August 16, 2018

Most older adults claim that they want to “age in place,” which means they want to stay in their familiar homes for as long as possible. But what if aging in place isn’t the best option for your aging parent or loved one? The truth is, aging in place isn’t always an ideal living arrangement for older adults, especially for those who live alone.

No one wants to think about their parents growing older and becoming less independent. But as your parents age, their care needs will inevitably change. As we get older, certain parts of our daily routines can become more difficult to complete than they once were. Tasks such as driving, climbing stairs, doing household chores or yard work, preparing meals, dressing, or grooming can be challenging for older adults to do on their own.

In some instances, living alone can actually become dangerous for some seniors. For example, older adults may have tripping hazards in their home environment that can lead to falls and fractures. For seniors with decreased cognitive functioning or dementia, living alone can be particularly unsafe, as they may be at risk for wandering, falling, or mismanaging their medication. Furthermore, seniors living alone are often the victims of crime, including financial scams or identity theft.

If you’re worried about the safety of your parent or older loved one living alone, here are some questions to consider:

Does your parent need assistance with everyday tasks? Is someone available to help them throughout the day? 

Is your parent still mobile? Can they get out of bed, stand up from a seated position, climb the stairs, and get in and out of the shower without the danger of slipping or falling?

Is your parent experiencing social isolation? Do they spend time with friends, or participate in social activities on a regular basis?

Does your parent’s home have safety hazards such as loose carpeting, inadequate lighting, or excess clutter? 

Is your parent becoming forgetful? Do they remember to pay bills on time or go to appointments? 

Is your parent eating a healthy diet? Are they able to go to the grocery store and prepare meals?

We all want our parents and loved ones to remain safe and happy in their current living environment. But if you’re concerned about your parent’s ability to live safely at home, it’s time to explore some alternatives to aging in place, such as assisted living.

In assisted living, older adults can maintain their sense of privacy and independence while receiving assistance with their everyday routine in a safe, home-like environment. Assisted living also gives seniors opportunities to socialize and enjoy the company of their peers. And with emergency alert systems and skilled nurses on-site 24 hours a day, older adults and their families can have greater peace of mind knowing that help is available any time of day or night. When it comes to socialization, safety, and quality of life, assisted living is often better for older adults than aging in place at home.