When Is It Time for Assisted Living? Here Are 9 Signs Your Parents Need Help

Nurse explaining tablet use to elder woman on wheelchair.

There are approximately 39.5 million people in the U.S. who are over the age of 65, with 5.6 million being over the age of 85. These numbers are continuing to grow, year after year.

With the population of the U.S. steadily aging, the need for a quality assisted living care facilities is growing. However, if you are like most people, you may wonder how to know when it is time for assisted living?

This is a good question and one that is answered here. Find out some of the tell-tale signs your parent or another family member need assisted living care here.

Keep in mind assisted living and end of life care are extremely different. With assisted living, your loved one can still have a fun, exciting and enjoyable life.

1. Worsening Medical Conditions

As seniors continue to age, the likelihood they will develop some type of chronic medical condition is going to continue to go up. In fact, more than 70 million people over the age of 50 suffer from at least one chronic condition.

Some of the most common include heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. When seniors with conditions such as these get old, they need more medical attention and are less capable to care for themselves.

In addition to chronic conditions, the possibility of medical emergencies goes up as a person ages. If you have a loved one that lets you know they have fallen and been unable to get up more than once, then it isn’t safe for them to live alone.

Approximately a third of seniors fall at least one time a year. Also, the death rates for falls has gone up steadily in the past 10 years.

2. Increased Trouble Managing ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)

ADLs are the skills a person needs to live independently. This includes things like managing medications, doing laundry, cooking, shopping, dressing, etc. Geriatric experts, social workers, and doctors can evaluate the capability a senior has to handle these tasks.

In some cases, issues related to ADLs can be remedied by hiring in-home professional help. However, if this isn’t a viable option, then assisted living services may be needed. It’s a good idea to research some tips to find out which option is best.

3. Isolation

Isolation for seniors is a serious issue. In fact, more than 11 million seniors are living alone. If a senior is isolated, it can affect their overall health.

If a senior becomes isolated, this means that they are reducing how often they participate in various activities, such as hobbies, as well as social interactions with friends and family members.

Some of the health issues associated with isolation include:


If a person has no sense of community or purpose, it can result in them feeling depressed. This is an agent for various diseases, such as heart disease and dementia.


If a senior is isolated often, they may develop bad health habits. Some of the most common include prescription drug abuse, smoking cigarettes, and drinking.


Isolation is directly related to the mortality rate of a senior. This may mean they are more likely to pass away sooner, than if they were social and involved in various activities.

If you begin to notice any of these issues with your senior loved one, then it may be beneficial to utilize the services of an assisted living facility.

4. Noticeable Weight Loss

Have you noticed that your senior loved one feels thinner? Are their clothes loose, or have you noticed there are new notches in their belt?

There are several conditions that may cause this, from cancer to depression. A person having issues getting out to go shopping, remembering how to cook (or even eat) can result in weight loss. It’s a good idea to check the refrigerator and watch their ability to prep their own meals.

5. Frailty and Poor Hygiene

While a senior loved one may have some ability to take care of themselves, a big sign it is time for assisted living is if they show no motivation to do so. Some of the most common signs of subpar hygiene include a bad odor or low-quality grooming habits.

These problems could be an indication that the individual is not bathing or showering as often as they should, nor are they doing their laundry. It may also mean they no longer have the ability to care for themselves.

Seniors may often become frailer as they age. This means they may look skinnier than usual. This is often due to a lack of eating or a more serious health condition (as mentioned above).

6. Neglect Around the House

Take some time to walk around your loved one’s home and yard. Is the yard unkempt, messy, or unmaintained? If so, it means the senior is no longer capable of handling this work.

Some things to look for include discolored ceiling or siding, which could indicate a leak. Another sign is if the gutters are full of leaves, the windows are dirty, or if the fences are broken.

Some other signs of a problem include newspapers left in the bushes and mail piled up in the mailbox.

When is it Time for Assisted Living: Now You Know

Now that you know when it is time for assisted living, you can make a move for your loved one to ensure their ongoing health and well-being. While there’s no reason to rush this decision, when the time arrives, you need to make sure you do what is best for your loved one.

When it comes to making important decisions, we are here to help. To make other important decisions, such as how to purchase the right elliptical machine, be sure to check out some of our other blogs.

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