The short answer is no, there isn’t a definite age that can be taken as the proper time to consider assisted living universally. While age is always a major factor, it’s not the only one. Most people who need assistance to lead a better life are seniors suffering from one or more health issues. While some of those health issues are prevalent in a lot of elders, even the most common ones are not universally present in all adults past a certain age.
Age is Not a Reliable Indicator
People do not physically age at the same rate. The entropic effects of time are determined by several factors such as one’s genetics, ethnicity, gender, life history, medical history, lifestyle, geographical location, and much more. There are thresholds in human aging for sure, but the degree of variance is wide here.
Therefore, one’s health and the circumstances surrounding them should be given priority, rather than just their age. Some may need assisted living conditions even before they reach retirement age, while others may hold out well into their 70s. Now, does that mean there are no definite indicators that we can rely on? Fortunately, there are several reliable indicators that we can rely on as signs that the concerned elder needs assisted living conditions.
There is scientific evidence that suggests social isolation accelerates both the onset and the progress of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Age and loneliness come hand in hand with each other, even when there is no cause for immediate medical concern. However, loneliness in seniors is one of the most common factors that lead to depression, anxiety, and accelerated aging.
Even if the need for assistance is only minimal, moving into an assisted community of senior apartments that’s equipped to provide as much care or independence as needed can make a huge difference. At the very least, living in a healthy, cooperative, and understanding community of people in the same age bracket will cure loneliness.
Form vascular dementia and strokes to Alzheimer’s, there are several neurodegenerative diseases that may lead to dementia in elders. Unfortunately, very few of the underlying conditions are reversible, although most of them are manageable. If any of the common symptoms of dementia are observed, medical consultation for a proper diagnosis should be prioritized over anything else.
Be on the lookout for common dementia symptoms that may include, but are not limited to:
- Frequent, sudden, and unexplainable amnesia, aka memory loss.
- Significant depreciation in one’s ability to remember, recall, understand, speak, read, and write.
- Inability to perform learned skills that they were previously adept at, such as playing musical instruments, for example.
- Repeating questions and statements within a short span of time.
- Uncharacteristically poor decision making, financial management, impulse control, and emotional control.
- Making jerky, shaky, and poorly coordinated movements.
- Noticeable difficulty while walking, running, jogging, jumping, etc.
- Hallucinations and delusions.
Post diagnosis and formulation of an immediate treatment plan, temporary/permanent care options at an assisted living facility are to be considered for their safety, health, and wellbeing. Diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease is in fact a reliable indicator that the elder is in need of assistance.