According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of adults above 65 years will be 77 million by 2034. The elderly population will be more than the children below 18 years. This demographic shift is set to pose several challenges in most households.
Families have to know when an aging relative needs extra help than what’s accorded. It’s distressing to enroll your parents for assisted living. But it is necessary if you identify unusual signs.
Sometimes the elderly living alone are not able to take care of themselves. Make sure you check out these signs to know if your parents shouldn’t be on their own anymore.
1. Unexplainable Weight Loss
Unless your elderly parent is dieting or going to the gym, weight loss is alarming. Drastic weight loss can be the result of several factors. It is highly likely that the older person is having trouble with self-care.
Old age can reduce one’s ability to use the kitchen. Seniors also forget to take their meals regularly. They won’t even realize they are losing weight.
Weight loss can also indicate sickness. If your parent is battling depression, poor appetite is imminent. Get a proper diagnosis to deal with the weight loss.
When you realize your parents’ weight loss is unusual, consider having them in an assisted living facility. They will have nutritious meals every day. You don’t have to keep worrying about their frail body as they will get good care.
2. Messy House
Your parent’s cluttered house is a sign of cognitive issues. Cases of memory loss or dementia can impede one’s ability to work on some tasks. Aging makes household chores appear harder.
A day or two of dirty dishes wouldn’t be much of a big deal. But if the sink has a pile of dirty dishes attracting bugs, don’t take it lightly. You might also notice that your loved one’s floor hasn’t been cleaned in a while.
When home maintenance becomes a challenge, your parent requires more assistance. A messy home can attract hazardous bacteria. Besides, the clutter can increase falls, which puts an older person to more risks.
3. Increased Wandering
If you’re wondering how to know when an elderly person can’t live alone, note their reaction when going places. Common destinations such as the church or grocery stores might seem alien. In fact, your elderly parents might resist going to places they once treasured.
Wandering exposes older adults to unsafe environments. An elderly parent might wander off to unknown destinations. You should consider moving your parents to a safer environment where the support is absolute.
Check out this article on how to get senior living communities. You’ll need to identify a place that meets the most physical and emotional needs of your loved one. Take your time before deciding to relocate your parents.
4. Missing Bill Payments
Elderly living alone can face challenges when dealing with finances. If your parent forgets to pay taxes and bills, you ought to look into the issue. Forgetting to pay bills consistently is a sign that your parent is battling something bigger.
Seniors can downplay memory loss. In fact, they might try to hide the illness. Financial mismanagement in seniors can have adverse effects.
Besides opting for assisted living, be active in your parent’s financial decision-making. Be their power of attorney. Your assistance in financial management will help them navigate through daily decisions.
5. Declining Personal Hygiene
Taking a shower daily seems like a no-brainer. But for a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia, taking a shower might feel like a daunting task. Some elderly persons wouldn’t even understand how to go about it.
You might also notice they have bad breath. Brushing teeth is another task that might appear harder as people age. Neglected nails also shows not all is well.
With such signs, you ought to consider alternative living options for your parents. An older adult who seems oblivious of their derailing hygiene shouldn’t live alone.
6. Piling Mail
Checking mail is overwhelming. Besides, you’re likely to encounter several junks mails. A day or two of unopened mails is somehow possible.
However, a pile of unopened mail in your parents’ home can indicate cognitive impairment. You’ll notice mail cluttering all over the counters. The inability to check essential letters shows something is amiss.
Unfortunately, creditors can take advantage of this situation. Keep checking those mails to rule out impostors. While at it, make plans to have a home care assistant or any other form of assisted living for the elderly living alone.
7. Declining Social Activities
People who disconnect from others have three times higher chances of dying than those with strong social bonds. Friendships can get one through several setbacks. The emotional support from social ties is particularly beneficial for elderly persons.
If your parent isn’t leaving the house anymore, reduced social activities are inevitable. Refusing to leave the house paves the way for depression and loneliness. Ultimately, your parents might end up battling several physical and mental conditions due to the inactivity.
An assisted living facility allows seniors to socialize. Hanging out with peers, each passing day can be rejuvenating. The stories and laughter might be endless.
Nonetheless, some elderly persons would want to be with their loved ones. As a family, you should consider the wishes of your parents. Arrange to accommodate your parents for their psychosocial wellbeing.
8. Growing Defensive
Aging parents might start becoming unusually defensive. Conditions such as dementia make the elderly grow suspicious of even familiar people. They might be aggressive towards people who are trying to help.
It wouldn’t be surprising to have such a senior buying a gun for protection. Yet, the weapon can cause self-harm. Having these ‘protective’ tools should be a red flag.
An older person with such tendencies ought not to live alone. Besides, such an individual needs medical attention to prevent harming others or themselves.
Elderly Living Alone Can Have Several Setbacks
It is essential to check how your parents are holding up as age advances. Elderly living alone is prone to a myriad of physical and emotional conditions. You should arrange for alternative living plans for your aging parents.
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