Making it easy to make the right choices.
It can be hard to figure out if, when, and where to move. Many seniors and their families delay planning for senior living, unrealistically believing they’ll be able to care for themselves for the rest of their lives. Sometimes it’s because seniors, who are staying healthy and active longer, dread the thought of having to leave their home to live in the institutional environment of traditional senior living facilities or nursing homes. Or because they’re afraid of losing their independence, or losing their connections to their friends, family, and past. In traditional senior living facilities, many of these fears are understandable.
At First & Main, we’re changing that by setting new expectations for what the senior lifestyle can and should look like. We can help you maintain your freedom, control health-related costs, and enjoy the security and social life that comes from living in an active community of peers.
Now is the time to begin thinking about the future. And we’re here to help you, every step of the way.
How to know if it’s time to consider assisted living
Growing concerns about health or safety
Recent accidents or close calls. Falls and medical scares often prompt seniors and their families to begin looking at safer living arrangements. Accidents do happen, but as people get older, the odds rise of them happening again.
A slow recovery. Many seniors are slow to seek medical care when it's needed, Untreated illness and a weakened immune system often make things worse.
A chronic health condition that's worsening. Problems such as COPD, dementia, and congestive heart failure can progress gradually or quickly. Either way, these conditions mean you will require increasing levels of care over time.
Forgetting to take medication. Many seniors follow a complex regimen of medication to manage their health. This can be a lot to keep track of under normal circumstances, but is especially difficult for seniors struggling with memory or confusion—and simple mistakes can often have major health consequences.
Increased weakness or frailty. Declining physical strength is a natural part of aging, but it can be dangerous when it begins to affect mobility, balance, and the ability to perform important tasks in routine or emergency situations.
No one to check in on a regular basis. Seniors living alone benefit from family members or others who are willing and able to check in regularly. If others aren’t nearby or in-and-out all the time, a home-safety alarm system, personal alarm system, or a daily calling service may bring peace of mind.
No one to assist in an emergency. Changing physical and mental abilities put many seniors at risk in an emergency situation. Without someone else nearby, it’s common for seniors and their families to worry about what would happen if there's a fire, break-in, natural disaster, or even a power outage.
Difficulty with personal care
Changes in appearance. Many seniors change what they wear if they find they no longer have the dexterity for buttons, or begin doing their hair or makeup differently because their usual style becomes difficult. Once well-dressed seniors who start wearing stained, dirty, or wrinkled clothes may be struggling to do the laundry or manage an ironing board and iron. Seniors struggling with dementia may sometimes forget to dress, or dress inappropriately.
Changes in hygiene. Memory trouble and certain physical conditions can make it hard for some seniors to take care of personal hygiene. Some of these limitations may only affect appearance, like shaving, while others—like regular and thorough bathing—are important for health and wellbeing.
Social isolation or family stress
Few active friendships. It’s not good to live alone. Lack of companionship is associated with depression and heart problems in older adults. If friends have died or moved away, moving to a place where it’s easy to find and enjoy the company of others could add years to your life.
Cutting back on activities and interests. While this may indicate difficulty getting out or financial trouble, it could also indicate loneliness or depression.
Days spent without leaving the house. It’s important to stay mobile and active as you grow older. Shutting oneself inside may be a sign that driving has become difficult, but could also be a red flag for anxiety or depression.
Concern from others. People don’t always notice gradual changes themselves, and often have ways of explaining issues away. It’s important to listen to the comments of friends, family, and others for signs that they’re concerned about safety or wellbeing.
Family stress or exhaustion. Family members and other friends are often more than willing to help their loved ones manage daily tasks as they get older. Often, however, it becomes hard for these caregivers to provide the hands-on support or care coordination their loved one needs and still find time to take care of themselves. If providing the care required is starting to wear out the family or strain other important relationships, it’s probably time to start looking at other options.
Trouble managing finances
Piles of mail. Lots of mail scattered around is often a sign that bills, insurance, and other matters are not being well managed.
