The dangers of seniors living alone

A 2011 survey of people over 65 showed that the vast majority (90 percent) wanted to continue living in their homes for as long as they could. It is understandable that seniors should want to stay at home; however, there are many who need care, but who are living on their own.

Moving a senior family member to an assisted living facility can be a difficult and emotionally harrowing. Opting for home care allows them to stay in their own home and be assisted by a home caregiver. Home care can also be considerably more affordable than an assisted living facility.  Below is information on the problems that the elderly face when they live by themselves:

Risks to Physical Safety
: Elderly people are more prone to falling. Age-related health problems like diabetes and hypertension are a factor in this. These problems can affect their balance and their physical strength. The presence of a caregiver will not prevent someone from falling; however, it can ensure that they get immediate medical attention if they do.

Lack of Financial Protection
: Many con artists and fraudsters specialize in targeting elderly individuals. From criminals who phish for personal information over the phone to email and snail mail offers that are obviously too good to be true, seniors living alone can easily fall victim to scammers. Many have lost their life savings due to naivety or confusion.

Poor Nutrition
: People who share meals with others or have them prepared by others are more likely to eat nutritious food compared to those who live alone. Those who live by themselves may opt for convenience over nutritional value, especially if cooking is too physically challenging.

Living alone can be dangerous for seniors

Social Isolation: 
The Administration on Aging reports that roughly 28 percent of seniors live alone. This means that there are about 11.8 million older people living by themselves. Seniors can become isolated because of the death of a spouse, or because their spouse has Alzheimer's or another condition that requires constant care. They become homebound and get disconnected from other relationships. Studies show that being isolated increases the risk of mortality in individuals who are over the age of 52. Additionally, those who are lonely and isolated are more likely to have physical and mental health issues.

Medication Mistakes
: Medication mistakes include taking too much of a drug, taking the wrong drug or mixing medications. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 70 percent of emergency hospitalizations among seniors occurred because of the medications most commonly prescribed to seniors. Similarly, Medicare records from 2014 show that there were more than 500,000 injuries in Medicare patients’ homes that were caused by medications.

You want to ensure that your loved one lives in a safe and healthy environment, especially if they show signs of cognitive impairment. It is important to keep track of indications that an elderly person is no longer able to live alone.