Elderly Living: 7 Dangers of Seniors Living Alone at Home
The sad truth is that a lot of us become less able to be independent as we age. It's a hard fact to face, but it's something you may need to consider thoughtfully if you have an elderly loved one who is still living on their own. The elderly living alone can put them at risk for some serious physical and emotional dangers.
By the year 2030, adults over 65 will comprise 20% of the U.S. population! One in 5 people living in America will be over 65 and could be at risk for any of these issues. We should do our best to be aware of what they are and to prevent them.
We've compiled a list of some of the biggest danger risks you should be aware of. Read on to learn what they are!
1. Loneliness and Depression
A common situation many seniors face is social isolation as they age. Maybe a spouse or friend passes on before them or their physical limitations prevent them from being able to go out as much as they once did. This lack of freedom can result in a lot more time alone at home without human interaction.
This isolation can make seniors feel lonely, with no one to spend time with or talk to. Friendship is something that we as humans have a basic need for, and depriving ourselves of friendship can be just as damaging to us as going without food. This can lead to physical ailments like high blood pressure and memory loss.
Isolation contributes to a higher rate of anxiety and depression, which can cause insomnia, nausea, heart palpitations, and other symptoms.
2. Poor Diet and Nutrition
Seniors living alone may encounter many barriers to accessing healthy food. Physical limitations may make grocery shopping and preparing food at home difficult and too much effort. It may be much easier to eat at the McDonald's next door every day.
Limited income may make affording a balanced healthy diet difficult. Unfortunately, poor nutrition will only contribute to a senior's deteriorating health.
3. Falling and Injury
Falling is a leading cause of death for seniors. What would be a little spill for someone younger can have much more serious effects on the elderly. As we age, our bones become more brittle, so a fall can cause a lot more injury.
If someone lives alone and they aren't able to get up after they fall, they may not be able to reach the phone to call for help, and they could end up stranded.
4. Accidental Medication Overdose
Age can sometimes cause us to not be as sharp mentally as we once were. We may have trouble remembering simple things, like whether we took our pills already or not. This fact, in addition to the fact that as we age we also are much more likely to be on several medications, means that the risk of accidental overdose is very high for the elderly.
5. Failure to Detect Symptoms
Living alone also presents the challenge of detecting the symptoms of health problems. With some symptoms, like memory loss, it may be much more clear to the people around you than it is to you. Those living alone may not notice new symptoms as they come up, or choose to ignore them, placing themselves at greater risk for further complications.
Seniors living at home may be at risk for infection and disease because of cleanliness issues. They may find it too physically taxing to bathe or wash properly. Basic housekeeping may fall to the wayside as lack of both mobility and energy become issues.
This can lead to many issues including spoiling food, mold, and pest infestation. All of these can pose serious health risks to the occupant of the house.
Seniors who live alone are much more likely to be poor. Many are retired or unemployed and have a fixed income. In 2018, 50% of people aged 65 or older made less than $25,000.00 in a single year.
They may not have been able to save enough for retirement when they were working and now they can struggle to pay bills. Some have enough money but lack the skills to manage their finances well themselves.
Elderly Living with Dignity and Aid
So what is the alternative to living at home alone? Consider looking into a CCRC. CCRC stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community.
These communities tackle loneliness by letting seniors live near their peers. They are designed to "age with a person," meaning that the person will be able to have as much independence as they can and that different services and aid will become available to them whenever they need them. This means that someone can live in the same place as their condition changes and easily add more services without having to uproot their entire life as things progress.
The types of services they offer can include medical help, bathing and personal hygiene assistance, transportation, as well as community activities and outings.
Freedom to Live Better
CCRC's enhance elderly living by giving seniors the freedom to live better! By living in a community, your loved one will be safer and happier in their golden years. They will be able to express their independence but still receive the care they need when they need it.
If you would like to learn more about how you can find a good CCRC, we have some great resources to help inform you. Check out some of our informational videos!