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Knowing when it's time for assisted living

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Earlier this year, Cissy Boyd's in-laws needed help, and they reached out to her.

"They were still in relatively good health and they were being taken care of by other family, but they decided they wanted to do something different," Boyd said.

Belle Boyd, 80, and her husband, Robert, 79, realized they needed daily help around the house. So Cissy Boyd found them an assisted living home.

"We packed our belongings and headed this way, and I never gave it a second thought,"Belle Boyd said.

But for a lot of people, like Cissy Boyd's mother, it wasn't that simple. Boyd was forced to make the decision after her mother started to show signs of dementia.

"The level of care became more than we could provide for her even though she lived right behind us," Cissy Boyd said.

Boyd decided to move her mother into assisted living too.

UT Health Science Center Dr. Kent Davis said knowing when it's time is key.

"If they're not taking care of their own needs well, they may be out walking in cold weather without adequate clothing, they're not taking their medicines correctly, [or] the stove is being left on," Dr. Davis said.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Anne Hatfield said not everyone wants assisted living, but there are ways to make the transition easier.

"Take them to a facility and look at the facility, give them a couple of options, a tour," Hatfield said. "Those are things that can be very helpful to the patient."

Hatfield also said keeping the family involved in the decision-making process is a sure way to smooth out any problems.

And keeping an eye on elderly loved ones is the best way to know when that time comes.

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