Unopened mail. An overflowing mailbox or unopened mail—especially personal mail or bills—can be signs of dementia or depression.
Letters from banks, creditors, or insurers. If you’re starting to see notices of overdue payments or overdrawn balances, it’s time to get help managing affairs.
Lots of thank-you messages from charities. Generous living is a good thing, but many seniors—especially those with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease—are particularly vulnerable to scammers. Even reputable charities may unwittingly exploit older givers, who may not remember having already donated.
Concerns about driving
Hesitation to drive. Putting off errands or trips and avoiding certain routes, highway driving, and driving at night or in rain may signal decreased confidence in one’s driving ability.
Difficulty focusing while driving. A sudden preference for silence instead of listening to the radio or music, or an unwillingness to engage in conversation while behind the wheel, may indicate that it’s becoming harder to concentrate on driving.
Dangerous driving. Driving requires focused attention, awareness, and physical coordination. Changes in ability often make seniors more likely to tailgate, drift from their lane, go below the speed limit, react slowly to lights or other cars, and mix up gas and brake pedals—all signs it may be best to give up the car and find a more walkable community.
Trouble with directions. Forgetting where you are or where you’re going, especially when traveling familiar routes, can be an early sign of dementia.
Forgetting to fasten the seat belt. Most people fasten their seat belt out of habit, even without thinking. It’s a dangerous step to forget, but it may also be a sign of memory loss.
Damage to the car. Nicks, dents, and scratches—especially if you’re not sure how they happened or where they came from—can be signs of careless driving.
Neglected maintenance. Burnt-out brake lights or turn signals, dashboard warning lights that have been on for a while, or an interior in need of cleaning can all be signs that owning and maintaining a car is becoming too much work.
Difficulty buying and preparing good meals
Changes in eating habits or simpler cooking. A freezer full of TV dinners or increased reliance on fast food, delivery, or takeout could be signs of changing abilities. An absence of fresh food may indicate that it’s becoming hard to manage grocery shopping and meal preparation.
Noticeable changes in weight. This could be a side effect of any number of physical conditions, but could also indicate financial difficulty, cognitive changes, and trouble getting out to shop or remembering how to cook.
Stale or expired foods. Spoiled food that’s gone unnoticed—sour milk, mold, long-expired products—could indicate a change in physical or mental abilities.
Multiples of the same item. Seniors who experience difficulty remembering what they came for or what’s in stock at home will often buy unnecessary items, resulting in pantries or refrigerators stocked with multiples of the same thing.
Small kitchen fires. Maybe it’s been nothing worse than a blackened pan or singed potholder, but accidental fires are a common danger for older adults.
Neglected pets or plants
Plants that are dying, dead, or gone. Seniors having difficulty keeping up with their own needs will often neglect their gardens or houseplants. Untended plants could also be a sign of forgetfulness or memory loss.
Animals that don't seem well. Trouble caring for the dog or cat—poor grooming, unemptied litter boxes, under- or overfeeding—is a strong sign that managing daily tasks has become difficult.
Trouble keeping up with housekeeping and home maintenance
Neglected upkeep. Broken appliances, leaky faucets, peeling paint, burned-out lightbulbs, gutters choked with leaves—it can be burdensome to stay on top of all the tasks and expenses that come with owning a home as one gets older.
Lots of clutter. Changes in physical abilities can make it hard to keep things neat, and things quickly accumulate. This makes it easy to lose important documents like bills, and clutter on the floor can present tripping hazards. Sometimes, clutter may be a sign of a neurological issue, such as an inability or unwillingness to throw things away.
Infrequent cleaning. Seniors suffering from dementia may neglect to clean up spills or forget how to keep a house. For other seniors, housekeeping often becomes exhausting or simply a low priority. As cobwebs, mold, and dust accumulate, overall health tends to decline.
Finding the Right Care
We help you quickly identify what kind of senior living care may be a good fit for your needs.
While senior living may seem expensive, it’s often more affordable than people originally think. A First & Main Professional can help.