When Should the Elderly Not Live Alone? Signs Your Parent Has Reached That Point
Think of all the things our parents have done for us throughout the years. We enter into a tough chapter in life when it starts to become apparent that they can’t take care of things around the house anymore. When should the elderly not live alone? There are a number of indicators.
When general cleanliness falls by the wayside and incessant memory loss seems to move in, it’s time to take a good, hard look at current affairs. If you’re wondering when should the elderly not live alone anymore, we have a couple of general indicators.
These indicators won’t mean the same thing for everyone and we don’t believe it’s an automatic send off to the local nursing home. Rather, they’re little red flags to keep an eye out for as you provide Mom and Dad with the best care possible.
Their Home Is Unkempt
Unless your parents were always super sloppy (eek), seeing things take a turn for the worse is one of your first signs. If things tended to be orderly and clean and that’s no longer the case, then it’s time to investigate.
Take a stroll through the house to observe at least three rooms: the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. In the kitchen, has the trash not been taken out lately? Are dishes piling up?
Is the bathroom dirty? Does it look like it hasn’t had a decent scrub in weeks? As for the bedroom, take a look at the laundry situation. Is it piling up? Are clothes strewn about? These are some of your best tell-tale signs.
Their Personal Hygiene Is Failing
The same concept that applies to their home applies to their personal hygiene. When you go in for a hug, does their hair or skin smell oily? Is their appearance disheveled?
Or, maybe your parents used to always dress nicely but now they’re wearing sweats and other (sloppy) forms of loungewear. You can ask them if they need some help doing a load of laundry and gauge their reaction.
Often, they don’t realize they’re being unhygienic. It’s a bit of a slippery slope rather than a conscious decision to stop taking care of themselves. So, see if they even know they’ve let things go.
The Bills Are Slipping
Only the elite pay their bills like clockwork. We’ve all slipped and missed the occasional due date here and there. But, if you see lots of unpaid bills piling up on the dining room table, then it’s time for another chat to feel things out.
Often, elderly parents living alone try to shake off memory loss with statements like, “It’s not a big deal.” They try to downplay it because they can sense their forgetfulness, but they’re not quite sure when things started going downhill.
Their Driving Habits Are Not Good
If Mom or Dad offers to drive you to lunch and you feel like you barely made it there alive, that’s another tell-tale sign. Ignoring the rules of the road is a road map to the trouble up ahead. If they seem to have forgotten the way to their favorite lunch spot, that’s also a red flag.
Another thing to observe is a certain level of nervousness about driving. If they typically like to drive but say no this time, that could be another indicator that something’s wrong.
They’re Not Taking Their Medicine
If a normal seven-day pillbox has always been kept up to date but, now, it seems like the pillbox hasn’t been touched in days, you might want to find out why. What if something serious like their blood thinner isn’t being taken?
This can likely be attributed to a general sense of memory loss, but the ramifications can be quite serious. Maybe there’s a simple fix like setting daily alarms and times but that, too, can feel a tad shaky when life-saving medicine appears to have gone by the wayside.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
Of course, each of these instances isn’t an automatic indicator that they can’t live alone anymore. The state of the house or their hygiene may be due to terrible back pain or some other health problem. That’s something that can be addressed without them perceiving you as taking away their freedom.
Hopefully, you can open the lines of communication with your observations and get to the bottom of things. Perhaps they just need to find a certain specialist or make some adaptations to the way they normally live.
What Are Your Options?
If it does seem like it is, indeed, time to make some drastic changes, then there is a wealth of options for keeping your parents healthy and safe. You might start with in-home care.
This can include daily visits from a home health aide, or maybe three visits from an aide. Aides can help with a wide variety of tasks, from socialization and a little cleanup to full nursing care.
Some aides assist with daily chores like grocery shopping and clean up around the house. They can also take your parents to doctors’ appointments and other important meetings.
RN nursing assistance means their blood pressure will be checked and their medication will be administered, along with other important medical details. In this manner, your Mom or Dad can still live in the house they love, but things won’t be neglected any longer.
When Should the Elderly Not Live Alone?
Like much of life, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Memory loss means different things for different people. A general drop in hygiene can mean anything from depression to memory loss, to a need for greater care.
It may take some time for you to decide when should the elderly not live alone. But, when you and your family are ready to make a decision, feel free to give us a call.
Here at Med1Care, we provide home healthcare, nursing assistant classes, and medical staffing services. We serve Toledo, Findlay, and 26 surrounding counties in Ohio. We’ll be able to match you with the right services to meet your family’s needs.