St. Anthony's Senior Living

When Is It Time for Assisted Living?


A question we get asked frequently at St. Anthony’s Senior Living is “When should I consider Assisted Living for my Mom or Dad?”

According to AARP, the average senior adult takes four prescription medications per day. Tack on a major chronic illness, such as diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease, and this number skyrockets to an average of 22 medications, including over-the-counters and supplements.

As we age, our visual acuity may change and our fine motor skills decline. This makes it more difficult for seniors to physically handle their medication bottles, tubes, or injections. Some seniors may also experience mild cognitive impairment, which adds another challenge.

What do we get when we put 22 medications, decreased visual acuity, a decline in fine motor skills, and possibly some mild cognitive impairment together? The perfect opportunity for medication errors. These errors could be forgetting to take a medication, taking a medication at the wrong time, taking the wrong medication, or taking extra doses.

While we might want to brush off medication errors as a small consequence of living at home, what we see in Assisted Living is just how much impact getting medications delivered correctly has on a senior adult’s health.

In Assisted Living, staff is trained to administer medications as ordered by the physician and to watch for any side effects. We also generally monitor our residents’ overall health. We ask ourselves, “do her ankles look swollen?” or “is he wheezing more?” and immediately provide that information to the physician to see if we need to take action. We also have all resident medication lists reviewed to make sure we don’t have medications prescribed that don’t work well together.

Taking all this together, medications are a big reason many people decide that Assisted Living is right for their loved ones. Whether it is finding a pill on the kitchen floor or needing an early refill because Mom took too many pills, Assisted Living can solve the challenge of taking medications correctly and help put your mind at ease regarding Mom or Dad’s health.