8 Signs That a Loved One Should No Longer Live Alone
Your mom has always been independent. She insisted on living alone when your father passed away, and you were proud to see how she thrived. But now you’re worried that she needs more help than she realizes, and you’re wondering if maybe it’s time for a change.
Assisted living facilities can be a great place for elderly people who want to maintain their sense of independence but want to know help is available when needed. Assisted living housing provides personal care support services tailored to the independence level of each person.
But when a loved one takes particular pride in her self-sufficiency, knowing when to intervene can be tricky. Look at the following 10 signs that a loved one should no longer live alone. If more than a few of them sound familiar, it might be time to sit down with your loved one and have a conversation about making a change.
Changes in upkeep
If your parent or loved one has never cared much for keeping house, you don’t need to jump to conclusions just because the bed’s not made. On the other hand, if he or she always kept the kitchen spotless, and now you notice dishes piled up every time you visit, it could be a red flag.
Accidents and close calls
Accidents can be really scary for the elderly, and the scare-factor increases dramatically when the person lives alone. Assess any recent accidents, whether a fall at home or a fender-bender in the neighborhood, and consider not just the damage, but also whether your loved one knew what actions to take. Knowing what to do in an emergency is an important part of living alone.
A worsening chronic health condition
Some medical conditions get worse over time and can hinder self-sufficiency. If it’s Parkinson’s, for example, the shaking will eventually make it difficult for your loved one to perform daily tasks. Symptoms of COPD (coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath) can become severe enough to prevent your loved one from being able to cook, walk, or take care of himself/herself. Keep an eye out for signs that chronic health conditions are worsening.
We all miss an appointment here and there. We get too busy to make it or we just plain forget. Don’t fault your loved one a single missed hair appointment, but stay alert to recurring absentmindedness and forgetfulness. It may be a sign that it’s time for him or her to live with someone who can help. Forgetfulness can prove especially dangerous when it comes to maintaining a medication schedule.
As with housekeeping, you want to look for change in the area of financial upkeep. No need to worry just because your loved one’s check register isn’t as tidy as yours. But if you notice piles of bills lying unopened, or you see late or past-due notices, you might want to ask about it or look into the matter yourself. Confusion or a lack of concern around bill-paying and other financial matters could be a sign of decreasing self-sufficiency.
Decreased proficiency with important daily tasks
Hygiene. Dressing. Shopping. Laundry. Managing medications. All of these are important tasks for maintaining independence. And while many of them can be addressed by bringing help into the home, in combination with other items on our list, decreased proficiency with these tasks may be a sign that assisted living is a better option for your loved one than living alone.
Signs of forgetfulness around the house
While forgetting to pay a bill or show up to an appointment may be easy to overlook, forgetfulness in the kitchen can be extremely dangerous. Forgetting to turn off a burner can be fatal. Keep an eye out for signs of forgetfulness around the house, such as things placed in bizarre locations (the toothpaste in the kitchen cabinet, the phone in the bathroom drawer). You might want to write them down and keep track of their frequency.
Active friendships, involvement in hobbies and community events, and time spent pursuing interests are all great signs that a person is thriving and continuing to enjoy life. When a loved one begins to isolate and to hide away, it can have a negative impact on his or her health. Assisted living facilities often organize and provide residents with transportation to activities and events that help keep them socially engaged.
We’re here for you and your loved one
At Bella Vista Health Center, we provide the highest standard of care, so you can rest assured that your loved one is in good hands. Our staff is skilled, compassionate, and committed to serving the needs of each resident. The on-site services we offer, such as beauty and barber, dental, vision, and podiatry care allow your loved one to safely maintain independence and self-sufficiency, if desired. In cases where more assistance is needed, we’re always available. We know you’ll appreciate seeing your loved one involved in the fun social gatherings and outings we organize. Your involvement is always welcome and encouraged.
At Bella Vista, we know how much your loved one means to you, and we’d be honored if you’d consider us in your search.