Everyone reaches that point where they begin to question whether a parent, grandparent, or other elderly family member should still be living alone. But because elderly individuals can have “good days” and “bad days,” it really becomes difficult to determine whether they’re still fit to be independent. Here are some of the major signs you can look for when trying to determine whether your family member may need a different living situation.
Appliances Are Left Turned On
One of the most dangerous signs of forgetfulness is that appliances may be left running. Ovens and stoves, when left on, can be a significant fire hazard. Once this starts happening, an elderly person may have become too forgetful to live alone. Another sign may be leaving water on, such as leaving faucets running. Everyone forgets these things occasionally, but when it starts happening frequently, it’s dangerous.
Clutter and Trash Has Started to Build Up
As elderly family members become more forgetful or less physically capable, one of the major signs is that they stop taking care of their home. You may go to their home and see that dust has accumulated in places where it normally has not, or the trash has not been taken out for multiple days. Not only is this a sanitation risk, it can also be a trip and fall hazard. Falls are one of the most dangerous types of injury for older individuals.
They Aren’t Taking Care of Their Medication
If you can see that prescriptions have not been taken at the rate they should have been (or if a pill box is still on the wrong day), it’s a sign that your family member has forgotten to take their medications. For some medications, this can be incredibly dangerous. It can also lead to a situation where they take multiple medications on the same day, which can be equally risky.
Social Engagements and Interactions Are Being Ignored
Addressing the emotional needs of your loved one is one of the major considerations when they live alone. If your family member has stopped interacting with their friends and other family members, or have discontinued some of the social activities that they once enjoyed, they may be developing either depression or anxiety. Elderly family members may become depressed when they feel they can no longer care for themselves. They may also become anxious or even agoraphobic when they become forgetful or confused, as they don’t want to put themselves in any dangerous situations. Regardless, avoiding social interaction is, in itself, often very harmful and can lead to a decline in mental faculties.
Hygiene or Grooming Has Been Skipped
Finally, one of the most important signs an elderly person shouldn’t be living alone is when they begin to forego self-care. Most people will notice if it appears their family member hasn’t brushed their hair, or is no longer dressing the way that they used to. Something as small but important as no longer having clipped their nails, or wearing dirty clothes, could be a sign something is seriously wrong.
Getting an elderly person to move out of their home is not always an easy task. Not only are there very real psychological and emotional issues involved, but there are also some legal ramifications as well. Covelli Law Offices can help. If you have any questions about the legal process of moving your elderly family member (and taking charge of their finances and medical care) contact Covelli Law Offices to inquire about elder care law and estate planning.