Making the decision that it’s time for your senior parent to stop living alone can be difficult. The signs that there is a problem can be very subtle at first. If your senior parent is starting to exhibit any of the following behaviors, it might be time to talk to them about not living alone anymore.
1. Signs of Alzheimer's or Dementia
If your senior parent is starting to show any signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is probably time for them to stop living alone, and you should start looking into finding memory care for Mom. The early signs of dementia are often confused with normal signs of aging, but there is a difference between forgetfulness and dementia. If your senior parent is starting to lose track of time or events, their sense of humor has changed, they get disoriented easily, they have stopped caring about their personal hygiene and their appearance, or they just seem generally confused, they may be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, and it may be time for them to stop living alone.
2. Recent Accidents
If you’ve started to notice new dents and scrapes on your senior parent’s car, it’s time to start paying closer attention to their driving. If Mom cannot remember where or when the dents occurred, that is a red flag that she should not be driving anymore, and she should probably not be living alone anymore either. If your senior parent has recently gotten into several minor or major car accidents, that is another sign that they should no longer be driving and should not be living alone. It’s not just car accidents that you should be looking out for though. If Mom has recently had more falls or stumbles than usual, particularly accidents that have resulted in injuries, it might be time for her to stop living alone.
3. Withdrawing Socially
If your senior parent has suddenly started to avoid social gatherings, such as outings with friends, church services, or other get-togethers, it is time to start paying attention to their social behavior and the way they are interacting with others. There are many ways that you can help your senior parent avoid isolation, but sometimes, a bigger change is needed. Sometimes, it’s time for Mom to stop living alone and for her to get some extra care. Seniors need to socialize for the benefit of their mental health. Living alone and isolated could contribute to cognitive decline, depression, and other mental health issues.
4. Weight Fluctuations
You should keep a close eye on your senior parent if they have had large weight fluctuations recently. Whether their weight has gone up or down, sudden appetite changes could be a sign of something more serious, like health, psychiatric, or neurological problems. Whether Mom has a serious health problem or she’s just having more trouble getting around and therefore can no longer fix meals for herself, you should look into her not living alone anymore. Seniors have specific nutritional needs, and it is dangerous to let your senior parent go without proper nutrients and vitamins for too long. You don’t want Mom to suffer from malnutrition.
5. Financial Problems
If you’ve recently noticed that your senior parent has unpaid bills or final notices in their mailbox or sitting on their counter, start paying attention. They may be experiencing health issues, like dementia or depression, that are preventing them from remembering to or wanting to pay their bills and expenses on time or at all. Seniors can become victims of identity theft and they may not realize it until it’s too late. If Mom is having any money troubles, it might be time for her to stop living alone.
- 10 Things You Need to Explore Before Choosing an Assisted Living Community
- 20 Questions: Your Checklist for Finding an Assisted Living Community for Mom
- Home Care vs. Assisted Living Case Study
- Tips for Having “The Talk” with Mom About Assisted Living