Senior Living Care Blog

Sarah Edwards

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Why Seniors Should Not Live Alone

Posted by Sarah Edwards on Jul 6, 2018 11:00:00 AM
 

As seniors age, many of them have the opportunity to move into assisted senior living, but choose not to. Instead, they insist on living alone at home. In fact, according to the Administration on Aging, about 36 percent of women and 20 percent of men over the age of 65 live alone. With the baby boomer generation entering retirement years, some are “aging in place” which refers to people who remain in their own home or neighborhood for as long as possible. Some “age in place” for financial reasons, like not being able to afford an assisted living center. Others would prefer to live at home after age 65 because they do not want to lose their sense of independence. 

In fact, a 2014 survey conducted by The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found out that 87% of people over 65 years old wanted to remain in their present home and community age. Baby boomers are a unique generation that wants to stay active and independent so the idea of an assisted living community or even home care does not sound appealing. They want to age in place even if there are risks involved.

An elderly man. There are certain reasons why seniors should not live alone-Check out the reasons why.

However, families and friends of seniors tend to be worried about their loved ones living alone because of safety and other reasons. There are some serious concerns and risks to living alone as a senior. It is imperative to weigh the cost of living alone. Below are some of the top risks and dangers of living alone.

 

Risks of Living at Home

 

Falls 

One of the biggest risks of living at home is safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a senior falls every second in the United States and 1 in 4 adults reported a fall. Even seemingly minor falls can cause severe damage in a senior. As the body ages, the bones get more brittle, and healing can take longer. Broken bones are common and hazardous to a senior citizen who falls, but it is hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries that are particularly dangerous. If an elderly individual falls, it is essential to take them immediately to a medical professional to get checked out. There may also be psychological effects alongside the physical injuries such as lack of confidence and fear of falling again.

On a serious note, elderly falls are one of the leading causes of death and morbidity among those over 65. When a senior lives alone, they don’t have an extra person around to help make sure their home is free from falling hazards Also, there isn’t someone there to respond if a senior does trip and fall. Falling alone can be a terrifying experience.

 

Social Isolation

Social isolation means that a person is separated from friends, family, and ultimately, their community. A study by the University College London suggests that social isolation significantly reduces one’s lifespan and poses both physical and mental health issues. Increased risk of heart disease, infectious illness, cognitive deterioration, and high blood pressure are all risks that a senior takes when they start to isolate socially. Social isolation can become easy if a senior lives alone and has no real motivation to go out.

Ultimately, people crave meaningful emotional contact and are happier due to the benefits of the socialization. Simple gestures such as a listening ear or even a word of encouragement can help boost morale. However, this basic emotional contact may be difficult for seniors to receive when living alone at home.

 

Depression and Anxiety

Depression is not just a synonym for sadness. In fact, depression can show itself as loss of interest, concentration, appetite, motivation, and overall energy. Seniors can be suffering from depression and not even realize it. Depression can be a symptom of social isolation. Because a senior is living alone, they might not be able to detect their depression. If another person lived with them, they could get a different perspective on what is going on.

Now anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause fear, nervousness, apprehension, and worrying. Some physical symptoms are insomnia, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, and dizziness. Changes in the brain and environmental factors cause anxiety. When living alone, a senior may begin to develop anxiety due to either changes in brain chemistry as they age or the fact that they live alone. When a senior lives alone, they are at great risk for anxiety because they don’t have anyone to talk to on a regular basis.

 

Malnutrition

If a senior finds themselves living alone after living with someone who made their meals for them, they are now at risk for malnutrition. Malnutrition can be a symptom of depression, anxiety, poverty, and more. Seniors might find it challenging to cook for themselves or if they suffer from memory problems, they might forget to eat. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Malnutrition in older adults can lead to various health concerns, including:

  • A weak immune system, which increases the risk of infections
  • Poor wound healing
  • Muscle weakness and decreased bone mass, which can lead to falls and fractures
  • A higher risk of hospitalization
  • An increased risk of death”

 

 

Medication Management Issues

With the early onset of dementia or other memory problems, taking medication as prescribed can become difficult. A senior can either forget to take their medication or forget that they already took it. With the latter, this can mean a senior will try to take their medication multiple times a day instead of the prescribed amount. This can lead to an overdose. Top Ten Reviews puts it this way, “While taking a second dosage isn't generally much of a problem, if you're suffering from mild dementia, which could go unnoticed if you live alone, then this could easily turn into three or more extra dosages as you fail to remember taking each dosage.”

 

 

Keep Seniors Safe

Although many seniors want to live alone and maintain their independence, sometimes this is not the most viable option. If your loved one is starting to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it may be time to look into other living arrangements. Assisted living communities are an excellent option for seniors who do not require 24-hour supervision, but may need some extra help with specific daily functions.

