When is it Unsafe for an Aged Parent to Live Alone?
Data from the Pew Research Center says around 12 million seniors (that’s people aged 65+) now live alone; 69% of them are women. For many, living alone isn’t something they choose. It’s forced upon them by the loss of a partner or the breakdown of a relationship later in life.
Many people don’t mind living alone, but as we age, there comes a point when a senior isn’t safe living alone anymore. If one of your aged parents is living alone, here are some signs they are no longer safe and ready to take the next step into assisted living or a nursing home.
Depression is a Problem
Living alone can increase the risk of depression. It’s hard being the only one. There isn’t anyone to talk to or share the chores with. It is also harder from a financial perspective. Growing older exacerbates these issues. Mobility issues may make it harder to socialize with friends. Your parent’s social circle will likely have shrunk a lot too, as people leave the area or pass on.
There is a recognized link between living alone and depression, so be alert to the signs in your parent. A lack of enthusiasm for things they once loved, low mood, excessive fatigue, and changes in appetite all point to possible depression.
Some seniors are strong as oxen and more than capable of taking care of the chores at home, but others become frailer as they age. If your parent is struggling physically and seems very frail, be alert. The risks associated with falls in the home are far greater when an aged parent lives alone. If they did fall, would anyone know?
There is technology available to alert help if a senior falls at home, but this should only ever be a safety net. A far better solution is to look at assisted living Jackson NJ, so there is always someone around to help if the worst does happen.
Signs of Dementia
The prevalence of dementia in seniors increases with age. Not all seniors will develop dementia but more than 60% of people aged 80+ years have dementia.
Keep a close eye on your aged parent and be alert to signs of cognitive decline. There is a strong link between loneliness and dementia and people that live alone are more likely to develop dementia. If this happens to your aged parent, there is a limit to how long they can continue living independently. Eventually, they won’t be safe or able to care for themselves, at which point you will need to re-evaluate their living situation.
Seniors with dementia are very vulnerable to physical, mental, and financial abuse. If you have any concerns, speak to a medical professional and have your parent evaluated.
A Difficult Conversation
Many seniors are very independent and don’t like the idea of leaving their homes, so be sensitive when raising the topic of them no longer being safe living alone. Whether you invite them to come and live with you or organize assisted living, try to reassure them you are doing this from a place of love.