Ask the Expert: Delaying Assisted Living

senior hands playing with puzzle pieces

Dear Sarah,

Our entire family knows my mother needs to move to assisted living. She forgets to take her medications, and she gets vertigo very easily. When I’ve asked her about bruises, she has no idea where she gets them. And even though she gets Meals on Wheels, I don’t think she’s eating right.

We’ve all considered whether she could move in with one of us, but those of us who still live in the Columbus area don’t have houses that are big enough or work too much.

The problem is that Mom doesn’t want to move. She still believes she can maintain and live in the house she shared with my father.

But, recently, she had a spell of vertigo and fell. Although she was just bruised, she could have easily broken a hip.

What should we do?



Consequences of Delaying a Move to Assisted Living

Dear Beth,

Many families like yours are struggling with this issue with their older loved ones. The most important advice I can convey to you is not to wait until there is a crisis that forces a move. Many residents tell us they wish they had moved sooner.

One of the fears older adults have about moving is fear of change, which they may voice by saying, “I don’t want to live with older people,” “How will I make friends?” and “How can I trust the staff?” Another is fear of abandonment. They are worried you won’t visit them or include them in family activities if they live somewhere else.

However, if you go along with your parent’s delaying tactics, they not only may suffer a debilitating illness or injury, their decline in physical well-being may mean they may be forced to move into a less-than-optimal assisted living community that is either farther away from family or not highly rated. Alternatively, they may no longer qualify for assisted living and miss out on assisted living amenities, such as social activities, entertainment, and learning opportunities.


Which is better for your parent—assisted living or staying in their house?


Assisted living centers safeguard your parent’s health and safety by providing emergency response systems, medication management, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant buildings, and on-site nursing.

If you’re interested in starting a conversation with your mother, our blog has tips to help. In addition, I’d recommend you bring your mother over to any of our central Ohio assisted living centers, such as Mill RunNew AlbanyPickaway, and Riverview. She can meet residents and staff, visit an assisted living suite, participate in activities, and experience the carefree lifestyle. If she wants, she can even stay for a nutritious, restaurant-style meal (our chefs are the best!).

You can call the center closest to you, but if you have any questions for me, please call (614) 527-3000; I’d be delighted to help.