It can be difficult to accept that someone you love is no longer able to adequately care for themselves. Whether is it due to medical concerns, mobility issues, or even simple social isolation, it’s hard to ensure that you are making the right decision when helping plan for senior care. Problems often arise when seeking the right resources and information however there are some tips and ideas that can help guide you in decision-making.

1. Memory

Memory loss can be an everyday part of aging or a symptom of a larger problem.  Without accurate memory recall, seniors are at risk for taking medicine incorrectly or may even be in danger of losing their surroundings. Watch out for changes, such as slurring or agitation, as these can be signs of more serious concerns. Additionally, pay attention to whether they are recalling recent events and names accurately. There are many different ways to observe and assist memory loss however most senior care facilities monitor memory closely and can keep a close eye on gradual changes.

2. Physical Appearance

The ability to maintain basic hygiene can be difficult as the body ages.  It can be helpful to make note of their clothing and overall hygiene to ensure they are able to dress and bathe without struggling.  Their skin should also be clear and free of redness, irritation, or injury.  Bruises and bumps can be a sign of weakened immune system; infection and untreated wounds or bruises can have serious long-term consequences.  Also pay close attention to their ability to pick up their feet; falling, especially alone, can be one of the most dangerous issues for seniors living at home.

3. Vision

Clear vision is a common concern for seniors. Poor vision can prevent seniors from driving safely, properly taking medication, reading expiration dates, or navigating their home without issue.  The inability to drive is an especially large concern, not only in terms of grocery shopping and appointments, but also in terms of social isolation. Pay close attention to their ability to read small print, such as labels, new papers, or menus when you are with them.

4. Hearing

The ability to hear clearly is crucial for seniors.  Seniors with hearing loss may be at risk if they are unable to hear medical instructions, oven timers, or, even more frightening, fire alarms.  It can be helpful to pay attention to the volume on the television or to see how well they can hear from certain distances.

5. Diet

Cooking can be difficult as you age, especially if it is for one, plus messy kitchens can attract pests and create a risk of fire or injury.  Explore your loved one’s pantry, refrigerator, and overall kitchen area.  Look for expired, moldy, or otherwise damaged food (ex. rodents or poor storage).  Seniors may also struggle with limited supplies, a narrow selection of food groups, or inappropriate items related to specific medical problems. Pay attention to changes in weight as well as issues with blood sugar or overall nutrition.  Assisted living provides complete and diverse meals that can accommodate any religious requirements or medical conditions.

6. Medication

The risks of mixing up medications, over-medicating, or under-medicating can have very serious consequences.  Aside from common issues, such as an inability to read labels, hear instructions, or remember times, seniors are at an extremely high risk for medication problems. This issue only intensifies as their medication regimen gets larger.  Keep a record of the medications they are taking and what doctor provided the prescription to ensure they are not taking the same medication from different doctors.  Assisted living provides staff that keeps continuous records of medication, doctors’ appointments, and vital statistics while assisted living facilities provide around-the-clock medication and vital monitoring.


Making the decision between assisted living, nursing homes, and home healthcare can be a complicated and stressful situation however each choice offers a multitude of options.  Whether your loved one is struggling to meet several basic needs that can still be met within the home or their needs are better met by a more available staff, these facilities and services are a reliable and helpful choice in ensuring the happiness, health and safety of our aging loved ones.


Learn more about assisted living and other healthcare options at the main Assisted Living page or the main Caregiving page.

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About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.