4 Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living

family sitting outside getting sweet tea poured for them

You’ve noticed some changes in your parent. Maybe Mom isn’t dressing like she used to, or perhaps Dad no longer plays bridge even though he used to love it. But are these signs that it’s time for assisted living?

It can be difficult to tell whether your parent could benefit from assisted living or not. Here are four signs that it might be time to consider making the move.

Do You Think Your Parent Might Need Assisted Living? Here Are the Signs to Look For

1. An untidy home

If your parent’s home is messy and unkempt, this could be a warning sign.

Of course, everyone has a bit of clutter in their house. This is more in reference to piles of dirty laundry, overflowing trash, stacks of dirty dishes, etc.

If you’re noticing excessive messes, it may be a sign your parent is ready for assisted living.

Why is this a sign? A big mess doesn’t mean that your parent no longer cares about the cleanliness of their home. Rather, it’s much more likely that they can’t physically keep up with the hassle of daily chores.

How can assisted living help? Assisted living communities typically offer housekeeping and linen services as part of their services and amenities.


Learn more about assisted living services and amenities with our Assisted Living Guide.


2. Expired foods and evidence of a diet that consists primarily of convenience foods (i.e. frozen dinners) and fast foods

On your last visit with your parent, did you notice that they’re eating more fast food or microwave meals than they used to?

A trip through the drive-thru every now and then is nothing to raise alarm. But if your parent used to enjoy cooking but now turns more and more to quick, convenient food, it can be another sign.

Why is this a sign? Discover what’s at the root of their new interest in convenience foods. It may be that they no longer want to cook for themselves or that they’re having trouble using appliances and getting around the kitchen.

How can assisted living help?: Whether they’re no longer able to prepare meals or simply no longer enjoy it, communities provide dining services to fit residents’ preferences (and, of course, their tastes).

3. Decline in personal hygiene habits

Pay attention to how your parent is dressed. Are they wearing clean clothes? Have they brushed their hair and teeth?

If you notice a decline in their personal hygiene, it could be another indicator.

Why is this a sign? If your parent is no longer taking care of themselves, this could be sign it’s time for assisted living as it might be because they’re physically struggling. But you might want to talk with their doctor, as it could also indicate dementia or depression.

How can assisted living help? If they need it, residents can receive assistance with daily activities like dressing, cooking, transportation or bathing.

4. Withdrawing from favorite social organizations, church groups and hobbies

Did your parent recently stop doing something they love? Have they stopped visiting their friends? This is another red flag.

Why is this a sign? Like a decline in hygiene, this could be an indication of depression and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, it might also be as simple as they no longer feel comfortable driving to see their friends, or have fallen out of touch due to distance.

How can assisted living help? With regular events and activities, there are plenty of opportunities to make friends in assisted living communities. Your parent won’t be forced to participate, but they will have the option to socialize if they so choose.


Related: Ask the Expert: Delaying Assisted Living


Assisted Living: When It’s Time…

If more than one or two of these could be used to describe your parent’s current situation, your concerns about their safety might be warranted. It’s probably time to consider assisted living.

Some people view this as a negative, as if their parents lives will change for the worse. However, assisted living is likely the best place for them. There, they will have access to convenient services, nutritious, tasty meals and plenty of opportunities to socialize. In other words, assisted living will make their life—and yours—much easier and more convenient.

Next Steps

The best next step to take is to encourage your parent to schedule an appointment with their family physician or to allow you to do that for them. Together you can share your concerns with the doctor and ask for their advice.

If assisted living is recommended, it’s time for you and your parent to evaluate the options for assisted living communities. Read more about the process in this easy-to-follow guide to assisted living.

You’re also welcome to contact us if you need help understanding the senior care options that are available in the Columbus area. Our team will be happy to help answer your questions and connect you and your parent with the necessary resources.