Determine If Your Parent Needs Support of a Senior Living Community

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How to Assess If Your Parent Needs a Senior Living Community
Two seniors drinking coffee and taking senior living assessments on a laptop computer at the kitchen table

How do you know if your loved one needs senior living? We’re taking a look at senior living assessments and important points to evaluate to determine if it’s the right time. In this article, we’re covering your most pressing questions, such as:

  • Is it the right time for senior living?
  • Is it time to get help?
  • Is it the right time to downsize?
  • Is it the right time for memory care?
  • Is it still safe for them to drive?

Each section also provides a dedicated senior living assessment that will help you determine if your loved one needs senior living.


1. Is it the right time for senior living?

There are various types of care in senior living communities. An independent living community is ideal for those who want a low-maintenance lifestyle and don’t need active levels of assistance. An assisted living community is ideal for a lifestyle that includes some medical or personal care. A memory care community provides specialized assistance for those with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. 

The type of care your loved one may need will depend on their unique situation. It may be the right time for the support of a senior living community due to any number of factors, including:

  • Memory loss or another type of dementia
  • Increased physical risks, such as falling 
  • Signs of isolation, such as weight loss, anxiety, or depression
  • Increased medical needs or a complicated medication regimen
  • The house has become too much for your loved one to maintain, or they simply don’t want to do household chores anymore 

Senior living communities can give your loved one the support they need while maintaining their current lifestyle. They will keep many of their possessions and spend as much time socializing as they would like—and they’ll receive specialized care and take housekeeping and landscaping tasks off their to-do list.

Is it the right time for senior living? Take our free senior living assessment and get personalized results quickly.


Not sure which lifestyle option is right for you? Learn about your options and get personalized results in about 4 minutes.

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2. Is it time to get help?

If you are exhausted and struggling to maintain your own personal and professional responsibilities while caring for your loved one, it may be time to get help. Caregivers can easily experience burnout, which refers to the emotional, physical, and mental health problems that arise when someone is under significant amounts of stress.

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight; rather, it creeps up slowly over time. Generally, the first indication of burnout involves changes in sleep patterns, whether you’re sleeping more than usual or having trouble falling asleep. Other burnout symptoms include: 

  • Avoiding friends, either because you’re too tired to attend functions or because you’re losing interest, which could be a symptom of depression 
  • Getting sick often due to a decreased immune response 
  • Being more irritable and angrier than usual

The answer to caregiver burnout may be to receive additional help for both you and your loved one. One option for that help is through a senior living community. Senior living communities are designed to provide social opportunities and activities as well as to take care of residents in the specialized way that they need, whether their needs are met in memory care or independent living. The specialized team members who work there are just as helpful and supportive to your loved one as you are, and they’re happy to relieve some of the care burdens for you. 

Is it time to get help? Take our free, quick assessment to learn about your options.


Is it time to get help for you or your loved one? Take our 4-minute assessment to get more detail on the right direction for you.

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3. Is it the right time to downsize?

Once the kids have moved out of the family home, it may feel like there is too much space—more than your loved one needs or can enjoy. The empty house may also simply be a burden of endless chores rather than the comfortable place it once was.

First, the idea of downsizing can have negative connotations because it brings up fears of selling or donating everything and moving into a tiny space. Rightsizing, on the other hand, involves choice. Your loved one is choosing to reduce clutter, keeping only the possessions they really want and that fit their lifestyle. 

Rightsizing can also mean letting go of the family house if it no longer fits your loved one’s needs. If a house is more of a chore than a place to relax, it may be time to rightsize the space where your loved one lives by moving to a senior living community where they can enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle and the extra personal time that comes with it. Additionally, your loved one gains the perks of having a vibrant social community on hand, with plenty of opportunity for daily companionship.

Is it the right time to downsize? Learn about your options by taking our free assessment.


Is it the right time to downsize? Learn about your options and get personalized results in about 4 minutes.

Take the Assessment


4. Is it the right time for memory care?

It can be frightening and concerning to see signs of cognitive decline in your loved one. We all forget things sometimes, and this tendency increases as we age. However, if your loved one’s behavior has gone beyond simple absentmindedness and into more concerning, serious forgetfulness, you should bring your concerns up to your loved one’s physician.

To help you determine if your loved one’s forgetfulness is more than just aging, think back to when their confusion started. Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are progressive, which means the conditions gradually take shape and worsen over time. Also, consider the following signs: 

  • Performing basic daily activities: It is important to evaluate if their forgetfulness affects their daily life throughout the entire day.
  • Handling of complex tasks: Tasks such as managing a budget can become overwhelming, if not impossible, for those in the early-to-mid stages of dementia.
  • Engaging in social situations: Struggling to keep up with conversations and find a word can also indicate that there may be problems with dementia. However, keep in mind that hearing changes can also cause someone to struggle in social situations.
  • Changing personality traits: Your loved one may also exhibit personality changes if they have dementia. These personality changes may be more noticeable in new, overly stimulating situations or environments. For example, your loved one may seem more grouchy or confrontational in an environment that they find challenging.

IS IT THE RIGHT TIME FOR MEMORY CARE? Learn more about the changes you’re noticing and determine your next steps with our free assessment.


Is it the right time for memory care? Learn about your options and get personalized results in about 4 minutes.

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5. Is it still safe for them to drive?

Driving equals independence for many. However, if you were recently in the car with your loved one and felt anxious because of their driving skills, you may be wondering if it is still safe for them to drive. Driving means independence and not relying on others to perform basic daily tasks, such as running errands, so this can be an exceptionally hard discussion to have. 

Driving requires quick decision-making, hand-eye coordination, and critical thinking. Changes in cognitive function, hearing, vision, and even certain medications can make driving difficult for aging drivers. However, it is important to note that not all drivers above a certain age should be taken off the road or are poor drivers—this is an important decision to discuss with your family and your loved one’s physician. 

To determine if your loved one should still be driving, consider evaluating your loved one’s: 

  • Mobility
  • Cognitive function (especially if they have a diagnosis of dementia)
  • Medications 
  • Vision
  • Reasons for needing a vehicle

Is it still safe to drive? Take our free, quick assessment to get a risk score and learn what your options are.


Is it still safe to drive? Assess driving ability, get a risk score and learn what you can do now.

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Ready to learn more about the Cedarhurst difference?

If you take these senior living assessments and think that a senior living community might be the right fit for your loved one, start the senior living conversation with them. 

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Still need more information? Learn more about senior living and what makes Cedarhurst different by contacting us today. Our senior living experts are happy to answer any questions you may have about what comes next.

Originally published August 2022. Revised October 2023.

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