Mom needs more care: Is it time for a move?

Knowing when and if it’s time for a loved one to move to a personal care home or assisted living is not easy. Ideally most people want to age in place for as long as possible. However, if one’s independence and well-being start to decline and the practicality, safety, and the benefits of aging in place also falter, a change may be needed. Some older adults recognize and may even welcome this need for change. But more often families struggle with the timing for a move, which is compounded with feelings of guilt and uncertainty, and sometimes sheer resistance from their loved one about moving.

So how do you know when it’s time for a change? Below are some key indicators that can help you determine if a move may be necessary:

  • Caregiving is significantly interfering with work, relationships and other responsibilities.
  • Healthcare professionals recommend a change.
  • The loved one asks for a change.
  • Despite everyone’s best efforts, things worsen (increased falls, illness and/or hospitalizations).
  • The loved one is in danger of harming themselves or others, especially those with dementia.
  • The caregiver’s physical and mental health and wellness are worsening.
  • The caregiver is depleted, becoming angry, neglectful, resentful, frustrated.
  • The caregiver’s coping methods become destructive (i.e. substance abuse).

Furthermore, you’re not alone in determining whether your loved one needs care or what type, such as memory care.  A medical evaluation and written order from their physician is required. Plus, the facility will assess your loved to determine the right level of care.

Other Considerations

Aging in place can have its limitations. In some cases, it can lead to caregiver burnout, and can be overwhelming and unsafe if not well planned. Isolation, boredom and inactivity can also be problematic, especially if the person has stopped driving, has limited mobility and/or their health is on the decline.

Making this choice is not just about the need for care. Personal Care not only provides hands on care and peace of mind, but it can also foster an improved and more active lifestyle. Socialization and peer activity strengthen the mind, body and soul with a wide range of activities, clubs, events and amenities.

Appreciating the value of proactively moving to personal care or assisted living can be comforting and well-paced. It lends itself to a more positive transition, rather than a power struggle compounded by critical need and hurried placement.

For information or guidance please contact the Messiah Lifeways Coaching at 717.591.7225 or email

Matthew J. Gallardo

Matthew J. Gallardo

Matt is the Director of Community Engagement and Coaching at Messiah Lifeways. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in counseling, advocating, and guiding older adults and caregivers through many of life’s tough decisions. His diverse background of working in hospital and rehabilitation settings, community services, and senior housing gives him the breadth and depth of knowledge to provide unique solutions, opportunities, and help individuals proactively plan for the future. He serves as the Lifeways Coach and as a writer, blogger, podcaster, and speaker for Messiah Lifeways, located in Mechanicsburg, PA.

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