If you find yourself looking for an assisted living facility for your loved one, consider Landmark Senior Living to meet your needs. Contact us today to discuss living arrangements.

 

Learn More Here 

 

 

Topics: Senior Living

When is it Time to Seek Memory Care?

Posted by Sarah Edwards on Jul 4, 2018 11:00:00 AM
 

You may be seeking assisted living care for your parent or loved one, but what you might actually need to be looking for is a memory care facility. Memory care is distinctly different from a straightforward assisted living facility. Memory care is a form of long-term and skilled nursing that caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory problems. These units provide 24-hour supervised care. If your loved one suffers from a memory problem, there are certain signs to look for.

Your loved one may already be diagnosed with memory loss and is able to live quite independently or with family. However, with memory loss, there may come a time when additional care is required for them. This disease tends to get worse as it progresses. Depending on one’s ability to function, the level of supervision and care varies. Assisted living facilities are an option for mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s.

 

A senior holding a ball in his hand. Practicing certain activities can help with maintaining memory care.

 

Assisted Living Facilities

These tend to be where individuals live in a shared apartment, private apartment, or studio with 24/7 staff care available. The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as “a long-term care option that combines housing, support services, and healthcare, as needed.” Assisted living can include personal care services like medication management, transportation. Social activities are often included in assisted living facilities so that seniors can form friendships and support from one another. Those who are independent yet need some assistance with everyday tasks such as light house cleaning, bathing, dressing, or mobility thrive in assisted living because it provides the right level of care needed.

This type of care is not the same as a nursing home. The best way to determine which option is better for you or your loved one can be determined by an advisor or medical professional. There are some serious differences between an assisted living facility and a nursing home. For example, those in assisted living are mobile, whereas those in nursing homes tend to be bedridden. Also, nursing homes require medical staff to provide ongoing attention and care on a daily basis. Assisted living residents do not need this level of medical attention. A Place for Mom advises, “If Alzheimer’s or dementia is not an immediate concern, and your loved one is still relatively independent, assisted living may be an excellent choice.”

 

Memory Care Units

Memory care units are specially designed for those who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another memory care issues. They can be stand-alone residences or be a part of an assisted living facility. Some nursing homes or assisted living places have a wing dedicated to memory care. The staff in these units are specially trained to care for the specific needs and demands of memory care patients. Dementia Care Central elaborates, “Memory care units offer the same services as do assisted living facilities, in addition to activities that are intended to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia's and possibly slow the progression of the disease.”

Safety is also a priority for those with memory problems. By being under close surveillance, patients are less likely to harm themselves unintentionally. Safety checks are done more often to ensure the safety of patients. One of the goals of memory care is to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia by providing programs that cultivate cognitive skills. Activities may include music, art, or games. By having these programs available, seniors can continue to enjoy life and socialize with others who are going through similar circumstances. Good memory care facilities engage their residents and promote physical and mental well-being and don’t rely on medication only.

Memory care facilities tend to hold a more rigid daily schedule. This is intentional because those that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia tend to get easily stressed or irritated because of unfamiliar environments. With a daily routine, patients can flow from one activity to the next.

 

The Physical Layout of Memory Care Units

When it comes to memory care units, they are typically architecturally designed to accommodate patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. One example is that memory care facilities do not have individual kitchens in the patients’ rooms. A significant side effect of memory loss is wandering away. Memory care units are highly secure so that if wandering occurs, the patient will not be able to leave the unit. There tends to be a calming environment in memory care facilities in order to make sure that the patients do not become stressed or confused. This can be achieved by painting the walls bright colors, having natural light, and creating a common room where residents can watch television or socialize.

 

When is Memory Care the Right Option?

Often, moving a loved one into memory care can trigger feelings of guilt or sadness. This is perfectly normal. It is a difficult decision to make. If you are still on the fence on whether or not to send your loved one to a memory care facility, check out these questions below.

 

The Alzheimer’s Association suggests these questions to help you decide whether it’s time to consider an assisted living memory care community for your loved one:

  • Is the person with dementia becoming unsafe in his or her current home?
  • Is the health of the person with dementia or my health as a caregiver at risk?
  • Are the person’s care needs beyond my physical abilities?
  • Am I becoming a stressed, irritable and impatient caregiver?
  • Am I neglecting work responsibilities, my family and myself?
  • Would the structure and social interaction at a care facility benefit the person with dementia?

 

Next Steps

When care giving becomes too much for one person to do, memory care can be a relief. With memory care, you can be assured that your loved one is taken care of and their specific needs are being met. The people who will be taking care of your loved one are trained professionals. They know how to provide individualized care. Ultimately, the best you can do for your loved one is to make sure they get the best care possible.

 

 Learn More Here

 

 

Topics: Memory Care

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