”Home Alone: Should Your Elderly Parents Still Be Living At Home?” is a collaborative post and includes affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional.
Although everybody gets older, it’s no fun when it happens. Pretty much anyone in middle-age will be experiencing this feeling right now(like me)! Thankfully, you have a few more years left before you have to describe yourself as ‘old.’ Small mercies. However, elderly loved ones are different. They are already there, yet it’s tempting for the family to continue as if they’re still young.
A prime example is allowing them to live at home alone when it might not be in their best interest. Of course, there are adults and can make decisions on their own, but you only want what’s best for their health. And, considering 25% of elderly Americans have a fall every year, and your parents may land in this category.
The result will depend on many factors, not least your parents’ willingness to move. However, looking out for the signs and evaluating whether they need to move is a crucial first step. Then, you can broach the topic.
Here are signs that mean it is time to get your elderly loved ones assistance.
A house should be a castle. It should be the safest, most comfortable place on the planet. However, this isn’t the case for lots of Americans. 170,000 accidents lead to deaths, for instance, while accidental poisoning happens 65,000 a year. It’s a fact that properties are more hazardous than you realize.
The problem facing most people is that you don’t know what to look out for when analyzing a house. If the majority of homeowners did, people wouldn’t lose their lives to accidents. Therefore, the most secure and straightforward option is to ask a professional to take a look around your parents’ home. Several in-home care services come with an in-home safety evaluation so that you understand the potential risks.
Removing them is an option, yet this is probably a sign that they need to move to a safer property or facility.
Geography will always play a part in your ability to provide care for elderly loved ones. While they hate relying on people, it’s wise to drop in on them to assist with things such as medication and grocery shopping. Even if the tasks are small, every little bit helps when parents aren’t as mobile or independent as before.
Statistically, the average US citizen lives no more than eighteen to twenty miles away from their Mom or Dad. Great! This means that you should be around if their health begins to escalate. However, by the same report, roughly one-fifth of Americans live a couple of hours drive from their childhood home. 20% is a significant chunk of the population, which means you must consider it when deciding. If your location is too far away, you won’t be able to step in when they need your help the most, and that’s heartbreaking.
Does that mean you should move into your house or a care facility? Not always, especially if a sibling or relative is close-by and can shoulder the burden. Of course, if this isn’t the case, there may be no other option than to find new living arrangements.
Hygiene is probably the indicator that should set the alarm bells ringing. For most people, washing is a basic necessity that takes place every day. If it doesn’t, you start to smell, and nobody wants that stigma. So, the fact that your parents’ hygiene isn’t up to the same standards anymore isn’t healthy. After all, no one wants the stigma.
Plus, it’s a simple task, and their inability to do it means they must be struggling to cope. It’s not only about whether they are bathing often, but whether they can do it regularly. Maybe the reason their hygiene is dropping is that they find it tough to shower. The same logic applies to the house, too. A messy, unclean property isn’t home-y. Sure, cleaning isn’t nice, but you’ve got to do it for the sake of your well-being, and older adults are no different.
There are options, such as installing a mobility shower and hiring a cleaner; however, you may want to consider care options. It’s as easy to invest in in-house nurses or a care home as it is to transform an existing property.
It’s a cliche, but older generations are susceptible to fraud. Why? It’s because they are trusting of people when they should be more skeptical. A con man or woman can easily befriend an older person and obtain sensitive information – bank details – without too much hassle. If you’re not around to keep an eye on their finances, you may not know that a ‘knight in shining armor’ is bleeding them dry.
The scary part is that fraudsters can clear out bank accounts remotely. Elderly loved ones who use the internet, for example, may link to phishing sites that steal their information. So, aside from whether they are paying their bills on time, it’s essential to check where the money is going and why. Elderly relatives that have unexplained or dodgy outgoings require more guidance to prevent them from losing everything they’ve built over the years.
Also, you may want to talk to them about best practices when using the internet to shop or browse websites. People who struggle to understand the concept of online fraud are the most vulnerable.
Last but not least is their social life. Getting old doesn’t mean elderly parents should have fewer friends. If anything, it’s vital to maintain a tight-knit support group for various reasons, the main one being negating loneliness. Living alone, which is the case for 13 million Americans who are in their golden years, is incredibly depressing. Therefore, it may be necessary to change their arrangements so that they don’t suffer from as many negative feelings and emotions. This can be the case for couples, too. Living together for decades can lead to tension, and a social life keeps things fresh.
These are the signs, but they may not result in a change any time soon. Elderly people must maintain their independence where possible, or else the new arrangements won’t work.
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