Due to divorce, the death of a spouse, or having never been married, many older adults live alone. According to the Administration on Aging, statistics indicate that in 2010, 1.3 million seniors lived alone. Here are a few risks involved with solitary living in the golden years.
1. Medication Management
Older adults with memory deficits or cognitive impairment may not be able to manage their medications. They may forget to take medications as directed, which leaves the drug regimen ineffective. They might also accidentally overdose. Manual and digital medication tools are available and may be helpful. You or another caregiver may need to simply insert the drugs for the designated times of day for a week.
Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust in Des Moines in-home care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she manages an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.
A study performed by researchers from University College London evaluated the effects isolation has on seniors. The scientists followed more than 6,500 older adults and learned that social isolation increased the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment along with making seniors more susceptible to infections. Being alone can also be dangerous should an emergency arise. The risk of danger can be reduced by visiting your loved one often, encouraging him or her to visit with friends, and using medical alert devices.
For families living in Des Moines, IA, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
3. Nutritional Deficits
Older adults who live alone may experience malnutrition. They might make food choices that worsen certain medical conditions. If your loved one has dementia, he or she may forget how to use kitchen appliances to prepare nutritious meals. Take your loved one grocery shopping or help him or her prepare meals for the week to ensure a proper diet.
4. Physical Hazards
The National Council on Aging reports 25 percent of older adults experience falls. Fall-related injuries prevent older adults from enjoying an independent lifestyle, and they also affect their finances. There may be hazards in the home that pose a risk of injury or falls. Your loved one could trip over objects obstructing pathways. A lack of sufficient lighting at night might also pose a fall risk. If your loved one has limited mobility, he or she may have difficulty getting into and out of the tub. Evaluate your loved one’s home and correct possible risks.
5. Lack of Health Awareness
When seniors live alone, there is no one around to witness possible symptoms that indicate the development of a serious condition. By visiting your loved one periodically, you remain informed about his or her health and wellbeing.
6. Financial Issues
Seniors with cognitive decline may forget to pay monthly bills. Consider your loved one’s cognitive abilities and assess his or her problem-solving capabilities to ensure he or she can handle finances.
Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Des Moines, IA, home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. To learn about our revolutionary senior home care plans, call one of our professional Care Managers at (515) 264-2438 today.