Many seniors believe that moving into an assisted living or nursing facility is losing their independence. However, living home alone might not be in their best interests. If you are struggling with whether or not your elderly parent should stay at home, here is what you need to know.
What Are the Dangers of Living Alone?
As your parent ages, living at home alone could mean more than retaining his or her independence. In some situations, it could be a safety issue. Elderly people are more vulnerable to suffering an injury from falling. If your parent has a medical condition that is impacting his or her cognitive functioning, everyday tasks, such as taking medication and taking a bath, might be forgotten or ignored.
Your parent also can experience social isolation. Social isolation can have serious consequences. For instance, your parent is at risk of developing depression and less likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle if he or she withdraws from others. Failing to exercise and eat a healthy diet could aggravate any health conditions your parent has and even lead to the development of others.
Living alone also leaves your parent vulnerable to being victimized. Unfortunately, some seniors fall prey to scammers who are only interested in taking as much as they can. Phone and online scammers can steal your parent's savings before you are aware of what is happening.
What Can You Do?
Forcing your parent into an assisted living or nursing facility might not be the best option. This is especially true when your parent is still relatively independent. There are steps that you can take to ensure your parent is receiving the support that he or she needs.
One option is to hire supportive in-home care services. Experienced caregivers will help your parent with non-medical tasks. Services can include cooking, cleaning, and running errands. The caregivers also serve as a monitor and companion. You can receive updates on your parent's condition and be alerted if there are any changes that need to be made to his or her care.
You can also make safety modifications to your parent's home to make it safer. For instance, the doorknobs can be switched out for level-handled knobs and you can replace the flooring with non-slip options.
Keep your parent involved in making decisions about his or her care. You can also involve professionals, such as a caseworker from a supportive in-home care company such as Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, in deciding what services can be used to help your parent remain safely in the home.