5 signs an elderly parent is struggling living alone
We’re busy, life is busy, and sometimes it’s easier to ‘ignore’ warning signs to keep the status quo for as long as possible. But intervening before there’s a crisis is the best way to stay ahead of potentially engulfing situations.
1Is Mom becoming withdrawn?
Social isolation can have a major impact on your mom’s emotional, mental, and physical health. Is she engaging with friends, going out for walks, or is she retreating to her TV, and expecting you to fulfill her social needs?
DYK: Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) in seniors were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease a 32% increased risk of stroke, and about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia*.
2How’s her mobility? Has she had a fall?
How is she with going up and downstairs? Has she had some falls? Parents tend to hide injuries, so look out for bruises or any signs. It is often a bad fall that is the catalyst for intervention. But it is so much better for everyone to intervene before that crisis happens.
DYK: Falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors, and between 20% and 30% of seniors fall each year*.
3How’s your mom’s personal hygiene? State of the house?
Is she bathing herself regularly, wearing clean clothes, and taking care of her oral health? If she has incontinence issues, difficulty bathing, or cannot properly clean after using the washroom, it can lead to serious health issues. Is the house clean, and her pet looked after?
4Is Mom getting the nutrition she needs?
Is your mom eating a fresh, balanced diet and staying well hydrated? Does she use kitchen appliances safely? Is she losing weight or gaining weight? The stat below is mind-boggling.
DYK: Older adults have the highest risk of being at nutritional risk or becoming malnourished. According to Stats Canada, 34% of seniors living at home are at risk of not getting adequate nutrition*.
5Is there a change in behaviour?
Perhaps mom is not sleeping well, or is making unusual purchases, or forgetting things that she wouldn’t before. Does she sometimes not answer the phone, sound confused, or perhaps slurring her speech? Dig deeper to find the reason for the change, it’s a yellow flag that you don’t want to ignore.
DYK: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), 6% – 11% of elderly hospital admissions are a result of alcohol or drug problems*. Sleep-deprived older adults are more likely to experience depression, memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, and more falls at night*.
Not every conclusion is “Mom needs to move”…
Depending on the type and degree of need, perhaps adding some accessibility features and support services are all that’s needed. Or perhaps she needs to downsize to a bungalow or move into a retirement residence that will give her the zest for life she’s missing.
If this article has resonated with you, take the 3-minute “What’s Best for Mom Quiz” to get a better indicator of the specific solutions that may be best for her.
Yes, this article is written by a retirement residence. But before you dismiss it as marketing, you need to know that we have made caring for seniors our life’s work.
We prioritize wellness above all else. There are seven elements of wellness that influence our experience of aging: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, environmental, social, and vocational.
We have been recognized for our unique approach to aging. Programs are implemented that foster creativity, lifelong learning, friendships, and adventure so that each resident can live an active, fulfilling life.
These are meant to be some of the best years of our lives! And we are committed to facilitating that experience for our residents.
United Active Living is a privately-owned older adult retirement living community in Calgary, Alberta. We have three beautiful residences and offer retirement living lifestyles ranging from Independent Living to Assisted Living to Memory Care.
Here’s a cameo of our care options:
Independent living is an ideal option for people who want to maintain an independent lifestyle, with optional care services available should they be needed one day. The focus is on convenience and an active life. Learn more…
Assisted living is an ideal option for seniors who no longer want to, or are no longer able to, live alone but do not need intensive full-time medical care. We provide our residents with customized personal care plans that accommodate their unique health and wellness needs. Learn more…
Memory Care & Dementia
Living with dementia does not mean you have to stop being who you are. United Minds is an innovative program you won’t find anywhere else designed to provide a safe, nurturing environment where seniors with dementia and other cognition challenges can enjoy a positive life experience. Learn more…