When Is It Time To Start Looking For Assisted Living?

It can be really difficult to know when its time to start looking for assisted living for your loved one. You may have gone home or visited them over a holiday and noticed a change. Or you may live near by and see a fast or slow decline in their ability to perform every day tasks like they once did.

Either way, it is important to be aware of key indicators that it is time for assisted living. It is always better to be proactive and be aware of when it is time to start looking for assisted living, than being in a crisis situation and having to look out of immediate necessity. The video below goes into more depth on this subject.

Here are the top tips and indicators to look for to help you better determine when it is time for assisted living. If you prefer to watch the video we made on this subject, please click the video here:

When to start looking for assisted living

1. Safety concerns and safety issues.

There are some key questions to address that will help you better determine if further assistance may be needed for your loved one. One of the most important ways to determine that it may be time for assisted living is to look for safety concerns. One important and easy way is to look for bruising. Does mom or dad have bruising on their arms or legs? Have they not mentioned to you why they have bruising? This can be a key indicator that they have been falling. Falls can be an indicator of many things, but at the root of things, their central equilibrium may be off due to more complicated matters.

Are they forgetting to turn of the oven or stove? This can be a huge safety concern, and unfortunately, it is a very common one.

Are they forgetting to use their walker? Be aware of your loved one’s proximity to their walker or cane. This may not be such a small “accident” after all. It can be a key indicator that they are forgetting to use it.

Dings and scratches on their vehicle: Are there dings and scratched on their car that they haven’t mentioned to you? This can be a sign that their vision and ability to make important decisions is declining. Do a quick walk through of their car like they do at the dealer when you drop your car off for an oil change. This is simple, but can be a huge sign.

For the smokers: If your loved one is a smoker, look for holes or burn marks in their clothing. They may not even know that these are there, and that is a very concerning issue.

2. Hygiene.

Your loved one may begin to forget to regularly bathe. “Regular” can vary from one individual to another. However, be aware of odors that indicate that they haven’t been properly bathing, or bathing at all.

Is your loved one in dirty clothes for a prolonged period of time without knowing? This is a huge red flag. It is also a concern from a sanitary standpoint. Folks that start to forget to bath, and go a long period of time without bathing and changing are at higher risk of urinary tract infections, which often times lead to greater complications. Avoid complications that come with urinary tract infections by catching this issue early on. It all starts with hygiene.

3. Behavior.

This is  very important one. Be aware of drastic behavior changes in your loved one. Are they more withdrawn than you normally know them to be?

Are they calling you in the middle of the night without being aware of the time?

Are there unpaid bills when you visit them, and are the bills stacking up? 

Have you noticed excessive online shopping?

These are all indicators that it may be time for assisted living and some more oversight over your loved one. Be aware, and make an educated decision BEFORE a crisis.

4. Medications.

Medication mis-management is one of the top reasons folks need more oversight. It can get very dangerous and complicated when prescription drugs are not taken correctly, as prescribed by a physician. Be very aware that your loved one is taking their medication properly. If they use a “medi-set” be aware of the placement of the medication. Are the meds in the med-set where they need to be? Has your loved one placed meds in the wrong bottle? It is critical to your loved ones health to be aware of their medication intake, and if they are taking their meds properly.


What difficulties have you faced in determining the right time to start looking  for an assisted living community for your senior parent? Please share your stories with us in the comments below.