Making the decision your senior loved one is no longer safe living independently is a difficult one. Of course, you can opt for some solutions like medical life alert devices to keep them on their own for longer. However, there will come a time when they are no longer safe to live alone. Look for the following signs indicating this time has arrived:
Your Loved One is Losing Weight
As surprising as it sounds, seniors suffering with memory or cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s can simply forget to eat or forget how to prepare food for themselves according to the director of the Duke University’s Family Support Program. This lack of eating will eventually cause noticeable weight loss. Therefore, weight loss is a key indication something might be wrong.
Your Loved One Isn’t Keeping up With Their Bills
If your loved one’s home is cluttered with unopened envelopes, this could indicate they are no longer keeping up with their bills or charitable donations. This is again a sign of cognitive impairment that indicates your loved one simply isn’t noticing things they used to stay on top of when they were in better health.
Your Loved One Isn’t Practicing Good Personal Hygiene
If your loved one previously took pride in their appearance, always making an effort to fix their hair, brush their teeth and get dressed just so, and they now seem unkempt and even somewhat dirty, this could be yet another indication of cognitive problems. Your loved one simply isn’t able to recognize their need for a shower or to stay on top of their personal hygiene.
Your Loved One Starts Getting Lost
We all get turned around from time to when out driving or when walking in unfamiliar areas. However, it indicates a problem when your loved one suddenly forgets how to get to and from places that should be second nature to them. Going to their bank, the store, their doctor, or church and back home should not confuse them. If they begin getting lost when going or coming from familiar locations, this is another red flag that they are reaching the point of not being safe on their own.
Your Loved One’s House is Disorderly
Not every person is a neat freak and keeps their house tidy as a pin. However, if your loved one previously was a stickler for “a place for everything and everything in its place” and now their home is cluttered, dirty, stinky, etc. this can indicate a problem. Also, if you see items that are blatantly out of place in their home. For example, you find a gallon of milk in the dishwasher or their purse in the fridge, this can indicate there is something serious going on.
Realizing it is no longer safe for your loved one to live independently is sad and disheartening. However, when your loved one begins exhibiting the warning signs listed above, you can be sure you have reached this point. Consequently, in order to keep them healthy, safe and thriving through the end of their life, you likely need to move them into another living arrangement. Sooner rather than later.