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When to consider a senior living home for your loved one

It's not easy to have a discussion with family about senior living, but here are things to consider when making the decision.

AUSTIN, Texas — There's a point in life when taking care of an older family member may become too much stress. As a result, it impacts a family's physical and emotional well-being. 

The question then becomes: When should a family consider moving their parent or loved one to a senior living home? 

"It's all about the quality of life. Is your loved one enjoying their life?" 

That's the first question Amy Vittitow, the chief marketing officer at Civitas Senior Living Community, said to consider.

Vittitow emphasized that putting a family member, like a parent, in a home is not a sign they are not loved. 

"You are still going to be there," she explained.

In actuality, taking care of someone who is at risk, or needs a lot of attention, could negatively impact a relationship, Vittitow said.

"People aren't connecting because you are so worried about their health and well-being," Vittitow said. "Well, senior living and assisted living takes that over for you."

Knowing the signs

Preparation is a key point in making a smooth transition from a family home to a senior living center. 

It is important to pay attention to the signs that someone needs help in advance, and discuss options early. 

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"Have the conversations early because it is a process, and it's not an instant decision," Vittitow said. 

"The five areas to look for changes include socialization, medication management, nutrition, stability and mental health," according to Vittitow. 

If an individual presents a decline in any of these, then it may be time to consider a home. 

"You don’t want to overwhelm, but you want to show empathy. You want to have a private conversation and make it in person," she added.

Choosing the location

Location is important to make the individual feel as independent and at home as possible, Vittitow explained.

While there is no tell-all for which location is right, Vittitow emphasized doing extensive research and taking tours of multiple homes. 

From there, she recommended finding a place that has warm staff and all the right resources to suit your family's needs.

"Visit a community for a tour, educate yourself," Vittitow said.

Ultimately, she said find a home that provides good accessibility for family, so there's never any disconnect.

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Once that family member is in the home, Vittitow believes time spent with loved ones will feel much different.

"We are very busy, we are very connected. Remember, this is a difficult decision. We owe them the time and respect and empathy in helping them with this decision," she said. 

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