Part of us deep down thinks of our parents and loved ones as invincible and forever. But that’s not the case. Sometimes the adults in our lives need extra help taking care of themselves due to age, injury, or other health conditions. And, unfortunately, you may not have the time or resources to be there for them in the way they need. When this becomes the case, assisted living may be a beneficial move. But how do you know when it’s reached that point where more help is necessary? It can be hard to know when it’s time to consider assisted living so we’ve compiled four of the most common signs that you need to start the assisted living conversation with your parent or loved one.

If you’re wondering how exactly we define assisted living, this is for you. Assisted living is usually a community or facility that is somewhere in between home care and a nursing home. In an assisted living community, residents can get premade meals, laundry services, cleaning and more tailored to their specific needs. But they also have more freedom than a nursing home and aren’t monitored as closely. So if your loved one is able to drive a car, for example, but can’t cook or clean anymore, then they can actually go out whenever they want.

Unusual Body Odor
Sometimes it’s the little things that can give you a good sign of trouble. If your parent suddenly doesn’t smell like his or her usual self, it may be because they aren’t showering or bathing. Assisted living facilities can help remind residents about hygiene care and even assist depending on what level of care the resident needs. Don’t ignore any little detail.

Lack of Activity
Even if an older loved one has decreased mobility or a drop in energy, they should still be active in their own way. This could include hand crafts, socialization with neighbors or friends from the area, reading, and any other number of activities. If there is suddenly none of that going on, then it may be time to step in. An assisted living community offers the chance to meet new people and be involved in inclusive activities. And assisted living staff can help make sure that a resident stays involved if that request is made. Assisted living can be very personalized.

Decreased Mobility
This is where the lines between assisted living and a nursing home can be a little blurred. An assisted living facility is a perfect place for residents with decreased mobility who need meals brought to them or assistance getting into a wheelchair. But if the mobility is decreased to severe extents, then a nursing home may be a better fit. So you have to decide with your loved one how extensive the decrease in mobility is. If you feel it is a milder case and the parent or relative can still manage some of their daily life on their own, then an assisted living facility may be right for you.

A Messy Home
Anyone’s home could probably be in need of a cleaning. So ignore little things like dust on the bookshelves or some crumbs in the kitchen. The real concern would be an overflowing garbage can, piles upon piles of dirty laundry, and a severely messy bathroom. These could be signs that your loved one cannot keep up with chores and cleaning around the house. Reasons for this could be unacknowledged decreases in mobility, forgetfullness, or lack of energy. And assisted living community can usually offer a service to help with laundry and other cleaning. It’ll take a load the resident’s shoulders.

Everyone is different and for that reason trying to decide whether assisted living is the best choice is different for everyone. But these are some good signs to start looking for. It’s also a much easier transition for an older relative to move into an assisted living facility rather than a nursing home. Because, while a nursing home may be necessary later, an assisted living facility offers more freedom and more of a sense of the usual way of life. Always talk to a healthcare professional to get their opinion. And we’re always here for you with our facility checklists to help pick the right location for you.