What Are The Dangers of Seniors Living Alone?

Dangers of seniors living alone

Is your mother or father reluctant to move out of their home into a managed care environment? Do you fear that without your care they'd be socially isolated, miss medications and generally unsafe and unhealthy?

Your parents aren't the only one's shouting "I want to stay in my own home" from the hilltops! Far from it. According to research done by AARP nearly 90% of seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes as they age. However, only 43 percent find it very easy. If you can image, a staggering 25% of seniors with dementia or alzheimer's live alone!

Let's try to understand why they want to stay in their own home and the possible dangers of doing so.

Why Seniors Want To Stay In Their Own Home

The AARP survey revealed the top 5 reasons older adults want to stay in their current home:

1. They like their home and don't want to move out

2. They have friends and family nearby

3. They don't want to deal with the difficulty of moving

4. Not sure where they'd go

5. Can't afford the cost of moving all of their things

How To Help Seniors Stay In Their Own Home Longer

There are several things you can do to help your parents live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Here are a few of the most helpful home modifications and improvements seniors have reported:

1. Add safety features such as non-slip floors

2. Add grab bars in the shower and by the toilets

3. Remove steps from the entrance way

4. Widen doorways

5. Install lever-handled door knobs

6. Raise electric outlets (avoid bending down as low)

7. Lower electrical switches (don't have to reach as high)

When You Know It's No Longer Safe To Live Alone

Despite all your best efforts to make it safe for your loved one to live at home alone, there may come a time when it's simply not safe anymore. You should monitor your loved one's physical, nutritional and mental health. Here are some of the signs it may be time to move out or get full or part-time care:

1. Malnutrition - Can no longer cook or does not eat healthy meals on their own. Watch out for canned meals only.

2. Forgetfulness - Memory makes daily living chores a challenge or even dangerous i.e. leaves stove top on, doesn't turn off taps, forgets to take out garbage, does not wear medical alert devices, etc...

3. Poor Vision - Cannot do or find things without assistance. Would be at significant risk in an emergency situation.

4. Poor Mobility - Cannot perform necessary functions like toileting, bathing, dressing or getting in or out of bed, without assistance. Would be at significant risk in an emergency situation.

5. Falls Frequently - Falls from poor coordination, muscular weakness, fainting, confusion.

6. Social Isolation - Cannot / does not leave their home to participate in social activities and has no friends or family come visit. Isolation can cause depression which significantly impacts health and happiness.

7. Medication Management - Forgets to take medications, confuses pills, can't manage dosages.

Have you had difficulties convincing your mom or dad that they'd be better off in a managed care environment? Please share your stories with us in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!