Many seniors prefer to live at home in the comfort of familiar surroundings. While there are many advantages to aging in place, seniors and their caregivers must be aware of some of the health concerns when living at home. Here are 5 health concerns for seniors living at home:
1. Medication management. If the senior is on several medications, there is a risk of them forgetting to take an important medication at the appropriate time. There are many ways to prevent issues, such as preparing a daily medicine dispenser for the week and setting up reminders that prompt the senior to take their medication. But even with preparation, there is no fool-proof way to prevent errors from happening when they are at home alone.
2. Safety hazards around the home. Items that seem to provide comfort and convenience for the senior may actually be a hazard around the house. Scatter rugs and electrical cords may increase their risk for falls. As the senior's mobility changes, a traditional bathtub without safety railings could also increase their risk of falling. Poor eyesight also contributes to safety hazards around the home.
3. Poor nutrition. Seniors living alone often do not have access to healthy meals and may not have the ability to cook for themselves. This leads to poor nutrition choices, as they make choices based on convenience, rather than nutritional content. This may pose additional concerns if the senior has a chronic health condition that requires them to limit certain foods, such as salt.
4. Inability to manage finances. Most seniors survive on a fixed income, requiring them to pay careful attention to detail to manage their finances. If the senior has become forgetful and neglects to pay an important utility, such as power or water, they could find themselves in a difficult situation owing more than they anticipated.
5. Social isolation. Seniors living at home alone are at risk for social isolation. If the senior has reduced mobility, or is unable to drive, they may go days without seeing or interacting with other people. This puts them at greater risk for anxiety and depression.
Remember, although there are many advantages to living at home, there are also health concerns that need to be addressed to ensure the safety and well-being of the senior.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!