Here’s How You Know It’s Time to Move Into a Retirement Home

Deciding on another person’s fate seems ludicrous, but when it comes to aging parents and loved ones, it is sometimes inevitable. Furthermore, grappling with the decision of whether or not to move them into a retirement home is usually fueled by emotions and conviction. If you are unsure if the appropriate time has come to move your loved in into a retirement home, these 15 signs will give you a more concrete answer.

1. One too many close calls

Senior woman fallen down
Accidents become more common as people age. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

As loved ones get older, accidents can become more common. Daily activities can often turn into a medical emergency, like taking a bad fall or breaking a bone. These incidents become far more serious when the aging loved one is not able to quickly make an emergency phone call or seek out medical attention. One too many close calls is a surefire indication that it may be time to make a move to a retirement home.
Next: How fast is the bounce back? 

2. Slow recovery times

Older unable to sleep
Slow recovery times after an illness or accident can be a warning sign. | Motortion/iStock/Getty Images

When incidents happen or your loved one becomes ill, a fast recovery time is a good sign that they are still able to handle life on their own. However, when that recovery time takes a drastic turn in the other direction, there is cause for concern. For example, did your parent develop a common cold that ended up morphing into full-blown pneumonia? If so, it may be time to consider other living arrangements.
Next: Is your loved one depressed? 

3. Emotional state is no longer stable

Upset old lady
Watch out for signs of anxiety or depression. | Daisy-Daisy/iStock/Getty Images

The emotional and mental state of your loved one is so important, as living alone can be taxing. Particularly when an elderly person loses their spouse, encounters health issues, or simply feels lonely, anxiety and depression can become a true concern. The beauty of a retirement home is that individuals in similar situations are together, allowing new friendships to blossom and offering new ways to stay sharp.
Next: Drastic changes in weight

4. Extreme weight loss or gain

Man measuring his stomach for weight gain
Noticeable weight gain can be a warning sign. | Ljupco/iStock/Getty Images

Noticeable weight gain or loss can be directly linked to a slew of different ailments and illnesses. Whether your loved one may be dealing with depression or something else, do not dismiss these signs. Sometimes, major weight loss can be linked to cancers, or the problem may simply be that someone is no longer able to prepare food for themselves. As for weight gain, it could be a sign that a person can’t recall eating due to dementia or may even have diabetes.
Next: How does the home look? 

5. Unable to stay on top of housekeeping

Dirty dishes in sink
A messy house could indicate it’s time to consider a retirement home. | ikrents/iStock/Getty Images

There may be no bigger indicator that it’s time to consider a retirement home than seeing your loved one’s home unkept and in complete disarray. Keep in mind that there is a difference between clutter and filth. If the home has been visibly unkept visit after visit — a sink full of disgusting dirty dishes, a bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned in weeks or months, or piles of dirty laundry — it is a clear sign that caring for the home has become too much of a burden.
Next: Brittle bones

6. Frailty

Elderly man walks
Walking or getting up from a chair can become more difficult as people age. | CreativaImages/Getty Images

Weight loss or gain is one thing, but when someone you love becomes dangerously frail, more serious repercussions could ensue. With frailty comes a major decline in overall strength and mobility. Balance can also become incredibly compromised. Pay attention to your loved one’s execution of common movements such as sitting down and getting out of a chair.
Next: Personal hygiene

7. Bad body odor

Young social work assistant takes care of a senior woman between 70 and 80 years old.
Problems with maintaining basic hygience is a sign help may be needed. | TolikoffPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

Bad body odor is another extremely obvious indicator that a different living arrangement may be on the horizon for a special person in your life. As a person ages, maintaining proper personal hygiene can become increasingly more difficult, sometimes falling to the wayside altogether. Help with bathing and overall cleanliness is part of the package that comes with retirement home living and could be the ideal set up for your loved one.
Next: Friendships disappear 

8. No longer maintaining friendships

Worried senior man
Isolation can be a problem for some seniors. | DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

One sign of someone thriving in life is a network of strong friendships. Many people rely on their church community and local clubs to keep them stimulated and socially active. However, when your loved one is no longer working to maintain those relationships or is not participating in the events affiliated with the organizations, a retirement home may be worth considering in order to prevent the onslaught of depression.
Next: Becoming a hermit

9. Inability to leave home

Bored senior man watching tv
If a social butterfly turns into a recluse, that’s a bad sign. | littlebee80/iStock/GettyImages

A social butterfly that loses interest in leaving home to spread their wings signals a big change in lifestyle that could be detrimental to the person’s mental and emotional health. Furthermore, if that loved one is no longer physically capable of leaving their house, a retirement home is worth considering. Shifting to this sort of living arrangement helps facilitate a more social environment.
Next: Hobbies are gone

10. Overall lack of interest in hobbies or activities

Lonely senior woman
Losing interest in hobbies might be a sign it’s time for a new living environment. | SuzanaMarinkovic/iStock/Getty Images

Gardening, playing board games, and having weekly luncheons with friends is a great way to stay active during the golden years. As long as your loved one maintains these hobbies and activities, it is fair to say they are in good condition to live solo. However, when those important engagements become obsolete, it is likely a red flag that a retirement home may be more fulfilling.
Next: Financial floundering

11. Inability to manage financial affairs

elderly man inserting credit card to ATM outdoor
Watch out for unpaid bills and other financial issues. | Dobok/iStock/Getty Images

Granted, managing your own financial affairs can sometimes feel overwhelming, however, there are a few things to look for at your loved one’s home. If you see piles on piles of important unopened mail or an unpaid backlog of bills, there may be more than what initially meets the eye. This sort of behavior shows that living alone may no longer be a manageable task.
Next: Daily care

12. When there is not someone to check in daily

Older sad
When family can no longer provide daily assistance, it might be time to consider a nursing home. | Dmitry Berkut/iStock/Getty Images

Family members, neighbors, and caregivers are critical when it comes to caring for a loved one. Unfortunately, not everyone has the flexibility or funds to provide daily care. Furthermore, extended daily care can become taxing on family members. Retirement homes offer round the clock care, if needed, and are able to check in periodically throughout the day to ensure medications and personal hygiene are being tended.
Next: Revoked driver’s license

13. Inability to drive

Senior man having difficulties driving
Giving up driving can be hard for many seniors. | eggeeggjiew/iStock/Getty Images

Having a driver’s license revoked is a major hit to a person’s pride and freedom. To suddenly have all the flexibility to do whatever whenever stripped away, elderly people can often feel trapped. This predicament can lead to a host of larger concerns like depression and anxiety coming to the forefront. Instead of your loved one feeling couped up, a retirement home can lend itself to the social stimulation needed to enjoy the remaining years of life.
Next: Diet declines 

14. Poorly maintained diet

Empty Leftovers in Refrigerator
A balanced diet is even more important as people age. | melissabrock1/iStock/Getty Images

Feeding ourselves is the one priority that doesn’t waver without repercussion. What’s in your loved one’s pantry and refrigerator? If both are lacking, it could be an indication that self-sustenance is no longer on the menu. At a certain point, the job of going to the grocery store, purchasing a cart full of food, then unloading it all at home can become a rather difficult chore. Nevertheless, it is a necessity.
Next: Pets and plants are suffering

15. Unable to care for pets and plants

Senior woman watering flowers
Seniors might need helo caring for plants or pets. | aerogondo/iStock/Getty Images

Pets are little needier than plants, but either way, keeping them both alive isn’t as easy it used to be for an elderly person. If you discover dead house plants and malnourished pets, an intervention may be on the horizon. However, if your loved one is able to manage themselves, but not their plants and pets, then it is time to let those extras go.

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