Making Sense of IT: Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Health Centers


When Mom was younger and less frail, she insisted that she would never set foot in an old folks home and aging in place seemed like the perfect, least expensive option. But now, you’re stopping by the house more often and for more troubling reasons: checking to make sure her fridge is stocked; reminding her to take her medications; making sure she hasn’t fallen or worse, is at risk for getting lost.

Keeping up with in-home senior care can take its toll on both you and your elderly parent. And eventually, the decision to move Mom into assisted living or a nursing home where she can receive the care she needs may no longer be hers to make. But how do you decide, and, more importantly, when?

Here are signs that providing senior care at home may no longer be the best fit:

  1. The need for care has increased. If your care for Mom has gone from visiting a few times a week to bring groceries and clean the house to stopping by multiple times each day to make sure she eats, it’s possible that she needs more care than you’re able to provide and from full-time, professional caregivers.
  2. Mom recently experienced a health scare. Whether she slipped and fell at home, wandered off in the neighborhood, or suffered a heart attack or stroke, a sudden health care crisis is the right time to reevaluate whether you’ll be able to provide the level and type of care she’ll need in the future.
  3. You’re her only visitor. If Mom’s at home all the time and you’re one of her only visitors, she could be at risk for depression, anxiety, and decreased cognitive function caused by extended periods of isolation. Assisted living communities can provide a safe environment and extensive opportunities for healthy social interaction.
  4. Mom’s doctor has expressed concerns. If anyone will be able to predict Mom’s future care needs, it’s her physician. If he or she mentions that it’s not safe for your mom to be home alone because of dementia, risk of falls, nutritional concerns, or another condition, you may need to look into a different option – such as a professional, caring assisted living community or nursing home care.

Understanding Your Senior Care Options

If you decide that providing in-home senior care is no longer the best choice, learn more about the other options available to your mother and your family:

  1. Assisted living: Mom will receive support with daily tasks, such as dressing and medication management, but will continue to live quite independently.
  2. Memory care: Specialized staff and a secure environment will help her receive the care she needs if she suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  3. Nursing home: If your mom is extremely ill or frail, she can receive 24-hour care from a full-time team of health care professionals.

Before making this big decision, speak with your mom’s physician or a geriatric specialist for more information.


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