According to the Administration on Aging, in 2012, 28% of all older people not currently living in an assisted living facility were living at home alone. While many of those in their 70s, 80s and even their 90s can live completely independent lives, certain physical and mental conditions can cause dangerous scenarios for seniors living alone.
It’s vital that the environment our loved ones are living in is safe and meets all their current needs. If you suspect that your loved one may be having some difficulties within their home, it may be time to assess their situation and determine whether remaining alone in their home is the best option for their health and safety.
Signs Your Loved One is Unsafe Living Alone
There are certain things to watch for if you’re concerned that your loved one should not be living independently anymore, including:
- Condition of the home: While it’s understandable that the home may not be completely spotless, the condition of your loved one’s home should still be safe and manageable. Your loved one should still be able to do basic household tasks like washing dishes, vacuuming, and taking out the garbage. If the house is cluttered and dirty, lighting is poor, carpets are loose, and the stairs are steep, it might be time to consider a different living space for their safety and health.
- Cognitive issues: Your loved one may begin displaying memory issues or showing signs of inappropriate thinking. Perhaps they’re acting differently and are having problems with normal household tasks, like paying bills or keeping food in the house. These could be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and your loved one will need professional care to ensure their safety. Even in these early stages, if a senior is suffering from memory lapses the results can be dire, especially if they’re forgetting to take their medication or attempting to drive.
- Behavioral changes: You may notice a change in your loved one’s hygiene, social interactions or appearance. Your loved one may start to withdraw from society and seem depressed. It may become hard to reach them or get them to leave the home.
- Physical impairments or diseases: While some diseases like diabetes are manageable for seniors living alone, other impairments that tend to come with aging may be too much for your loved one to handle on their own. Diseases like Parkinson’s or recurring strokes can require professional, intensive care. Perhaps you’re spending a great deal of your time with your loved one at various doctor’s appointments or your loved one has fallen numerous times, resulting in broken bones that take a long time to heal.
- Need more care than family can provide: This is one of the most difficult things to admit- that the family caregiver is in over their head. When the physical or financial tasks of caring for your loved one becomes too much, it’s time to consider that an assisted living facility can provide the professional care your loved one deserves.
Watch for the signs and know when it’s time to make the important decision that it may be time to consider moving your loved one to an assisted living facility.