We all want our loved ones to remain safe and healthy in their retirement years. It should be a time for them to enjoy the freedom and independence that comes as a reward for a lifetime of hard work and dedication. According to AARP, nearly 90% of people over age 65 want to enjoy their retirement from the comfort of their own home. For those dealing with physical ailments and responsibilities of home maintenance, living at home can sometimes be more of a danger than a benefit.
What to look for
Apart from the outward appearance of loneliness and isolation that is often brought on by living alone, what other warning signs should a loved one be on the lookout for?
1. How are they eating? Stop by for a meal with your loved ones periodically. While you are there, have a look in their refrigerator and their pantry. Do you see fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, etc.? Or do you see a lot of processed foods, soda pop, sugary breakfast cereal, and instant dinners? If so, this could be a sign that dietary needs are not being properly met and they could benefit from the balanced diet provided in a retirement community setting.
2. How clean and well-maintained is the house? If the lawn and landscaping is unkempt, or if the inside of the house is cluttered and disorganized, this could also be a warning sign. Aging loved-ones who struggle with maintaining their homes are at risk for injury that could result in hospitalization. They could benefit immensely from a retirement community setting where the maintenance is provided for them and the environment is free from injury-causing hazards.
3. Is forgetfulness becoming an issue? If you notice that your loved ones are often confused, or more forgetful than they used to be, they may be at risk. Many things can cause forgetfulness including poor nutrition and mismanagement of medications. In a retirement community setting, they not only receive balanced meals, but they can also get help to ensure that medications are taken when needed and in the right dosages.
A little help goes a long way
The Administration on Aging reports that an estimated 12% of seniors age 65 and older – more than 5 million in total – need some type of assistance with long-term care to perform activities of daily living. If your loved ones are among this group, take heart! There are many options available – many of which can make their retired years healthier and happier.
Spend some time researching senior living communities. Get to know the options available in your area. This will help prepare you to talk to your loved ones about a possible move. If you have additional questions about what a senior living community brings to the table, Sweetwater would be honored to assist you. Just call (406) 534-0355 for additional information.