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Do you worry about your parent's ability to live independently?

As we grow up from adolescence to adulthood, living independently is often a source of anxiety and pride. Young people want to prove themselves to the world by striking out on their own and building a life for themselves.

For many people, that sense of independence and self-sufficiency is inherent to who they are as an individual. Many older adults struggle with the idea of being dependent on others for any part of their care or daily needs. Whether it's financial support or medical care, many older Americans are reticent to admit when they need help.

That can leave their children in difficult situations. You may have to intervene if your parent reaches a point where they can no longer live independently safely.

Signs of mental decline often lead loved ones to push for change

Has your parent recently shown difficulty remembering simple things? Can they no longer complete multiple-step tasks without referring to written directions or asking for help? Do they habitually misplace items that they need, such as keys or eyeglasses?

While forgetfulness is often part of aging, extreme confusion and forgetfulness can be warning signs of dementia and cognitive decline. Those who have difficulty remembering tasks and details may struggle to pay their bills on time or handle the logistics of independent living. They may have reached a point where they now require assistance with those tasks.

Medical intervention may help slow the progression of memory issues, which is one benefit of residential care. There will be socialization and enrichment activities in most facilities that can help the residents maintain their mental acuity for as long as possible.

Serious injuries are often the end of independence

As people age, their risk for serious household injuries increases. In fact, one out of three people over 65 will experience a fall each year, and more than 15,000 people in that age group may die annually from injuries related to falls.

Considering how much a broken hip, leg or arm would restrict movements and self-care, such a injury is often the reason why an older adult winds up in an assisted living or nursing care facility. While they may eventually move out of the more intensive care wing of said facility, it is less common for older adults to go back to living independently after a serious injury.

After all, they will need routine monitoring to ensure they don't suffer an injury in the future. They may also require ongoing care, such as pain management and physical therapy. Don't wait until your loved one winds up hurt. If you believe that their cognitive function or motor ability is on the rapid decline, it may be time to talk about nursing home options. The sooner you begin planning for residential care for your loved one, the more options you will have for financing it.

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