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Signs an Older Adult Shouldn’t Live Alone

Let’s assume your elderly loved ones are in picture perfect health. They are living independently. Perhaps they still have the ability to drive as well. You have very little to worry about at this moment.

Now suppose one of your loved ones contracts an illness and is hospitalized. His recovery is long and requires a stay in a rehabilitation facility. Will he be the same once he has recovered? Will he have all of his faculties and skills?

It is hard to say when it is time to consider changing your loved one’s living arrangements. How do you know if your loved one can’t live alone anymore? Your parent or loved one will experience many difficulties as he or she ages — loss of a spouse, ailments, disease. Keeping abreast of your loved one’s situation as they falter is important to maintaining his health and his quality of life.

Safety
Many older adults are healthy, but can no longer live alone safely. A house that might have been fine for a person in his 60’s or 70’s, can become too much to take care of and be filled with hazards for a person in his 80’s or 90’s.

Dangerous obstacles including staircases, slippery tile, and tall shelving can loom large for a senior. Also, large yards with uneven terrain, poorly lit rooms or small bathrooms in the home of an aging loved one may also prove difficult.

Falling down can be detrimental for older adults. As a person ages, he is at a high risk for bone fractures due to progressive loss of bone mass.

Take care to look for these hazards when visiting with your loved one. Have open and frank discussions about making changes if necessary.

Not caring for themselves
As seniors age, they experience the loss of friends and loved ones. Such losses can lead to withdrawal from social life. Potentially, it can also lead to lapses in self-care and hygiene. No longer taking care of their hygiene and withdrawing socially.

Take the time to feel out your loved one’s state of mind when visiting with him. Look for signs of abandonment of care. Try to get him involved in family and group events at his home, and at yours, especially if you believe that a transition is needed for moving in with you or another relative.

Physical Disability and Disease
Health problems can make it hard to live alone. If your loved one is experiencing a disability or a disease, the quality of life and ability to live independently are jeopardized, no matter if your loved one is 65 or 85. Talk with your loved one and his physician about his particular ailments to help arrange a better living situation in his home or another. Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can also be a factor for your loved one at any age. Look for signs that he is forgetting more than just little things.

Not Comfortable Alone Anymore
As a person ages, he or she may not be comfortable living alone anymore. Common signs of this discomfort can include “night fright”, depression, and feelings of isolation.

Add the hazards of living alone, health risks, person losses, and the inability to maintain a household and its finances. The signs may pile up and lead you to conclude time has come for your loved one to move to a different living arrangement.

It may be financially possible to hire home care aides to attend to daily living needs and home care nurses if your loved one needs medical attention. Another option may be enroll your loved one in an adult day center. Some families may be able tog their parent move into their home to live with them. All of these options have pros and cons. Take the time to explore all the options and resources available in your area. If possible, your loved one should be part of the decision making process.