Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks

Topic: Seniors Living Alone and Safety

How many seniors in your family or neighborhood live alone and use adaptive aids? My mother lived alone until we changed the narrative. In the United States, millions of older adults live independently with the help of walking aids. Living alone puts seniors at higher risk of harm, isolation, nourishment problems, and falls.
The house and home where the children and grandchildren spent so much time and holidays were enjoyable. It is the location of love and fun and a reminder that most elders attach to the family ties.

To walk away from a familiar environment is hard for anyone. So, the question becomes, how do you allow your seniors to live alone while keeping your stress level from escalating happen? Has driving across town everyday been a good plan? Phone calls are excellent, but what happens when you hang up? What about mealtime? Did you know that falls are the number-one cause of accidental injuries and deaths among seniors? I suppose camera around the house may help with surveillance.

While you work on a transition plan, there are a few things you can do. Being proactive is essential with seniors living alone.

An alert button is something many are using. However, it does no good when a person cannot push the button. If the home is two-story, consider moving the bedroom to the first floor. You can limit the stove’s use, especially if it is gas, by preparing meals ahead of time of favorite foods.

Nothing is foolproof but I am giving you something to think about as considerations and goal to reach toward. Older adults aging alone can create many unforeseen problems. This message is to heighten your awareness of the possible challenges that could result from seniors living alone. I am Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, and my goal is to enlighten, inform, and encourage.

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is author and speaker. Her book: From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor shares caregiving tips.

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