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How will I know when my elderly parent can’t live alone?

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It’s easy to understand why we have such powerful emotions of fear, uncertainty, and even guilt surrounding this incredibly important decision on behalf of our parent or loved one.

At some point in every adult child’s life, they need to ask the important question –

“Can my loved one continue to live on their own anymore?”

It’s easy to understand why we have such powerful emotions of fear, uncertainty, and even guilt surrounding this incredibly important decision on behalf of our parent or loved one.
Every day, senior living communities work with families just like yours — caregivers who need to make the same difficult choices for those they love.

Learn more about the key signs of when it is no longer safe for your parent or loved one to live alone and what options are available for the journey ahead..

Key Signs Daily Support Is Needed for Aging Parents

It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for care for your mom, dad, aunt, uncle, or family friend – it can be challenging and a bit daunting if you don’t know when it’s time to talk to your loved one about care or where to turn for answers.

In the struggle to know what’s best for your aging family member, look out for these warning signs to give you some much needed clarity as you sort through the tough decisions you need to make.

It may be helpful to talk through the list with another family member or someone who knows your parent just as well.

Here are some signs the your parent should not be living alone:

  • They require help with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • They have experienced a significant weight loss recently
  • They suffer from a memory loss condition such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • They are experiencing a general cognitive decline
  • They have worsening hygiene
  • There is unopened mail that has piled up or general untidiness around the house
  • They suffer physical health issues
  • They were recently diagnosed with a mental or physical impairment

What to Do When They Can’t Live Alone

Seeing one or more of the signs above may indicate your parent or family member is struggling to live a safe, healthy, and independent life in his or her own home.

If they continue to live on their own, they could face dangers such as accidents, malnutrition, overlooked illness, and financial strain. Social isolation can also be just as dangerous for their emotional wellbeing as well as a physical health problem.

If your parent can no longer care for themselves, now is the time to have a discussion about their living situation.

While it may not seem like it right now, you have the opportunity to give your mom, dad, or loved one a valuable gift—the gift of helping him or her transition to a lifestyle that will prevent premature decline and provide experiences that are full of life.

By looking up this resource, you are taking the first step toward finding clarity on your options, including home caregiving and senior living.
We’ll take a look at your options below:

Home Care vs. Senior Living

Luckily today, seniors have many continuums of care and living arrangements available.

For example, at-home care allows the senior to live independently at their own home while still helping with items such as household chores, personal care, transportation, cooking, and a variety of therapies. These services can be provided on an hourly, 24/7 live-in, or an as-needed basis.

Senior living is another viable option for many people and their families which may offer a higher level of care and more robust social setting.

Today’s senior living communities are full of vibrant seniors, five-star amenities, delicious food, and daily activities that keep their brains sharp and creativity sharper. Senior living communities aren’t where aging individuals go to start the end; they’re actually designed to help them start a new beginning in a variety of ways:

  • Independent Living Community – This is a community ideal for older adults who seek a social community free of the hassles of home upkeep and chores. They may require little daily assistance but still have quick access to it, should the need arise.
  • Assisted Living Facility – This is a long-term care option that provides personalized care, housing, and support for many common activities of daily living, allowing the senior to enjoy an engaging, purposeful life while still remaining as independent as possible.
  • Memory Care – This level of care is specifically designed to support and nurture those with Alzheimer’s and other memory conditions. They provide structured activities, 24-hour supervision, and a calming, secure environment that’s easy to navigate.
  • Skilled Nursing Home – A skilled nursing care facility is for older adults who require 24-hour supervised health care with a licensed nurse or physician, as well as onsite geriatric care managers and speech, physical, and occupational therapists.

In comparing the two options (at home vs. senior community), it all depends on the needs of the individual.

When talking about expenses, in particular, a general rule of thumb is that if paid home care is required for more than 40 hours a week, then senior living may be more cost-effective.

Furthermore, when you add up all of the costs of living at home (insurance, property taxes, mortgage, utilities, food, home maintenance, etc.) with the high cost of at-home care (compensating the professional caregiver, modifications to make the home more accessible, etc.), you may find senior living to actually be the more affordable option.

Many family caregivers are surprised to learn that not only does their parent’s quality of life improve in a senior living community, but also their own life situations can positively change from the move.

It’s important to start planning for senior living sooner rather than later as it can lead to a better outcome for everyone involved.

Having the Difficult Conversation

Even though you may recognize it’s time for your parent to get help, he or she may not be ready for the transition. You need to purposefully involve them in open, honest conversations.
Acknowledge the changes you see in your loved one’s life, ask for feedback, talk through what they are thinking and feeling, and finally…express both sensitivity and understanding to their situation.

While it’s important to make the best decision for your family member, there’s another equally important truth: finding a senior living community is a decision that you and your parent should make together.

More than likely, they will have some concerns about losing their independence and the optics of needing senior care; the key isn’t to ignore your loved one’s objections, but rather provide solid solutions.

For instance, if your mother fears that she’ll be lonely and isolated in her room, find a community with an activity schedule and look over it together. If your father is worried about losing his ability to drive, discuss transportation opportunities available as well as community outings.

Don’t simply focus on your parent’s fears—be sure to talk about practical solutions!

Taking tours with them is not only a great way to learn more about the communities, but to also grow closer to your loved one throughout the process.

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