The idea that a parent or an older relative is no longer able to live safely at home alone can be difficult to contemplate. However, there are signs that you should look out for that can indicate it may be time to consider the options that are offered by an assisted living facility.
Noticeable Changes in Personal Care and Hygiene Habits
If your loved one is unable to properly manage his or her personal grooming, there will be a noticeable change in his or her physical appearance. After an extended time of not bathing regularly and not cleaning his or her hair or teeth, your loved one may appear haggard and have a body odor. He or she may also take to wearing the same clothing several days in a row.
Sudden Loss of Weight
A drastic drop in weight can indicate that your senior relative is not eating properly or is suffering from health issues. The inability to fix his or her own food can result in your loved one eating only what is easily accessible or not eating at all. This can result in nutritional deficiencies, exhaustion and complications with medicine that is required to taken with food.
An Increase in Accidents at Home
If your loved one is no longer able to move around as he or she used to, he or she may have injuries sustained from falls or attempts to prevent a fall. Weakened bones, joint stiffness, inactivity and various health-related issues can cause a decrease in mobility. Navigating in or out of the bed or the bathtub or having to use stairs can pose significant risks. If the home is no longer adequately accessible, your loved one may require physical assistance or props in order to move around safely.
Compromised Security and Safety
An increase in the occurrence of safety and security incidents in the home, particularly if your loved one does not seem to recall how they happened, could indicate assisted living options should be considered. There should be cause for concern if the following types of incidents routinely occur:
- Leaving appliances plugged in and turned on
- Keys left in vehicles or doors
- Entrance doors are left open
- Signs of a fire
- Other indications of frequent forgetfulness
Withdrawal from Social Engagement
Any sudden unwillingness to engage with others, including family members, may be indications of depression and loneliness. This can be especially true if a spouse or a very close relative or friend has recently passed. Additional signs can include:
- Significant weight loss or gain
- A lack of sleep
- Intense changes in mood
- Indications that suicide has been contemplated
If your elderly loved one has any age-related issues that make living at home alone an unsafe option, it may be time to consider seeking the help of an assisted living facility. Assisted living can provide the tools that are needed to help your loved one regain his or her independence and dignity.