For many elderly members of society, living alone is a way of life. After their children grow and move out and their spouses pass on, the left-behind seniors must face the task of maintaining a household solo. If you have an elderly loved one who is dealing with the rigors of living alone, consider some of the problems that this arrangement may create.
Increased Risk of Poverty
Most elderly individuals depend upon personal retirement accounts or government assistance to meet their financial needs. Because these individuals no longer work, they are more likely to fall into poverty, reports Merck. Exceptionally old seniors who have outlived spouses and must now support the household alone are at even more risk of running into financial difficulties. Family and friends of elderly individuals living alone can help them avoid these potential financial problems by helping them create and maintain a budget; monitoring the senior's financial security.
Trip and Fall Risks
While some elderly individuals are still quite spry, many are not as physically able as they were in their youth. Elderly individuals living alone run the risk of falling within their homes and having no way of alerting others to their emergencies. Many technological advances have been made to help seniors who are at risk of experiencing this type if in-home trauma. Individuals worried about the risk of the senior citizen in their lives can provide them with an alert system, such as an alert necklace or watch, to use should they take a tumble.
Errand Running Struggles
As seniors age, they often lose their ability to get out and about and complete their own errands. The inability to drive due to visual difficulties or mental acuity can make even seemingly simple things, such as picking up some milk from the store, next to impossible. Individuals charged with caring for live-alone elderly individuals who can not venture out for their own errand completion can assist these individuals by creating an errand completion schedule and picking up the things that this senior requires, or shuttling her out to get them herself.
Feelings of Loneliness
As Merck reports, many seniors who live alone report feelings of loneliness and isolation. Depending upon the support structure at the senior's disposal, she may go extended periods of time without visitors or with little contact to the outside world. To prevent the development of these feelings, those with elderly friends or family members can check on these individuals regularly and arrange to visit often, ensuring that, though they live alone, these seniors do not feel shut off from the world. Children caring for elderly parents who live a great distance away can work to prevent the development of loneliness in their senior parents by finding activities for these aged citizens to take part in.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.