It’s difficult to tell when your elderly parent can no longer live at home alone. In some cases, Dad or Mom could live on their own well into their senior years without any issues. In other cases, small (or big) issues pop up that indicate the time has come to move your parent to a place where his or her health and well-being are the top priority. Here are some clues your family can look for when deciding whether or not it’s time to consider community living for your aging parent.
Mom no longer fills her calendar
Even though our parents stay home more frequently as they age, it’s important for seniors to socialize and get out of their homes from time to time. When a person lives alone and rarely leaves home, they are more prone to social isolation and loneliness. Failing to engage meaningfully with others can even have serious health risks such as depression, dementia, and increased mortality.
Dad is always parked in front of a TV
We’ve all been couch potatoes at some point in our lives. When sitting around the house becomes the norm, however, it can have damaging and lasting health effects. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is very important for seniors. Without regular exercise, they may find their mobility begins to decline, aches and pains from prolonged sitting may arise, and weight gain can become an issue.
Mom’s stopped putting herself together like she used to
When our parents are unable to keep up with daily hygiene it can be alarming, but it’s also a sign that something bigger may be occurring. Often, poor hygiene can indicate a decline in mental health, such as depression or social isolation, or possibly the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Dad took a bad spill
Slips and falls can happen to even the healthiest aging parents. Some falls, however, can result in serious health issues, such as broken bones or abrasions. And, when a parent lives alone, it is more common for a serious fall to result in a parent remaining on the ground for some time. Maybe the last slip wasn’t that serious, but the potential for a more severe fall in the future is not worth the risk of your parent being alone for long stretches of time.
Something seems wrong with Mom, but she refuses to see a doctor
Maybe your mother has recently lost a lot of weight or is experiencing pain. If she resists seeking help or downplays the seriousness of her decline in health, it may be a sign that extra assistance is needed. Any inclination that health is declining should not be taken lightly; be sure to seek medical attention and receive an expert opinion.
Dad is having trouble finding his way back home
A certain amount of memory loss in aging parents is no cause for alarm. When your father forgets significant events in his life, loses track of where he is, or often repeats the same stories, however, it could be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Be sure to bring your parent to a doctor if you think he or she may be showing signs of memory loss.
The risk isn’t worth it
In some cases, your parent may be perfectly fine on his or her own. Maybe your parents have frequent visitors and keep a very active schedule. But if any of the signs above seem familiar, then it may be time to look for a community to give your parent the daily support he or she needs.
Talk with your parent and create a plan for the future. Don’t let a sudden change in your parent’s health leave you unprepared.