Many older adults prefer to live independently rather than receive care assistance.
Unfortunately, there are several unexpected dangers in independent living for the elderly.
Some of these dangers can be solved with the addition of home medical equipment, while others may indicate that it might be time to bring in-home care assistance or move your loved one to a care facility.
Falls are one of the most common dangers when an older adult lives alone.
Falls can occur when walking, doing housework, or climbing or descending the stairs.
Using a walking aid or a stairlift can reduce the chance of falls occurring.
Shopping and cooking may become difficult for the elderly.
An older adult may make poor nutrition choices and may not eat the right foods or enough food that they need for proper nutrition.
Malnutrition can be a significant problem for the elderly.
As people age, they tend to forget things naturally.
Forgetfulness can become a danger when an older adult progresses to forgetting important events, like the fact that they left the stove on or that they have a doctor’s appointment.
Over- or Under-Medication
An older adult living alone runs a risk of over-or under-medicating themselves.
Forgetting to take medication, or forgetting that they’ve already taken medication, can create serious health hazards.
Providing an older adult with a labeled pillbox can help to ensure accurate dosages.
A bathroom is a dangerous place, especially for the elderly.
Accidents can easily occur when getting in and out of the bath.
Installing a walk-in tub can make it both easier and safer for an older adult to navigate bathing.
Grab bars can also make the bathroom safer.
In addition to the bathroom, the kitchen is also the location of frequent accidents, especially as the elderly become less agile and potentially lose awareness of their surroundings.
An older adult’s eyesight may deteriorate with time.
If this is paired with dim home lighting, it can create a dangerous situation where the person may collide with furniture, trip over objects, or even fall due to not being able to see.
Poor hygiene can be a danger to older adults who live alone.
If older adults suffer from depression or memory loss, they may forget to or not be concerned with basic hygiene tasks, such as bathing frequently.
As hygiene tasks become more difficult, an older adult may be less inclined to do them regularly, leading to an unhealthy environment.
When older adult lives alone, they may face intense loneliness.
Older adults typically have less access to friends and family, especially if they can no longer drive.
Loneliness is a very real danger to independent living for the elderly.
In addition to loneliness, depression is also a threat that may arise when older adults live independently.
There are certainly dangers to independent living for the elderly, but every situation is different.
It’s important to monitor all older adults for depression carefully and to seek treatment if symptoms arise.
Home medical equipment can help you make a home environment as safe for a loved one as possible.