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Can Your Parents Safely Age at Home?

December 16, 2019
Elderly woman looking out the window.

During the holiday season, when we may see our loved ones more than often, we may ask ourselves if it is still safe for our parent(s) to be living at home. If your parents are living alone, there is often a concern for their safety, socialization and how they care for themselves. If your mom or dad lives alone, it may be time to consider: What would happen if they fell? Forgot to take their medications (correctly)? How often is someone visiting? It is important to periodically evaluate your parent’s living situation to determine whether they should be living on their own.

Here are our top 3 signs that your parents might not be entirely safe living at home:

Recurrent Falls

Among older adults, falls are the most common cause of injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls account for 87% of all fractures for people 65 years and older. They are also the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury among older adults. A fall at home alone can be extremely dangerous to a senior with limited mobility, especially if they are home alone. Look for bruising and marks on your parent. Do they have difficulty getting around the home or using the stairs? For someone who frequently falls, an assisted living can greatly decrease the risk of falling through both an on-site physical therapy program and life enrichment programming that will motivate and increase the quality of life.

Medication (Mis)Management

Medication mismanagement can lead to many unwanted side effects and may be life-threatening. Unwanted side effects could include drowsiness, irritability and insomnia as well as a diminished quality of life. When visiting with your mom or day, look to see if they remember to take their medications at prescribed doses and times? Hospitalizations or health issues due to skipped doses or multiple doses is a clear indication that medication mismanagement is a problem If you aren’t sure, look for expired medications or pill bottles in different rooms with no apparent structure or routine. Medication programs in an assisted living can take the doubt and anxiety away. Assisted living and personal care homes take the prescribed direction from the resident’s physicians in administrating medications.

Socialization

Research has found that socialization can play a major role in overall health as people age. Spending time with family and friends can boost the quality of life, including both physical and mental health. How often is your mom or dad able to spend quality time with others? Are they able to leave the house on their own to visit with friends and family? Is your parent showing any signs of depression? A senior community offers many opportunities for spending time around other people, including exercise classes, meals and a variety of activities and outings.

While these are our top 3 signs that your parents might not be entirely safe living at home, other indications include meal preparation, home organization, financial management. If you are noticing a decline in your parent’s living situation, it is always worth investigating. Visit often and try to have open conversations about the help they need. If possible, visit other friends and family that are living in senior living communities. Priority Life Care and our communities understand how difficult it can be when considering a move to a senior living community. Each of our communities will be a resource for you. We are here to help you understand the process, the jargon and, in many cases, can help you find an available financial program to help make assisted living affordable. Contact a Priority Life Care community near you to understand the transition today.

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