With dementia and other similar conditions on the rise, it’s becoming more and more of a problem for seniors who are living alone. Often, they experience isolation from the outside world, missing out on opportunities to socialize with friends and family.
A recent study has revealed that isolation and loneliness can shorten a person’s life, so let’s look at some of the dangers of seniors who are living alone and what we can do about it!
Living Alone Can Be Dangerous for Seniors
Many surveys, including AARP, tell us that nearly 95% of all senior citizens desire to live in their own homes for as long as they possibly can. Although the familiar environment of home benefits them emotionally, research has shown us that too many seniors are living alone when they should be receiving care through assisted living.
We realize that this is never an easy decision, but there are many aspects of assisted living that can bring security and peace of mind to seniors and their families alike. Among the many benefits of assisted living are medication management, general health monitoring, activities for social interaction, day trips, and the comfort of knowing meals and general care will be provided.
A report from The Administration of Aging states that nearly 30% of all senior adults, which is over 11 million, are living at home alone. However, over 5 million of them really need assisted living or long-term care on some level. Many of them need this assistance just to do the basic activities of their daily life.
Disturbingly, many low-income seniors or those living in poverty, need long-term care, but will stay home alone rather than transition to an assisted living situation. There are shocking numbers for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia—of the 70% of seniors in our communities who are living with these conditions, more than a quarter of them are living alone. This is a dangerous reality that needs to be changed!
When Is Living Alone Unsafe?
All of us want to see our loved ones remain healthy, safe and secure, but in order to ensure that happens, it’s important to make sure they are living in a home setting that suits their physical needs. This is especially true if there are any signs of memory loss or other cognitive impairments. Are they able to dress themselves with no problem? Can they bathe and cook on their own? These are important questions to ask yourself when assessing the need for assisted living.
Unfortunately, most accidents among seniors happen in their own homes due to various hazards around the house. These accidents can result in serious injuries and even death. Fall hazards are a serious threat to aging seniors with brittle bones. A broken hip for some senior citizens can often be fatal.
When evaluating whether your senior loved one should be living alone, be sure to ask these questions:
• Can they manage their medication schedule on their own with no problems?
• Is poor eyesight a problem?
• Do they get out and enjoy social activities with the desire to interact with family and friends?
• Can they keep up with general chores around the house?
• Are they eating well?
• Are the able to manage paying bills in a timely manner?
For more information on the dangers of living alone for seniors, please contact us today!
Home Helpers of Appleton and Southeast Wisconsin is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Appleton, Oshkosh, Neenah, Grand Chute, Menasha, Little Chute, Greenville, and Kaukauna.