According to the Pew Research Center, many older people worldwide are fortunate to live in large, extended families. However, in the U.S., this arrangement is not the norm. Aging adults are much more likely to live alone or with only a spouse or partner for support. While your parents may insist on living independently and staying in their home, you should know about the potential risks of aging in place and how to keep them safe.
Of course, you want the best for your aging loved ones. You may worry about the physical and mental changes that accompany getting older and what to do when you start noticing signs of memory loss or a lack of coordination. How can you tell if those issues are limiting your parents’ quality of life, and when should you speak to them about their future care needs?
1. Frequent Falls
Falling is the top concern associated with aging in place. Whether they trip over furniture or lose their balance while doing regular household activities, older adults can severely injure themselves. Since your parents may be too embarrassed to tell you that they fell, it’s crucial to be observant and look for signs like unexplained cuts and bruises.
2. A Messy House
Daily chores can become increasingly challenging to manage with age. If you visit your parents and see they have dirty dishes piled in the sink, stacks of unopened mail, heaps of unwashed laundry on the floor, dusty furniture, or signs of an insect infestation, these are signs your loved one needs help around the house.
3. Social Isolation
Older adults are at increased risk for loneliness because they are more likely to experience problems such as the death of friends and family members, chronic illness, and hearing loss. In some cases, it may seem too challenging to get out and about like they used to do. Anxiety and depression can also contribute to isolation, and vice versa. Having a daily companion can help your loved one feel a much-needed sense of connection while aging in place and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your parent is not alone.
4. Neglecting Responsibilities
Even after retirement, older adults have various responsibilities to fulfill, such as paying bills, making doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, and getting car maintenance. Missed payments and commitments are a sure sign that your parent could use daily help. Forgetfulness could also cause health problems if your loved one frequently neglects to take their prescription medications or takes more than the prescribed dose.
5. Wandering or Getting Lost
Disorientation is a common symptom of age-related memory loss and dementia. Your parent may walk into a room in their home and forget why they are there, or get lost on the way to a familiar destination like the pharmacy or grocery store. The more frequently this happens, the more concerned you should be about your loved one’s well-being.
Aging in Place Gracefully
At Legacy Homecare LA, we understand that aging in place requires dedicated support. We can help your parent remain independent longer with specialized care for health concerns like Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, and heart disease. To learn more about our experienced Care Companions or the Los Angeles-area communities we serve, contact us today.