How to Know When an Elderly Person Can't Live Alone

How to Know When an Elderly Person Can’t Live Alone

The majority of older adults today want to age in place or remain living at home while they get older rather than move into an assisted living community or nursing home. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible, and loved ones and caregivers struggle to determine when it’s time for additional help. At We Care Senior Solutions, many family members ask us how to know when an elderly person can’t live alone anymore. 

Deciding to transition an older loved one into an assisted living community in Horsham is often fraught with guilt, sadness, and uncertainty for everyone involved. Knowing the warning signs that they can longer take care of themselves safely can help you make the decision and choose the perfect place where they will thrive. Read on to learn the key signs to watch for and when to explore alternative care options. 

Declining Health 

While many seniors slow down or have health problems as they get older, when their health clearly appears to be getting worse, it is often a sign they are not taking good care of themselves. Some indications of declining health include:

  • Weight loss 
  • Insomnia 
  • Excessive sleeping 
  • Frequent illness or worsening symptoms of existing conditions 
  • Increasing complaints about pain 

Moving into an assisted living community with healthcare providers onsite can help ensure your loved one has the resources they need to stay healthy. Assisted living staff can provide ongoing medical care, ensure they eat nutritious meals and take medicine on time, and notify you about any concerns.

Significant Weight Loss

Weight loss can be a sign of a health issue, but it may also indicate that a senior is no longer caring for themselves properly. Cognitive illnesses can make them forget to eat, or they might not eat enough healthy food to maintain their weight. In any case, extreme weight loss is a warning sign of a problem that requires attention. 

Frequent Falls 

Severe injuries from accidents like falls are a leading reason for nursing home admissions. Even if they don’t sustain severe injuries, seniors who frequently fall or require assistance to get around safely need help. If your loved one complains of hip or leg pain, has unexplained bruises, or other signs of injury, consider transitioning them to assisted living. 

Poor Money and Medication Management 

Aging adults often have difficulty managing their money due to cognitive decline. If you notice piles of unopened mail, unpaid bills, or unusual changes in spending habits, that could indicate that your loved one needs help. 

Assistance is also necessary if your loved one stops taking their medication or misses or miscalculates doses. Mismanaging medication can be life-threatening, so it’s time to start looking for alternatives.

Poor Hygiene

When families ask how to know when an elderly person can’t live alone, changes in personal hygiene and housekeeping top the list of concerns. An adult who struggles with activities of daily living like bathing, dresses, and toileting should not live alone. Signs to watch for include:

  • Changes in their appearance, especially if they look disheveled or ungroomed
  • Difficulty cooking or eating
  • Asking for more assistance than usual in getting around
  • Bathroom accidents or an inability to use the bathroom without assistance 

Changes in housekeeping habits can also indicate that your loved one can longer live alone. Watch for warning signs like a dirty or messy home, piles of dishes or laundry, piling garbage, or food going to waste in the refrigerator.

These changes can indicate that an elderly person doesn’t have the ability to take care of themselves or their home due to mobility issues or cognitive decline. 

Social Isolation 

While many older people prefer to remain at home or maintain a well-established routine, if your loved one starts isolating themselves from friends and family, it’s cause for concern. Declining invitations, not returning phone calls, and canceling plans are all signs that they are trying to isolate themselves and avoid contact with others. 

When this happens, it could indicate they are dealing with depression. It may also be a sign that they fear losing their independence and want to prove they can be self-sufficient. Either way, it’s a cause for concern and a sign that they need additional support. 

Recent Diagnosis

Sometimes the question of how to know when an elderly person can’t live alone answers itself. Certain medical conditions require 24-hour care to ensure safety and well-being. For example, adults with cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s may feel more secure and comfortable knowing that someone is nearby to provide assistance.

Physical impairments can also keep an elderly person from living alone. In many cases, individuals can still live mostly independently in a long-term care or assisted living community. Staff is onsite to help with extra care when necessary, giving everyone more peace of mind.

New Fears or Confusion 

It is common for seniors to suddenly develop a new fear of being alone at night. This could be due to the loss of a spouse, concerns about falling, or a symptom of anxiety or a cognitive condition. 

Another sign that a senior needs help is a tendency to become confused in familiar places, like the grocery store or a loved one’s home. This is especially concerning if they begin wandering. Wandering out of fear or confusion means their cognitive disease is progressing, and they cannot live alone safely. 

Get Help Finding Assisted Living From We Care Senior Solutions 

Now that you better understand how to know when an elderly person can’t live alone, you may realize that your loved one is showing warning signs of needing assisted living. Our team at We Care Senior Solutions understands is here to help you find the perfect place. We can help you define your needs, from the qualities of assisted living staff to the community amenities, to ensure the best match for your family. 

Let us help you sort through the hundreds of elderly care options in Pennsylvania and beyond. Call today to schedule a consultation. 

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