As your parents age, you may find yourself paying closer attention to their physical and mental health. It can be tough to distinguish normal signs of aging from signs that indicate they’re struggling. But knowing what to look for can help you tell if it’s time for them to consider moving to a retirement residence.
Four signs it might be time for a retirement residence
1. Difficulty with daily activities
Your parents may have grown weary of looking after their home. Yard care, housekeeping, laundry, cooking, and shopping may have become unwelcome chores for them. Depending on their health, they may need help with day-today activities such as bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom.
Things like yard care and housekeeping can be covered off by hiring someone to do it for them. Your parents may be able to get help with personal care through home care too. However, the amount of provincially-funded home care is limited, so it may need to be supplemented with pay-out-of-your-pocket home care. These costs can add up.
Often, personal care services can be provided more economically in a retirement residence. And tasks like housekeeping, laundry, cooking, and shopping are all taken care of.
2. Trouble keeping track of medications
As we get older, the number of medications we take for various health conditions tends to increase. It can be challenging to keep track of them all. That’s why aids like dosette boxes and pharmacy-prepared blister packs can be helpful.
However, if your parent is already using one of these aids and is still having difficulty managing their meds, it may be an indication they need someone helping them. After all, failing to take medications or accidentally double-dosing can have serious health consequences.
A move to a retirement residence usually solves this problem. That’s because staff at the retirement residence make sure your parent takes their medications at the right times throughout the day.
3. Risk of falling
If your parent is having trouble with their balance, strength, or vision, they may be at risk of having a fall, whether that’s while they’re climbing a stool to get something out of the kitchen cupboard, getting in and out of the bathtub, or managing stairs with a laundry hamper. The trouble with falls is that they’re more likely to result in serious injuries as we get older.
Wearable medical alert systems allow people to call for help if they’re alone at home when they fall. This could be an option for your parent, but only if they actually wear it.
The risk of falls is reduced in a retirement residence. One reason is that they’re designed to be senior-friendly. No stairs to negotiate. Safety features in all bathrooms. And so on. Another reason is that your parent no longer needs to bother with chores that might have put them at risk for a fall. Tasks like laundry, housecleaning, and property maintenance are done for them.
And here’s another advantage of living in a retirement residence. Even if a fall were to occur, someone is around 24/7.
4. Dwindling social connections
Your parents may have fewer friends and neighbours as they get older. And if their mobility is limited, this may cause them to become socially isolated. Research has shown that loneliness can have a negative impact not just on quality of life but longevity as well.
When you live in a retirement residence, you’re part of a community. There are interesting things to do each day and lots of opportunities to meet people with similar experiences and interests.
Keep in mind that good retirement residences aren’t just about care. They offer connection and friendship.
Having the discussion with your parents
Of course, broaching the idea of a retirement residence with your parents can be tricky. If you’d like some advice on how to approach the topic, contact one of our communities near you. We’d be happy to help.