We all want the best for our parents, especially as they grow older. Many senior adults value their independence and want to continue living at home as they age. However, there comes a day when most families are faced with a difficult question: How do I know if my aging loved should still live alone? If you’re concerned about the safety and wellbeing of your mother, father, or another older relative, look out for these warning signs, which may indicate they need the services provided by assisted living.
The house looks messier than you remember
The next time you visit your parent, take note of their home’s condition. Is the house cluttered, or messier than usual? Do you notice piles of unopened mail or bills? Is there expired food in the refrigerator, dirty dishes, or other signs of neglected household chores? Does the house itself need repairs or maintenance work? These could be signs that your parent is having difficulty keeping up with their home and needs more help.
You notice changes in their physical appearance
With age, we all inevitably experience changes in our appearance. But some physical changes can be a cause for concern. If you notice that your parent has suddenly lost or gained a significant amount of weight, it could be a sign of malnutrition or another underlying health problem. Also, look out for anything abnormal in your parent’s personal hygiene and grooming habits. For example, are their clothes clean? Are they still getting haircuts? Giving your parent a hug can reveal a lot about any worrisome changes in their physical health and wellness, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while.
You spot signs of forgetfulness
Everyone experiences forgetfulness from time to time, but forgetfulness that interferes with your parent’s everyday routine can be an indication of a more significant problem. Some clues that your parent may be experiencing a memory condition include things like forgetting appointments, becoming confused about people they know, missing medication doses, or repeating the same questions or stories. Frequent forgetfulness and memory loss are a clear sign that your parent may no longer be able to live alone at home safely.
They’re not as social as they used to be
Maybe your mother used to be a social butterfly, but lately, she has been withdrawing from her friends and social groups. Or perhaps your father isn’t as interested in the hobbies he used to love. Changes in your loved one’s social life and activities can be a sign of depression, one of the most common mental illnesses among older adults. If you suspect your parent is lonely, isolated, or depressed, living alone might no longer be the best option for them. Assisted living communities provide older adults more opportunities for social engagement, which in turn helps improve their physical and emotional health.
If you’re worried about the health and safety of your loved one living alone, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. Many seniors adults are stubborn about asking for help, or they may be unaware that they need any assistance in the first place. Before you approach the topic of assisted living with your parent, take some time to research and visit nearby assisted living facilities. You’ll feel well-prepared as you propose the idea and gain a better understanding of the services and amenities provided in assisted living.