Making decisions together assures a greater chance of success. Empower your family member by giving credence to their suggestions.  

Be honest

Be honest and transparent about your concerns. Hiding behind platitudes and false assurances will only delay decisions. Discuss your concerns openly but with compassion.

Offer solutions

If your family member is resistant to the idea of Assisted Living, offer some solutions. One might be a short-term respite stay to see what Assisted Living would be like without the commitment. 

Explain what Assisted Living is

The idea of Assisted Living can be daunting and for many people. Much of the resistance can be due to a misunderstanding about what Assisted Living is and what it provides. Some people associate Assisted Living with nursing homes and nothing could be farther from the truth. Visit some reputable communities for a tour.


By following our suggestions, the decision of when to move someone to Assisted Living should be much easier. You can also check out these tips to make adjusting easier in Senior Living. Most people thrive once they get to these communities, and you can have greater peace of mind. Visit BoomersHub for information on how to pick the best Assisted Living in your community. Our senior advisors will guide you all the way!

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