Moving to an assisted living home

Top tips to consider when deciding whether its time to move to an assisted living retirement home

Ageing involves natural changes – we develop differences in health, vision, eyesight and balance.  These changes often leave us wondering when the right time is to move to a supported retirement environment.  We are all attached to our family homes, but we also know that good quality of life and healthy adaptation depends on making good decisions regarding our environment and the support it will offer us as we age.
So when is the right time to consider moving to a serviced retirement home. It is helpful to assess any situation using the following concepts: 1.  ADL – Assistance with activities of daily living

Activities of daily living are ordinary activities that are necessary for survival, such as managing finances and shopping for supplies, using an ATM, cooking a meal safely, and figuring out how to use public transport.  These are activities that a younger person may find easy, but can be more difficult for an older person with changes their fine motor skills, eyesight, hearing or balance.  These activities include basic care activities such as washing, eating, toilet, dressing, oral care and ambulating.

How easily and safely do you or your loved one manage these activities?

 2.  OBSERVATION Is it important for you to monitor aspects of your health? Observation involves noticing and noting events that are important to ongoing health.  These observations can be as simple as keeping track of how regularly and nutritiously you are eating and hydrating, to more complex observations like blood pressure, blood sugar and even blood chemistry (if you are taking medications like Warfarin). As our physiology changes, it’s often important to observe and monitor those changes in order to manage your ongoing health and treatment. Would your condition be better managed by being in an environment where meals and hydrating were provided on a regular basis, and – if required – a nursing professional could make regular and reliable observations relating to vital signs, mental condition, neurological observations, intake and output, urine tests and blood pressure?


If you have a chronic condition, who is ordering, controlling and administering the medication?  If the medication is delivered, even in a blister pack, will you reliably check that the right quantity and amount is delivered?  Its important to take medication in the right quantity and at the right time. 


As your health changes, would it be helpful to be in an environment where you can receive information and guidance on how to deal with aspects of your self-care.  For example, how would you use diet and nutrition to address disease, how to clean a stoma bag, why it’s important to remain involved in group activities are the kinds of information that can truly affect healthy adjustment.  Does your current environment provide such support and guidance?


The most important contributors to good quality of life as we get older are social interaction, robust social support systems and interconnectedness. Environments that encourage, support and facilitate psychological, social and spiritual life and health are essential to healthy ageing.


Nursing care includes many aspects of physical care: activity, rest, ambulation, circulation, exercise, elimination, fluid balance, hygiene, infection control, maintenance of skin integrity, nutrition, pain management, physical comfort, respiration, neuro-sensory function, safety and security. Would you need assistance with any of these activities now or in the future? These are the kinds of themes that are helpful to guide your thought when considering when to move to an assisted living retirement home.  Moves are usually not sudden decisions, and the happiest moves are ones that have been thoughtfully considered, over time; that are not emergency moves, but still within the control of the person moving.  We hope this article has helped offer useful information for your further consideration.   If you need any further assistance regarding finding a retirement home perfectly suited to your needs, please feel welcome to contact Heidi at Care in Midstream on 012 940 9380 or