Moving to Assisted Living: 5 Ways to Know When It’s Needed

moving to assisted living

Get help with this tough decision

Moving to assisted living is a huge, difficult, and often heart-wrenching decision for caregivers.

Guilt, promises made, and feelings of obligation make it even harder.

Because there are so many emotions involved, it can be tough to know when a move is really needed – especially when you’re trying to put off having to make that tough decision for as long as possible.

But sometimes, caring for someone at home becomes unsafe or impossible to sustain.

To make the decision a little easier, we share 5 ways to know when it’s necessary for your older adult to move to assisted living.


From our partner


5 ways to know if moving to assisted living is needed

1. Your older adult behaves aggressively
Some older adults, often those with dementia, may behave aggressively or violently.

If trying different ways to reduce this behavior or medication don’t help, it puts you and the person themselves in danger of getting seriously injured.

It also adds a lot of additional emotional stress to an already stressful situation.


2. Their care needs have become too high for safe home care
Over the years, most older adults will decline in health and ability.

Unfortunately, no matter how high the quality of care, aging and serious diseases will keep progressing.

One day, your older adult’s care needs may become more than you can safely handle at home.

For example, if someone now needs constant supervision and care (including waking many times at night), moving to assisted living may be needed. It’s very difficult for one or two people to sustain that intensity of care over the long term.

Or, if your older adult is significantly larger or heavier and develops mobility issues, it will become physically impossible or dangerous for you to help them move around.


3. They constantly try to leave the house and are at high risk for getting lost or injured
Many people with dementia want to walk around or have the idea to go to specific places.

Unfortunately, the damage in their brain means they typically don’t know how to get places, how to get back home, and how to avoid accidents or injury.

People with dementia can often get outside the house in the blink of an eye – or in the time it takes for you to use the restroom or get them a glass of water.

If you’ve secured the house as much as possible, but they’re still able to get out, it may be time to move them to a fully secured memory care community for their own safety.


4. In-home care costs are too high
Hiring an in-home caregiver is expensive. As older adults need more care, they’ll need more and more help.

Over time, the cost of hiring caregiving help can exceed the available financial resources.

When that happens, it may be financially necessary to move to an assisted living community.

Assisted living costs are high as well, but may be more affordable than the amount of in-home care that’s needed.


5. You’re overwhelmed by chronic, severe caregiver stress
Feeling stressed from the responsibility and hard work of caregiving is to be expected, but when stress levels are too high for too long, it can seriously affect your health and well-being.

When that happens, your ability to care for your older adult can be significantly diminished – sometimes to the point where you’re no longer able to safely care for them.


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Lake Martin Wave


  • Reply September 29, 2020

    Phyllis Denison

    For way too many of us on fixed incomes, the need to move to assisted living may well become a reality but we simply do not have the funds to do so. Here in AZ the last figures I saw are that the annual average cost of Assisted Living is $72,000! We make $34,000. Likewise, while home health aides could help, once again, with little in savings, the money runs out before the need ends. Oh – yes, many states have a Medicaid program for Long Term Care – but, again here in Tucson, the 4 that will accept ALTCS= AZ Long Term Care System – are not what most of us would consider safe, comfortable living. So, how about an article giving advice for those of us in this boat as to how to care for each other as seniors with no family, few friends and little money

    • Reply November 10, 2020


      It’s great that you’re thinking about this ahead of time. Unfortunately, long term care is expensive and largely isn’t covered by government benefits programs.

      The village model is one way to get different types of support to help stay in the home for longer. More info here – Seniors Are Aging at Home with Help from a Village

      Another option is to contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find out about organizations and programs that might be helpful – Area Agency on Aging: Resources for Seniors

      Because there aren’t more comprehensive long term care programs available, it will take work to put together a plan that will give you the care you expect to need within your budget. The best options may be to use a variety of free programs and lower cost paid options that will meet your future care needs.

      Another resource that might be helpful is Carol Marak’s website. She focuses on planning ahead for solo aging –

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