Information on real situations of elderly living alone and how you can help to make their lives better as a family member.
Living alone is what people begin to do as they grow older. While they choose to be living alone, they also begin to lose the ability to do the same things that they were able to when they were younger. Basic tasks like cooking and cleaning, which were once part of a daily routine are now a little tiresome and difficult to do. And these are only a couple of the challenges seniors face living alone at home. Despite this, many elderly individuals prefer to live at home and refuse to move into a senior community or facility.
Loneliness is an issue that many seniors face when living alone, especially if they are no longer able to drive, children may have moved away, and their lifelong partner has gone. We also published Pain management and how laughter can reduce stress, depression and anxiety which is worth a read as this is similar to living alone.
I remember my mother was the same and I asked her if she wanted to join a mah-jong group, she declined because she said that all they do is complain. She also said "They talk about their medications and ailments" which she didn't want to hear about. So, she had a point, I guess!
Such drastic life changes can be difficult to deal with, often contributing to isolation, depression, and anxiety, which is why offering someone a couple of hours of your time is a wonderful thing to do. Helping seniors better deal with the life changes and helping those who feel lonely or are long distance from family members to embrace these changes is what can make it so rewarding.
Arrange a family night once a week where games are played, games that the elder is related to so they can get involved. The night doesn't have to be a party but just one or two that can play cards such as pontoon, fish, rummy or even a board game such as snakes & ladders.
Something like snakes and ladders sound childish but take my word for it, it creates laughs and smiles which something that we all need in our lives. One week is something they can look forward to and helps to create memories for eternity.
Trips & Falls Living Alone in an Unsafe Environment
Many dangers exist in most homes. Older adults have a higher risk of trips and falls on an upturned rug or a wet floor. Once an elderly person has fallen, the chances are they are nowhere near a phone. I've heard so many stories of the elderly falling and being unable to get to the phone for help. Maybe you have as well. That is why the Safety pendants by abbicare are worth researching. They not only help to keep the elderly ageing in place but, they are lifesaving devices that by one press of a button, help is on the way.
These devices also have Google maps’ location which is great for wanderers. The safety pendants also offer peace of mind for everyone knowing that emergency services can be there within minutes, and someone can talk to the elderly person while help is on the way.
Inability to Complete their Errands
Another challenge seniors face living at home alone is getting necessary errands accomplished.
Sometimes the elderly may find completing errands both in and outside the home difficult.
Some seniors may find they need assistance with the upkeep of their home or assistance with running errands like grocery shopping and getting to appointments.
There are many that refuse to have people doing it for them and want the independence so looking at lightweight foldable wheelchairs are a great idea. Abbicare specialise in this type and have designed a lightweight power wheelchair for the elderly.
If you're a concerned neighbour or family member look how they can receive assistance completing all necessary activities of daily living, both inside and outside the home you might want to suggest to them to have a look at our electric wheelchair range.
One of the leading ways to ensure the very best care for your seniors is to have an ACAT appraisal (Aged Care Assessment Team).
Getting Help When Living Alone
ACATs are teams of medical, nursing, and allied health professionals who assess the physical, psychological, medical, restorative, cultural and social needs of frail older people and help them and their carers to access appropriate levels of support.
An assessment may show the older person may be able to remain at home with support. However, if this isn’t possible, the team will help the client access residential aged care facilities for either permanent or respite residential care (at both low and high levels).
This service is also free, and the information can be found on your local Department of Health website. Simply go to your search engine and type in ACAT assessment near me or go to my aged care website to learn more.
In-home care assistance can help with the chores around your home such as cooking and cleaning to make your life easier from your daily routine. This type of assistance improves their quality of life and allows them to do the things they enjoy.
It's also great for company should the need arise. I've certainly understood on how much fun I had when I was taking care of my mother and visiting an old boy a couple of suburbs away. Helping an elderly is certainly rewarding whether you do it from your heart or it is paid work.
Use of Public Transport & Taxis When Living Alone
A great way to combat limited mobility is to enlist a senior taxi user subsidy scheme which is available nationally. This scheme helps the elderly ageing in place to call a taxi at reduced rates and allows you to go to places without the need to rely on others.
If the distance is too far and walking long distances is challenging, then considering a lightweight electric wheelchair such as the Dinkum Navigator is ideal to get around while utilising a taxi service as well. These state of the art electric wheelchairs can go anywhere including on most airlines. The taxi user subsidy scheme can be obtained by searching 'Taxi User Subsidy Scheme near me' in your state.
It is well worth noting that I was once given some very good advice from a clinical nurse. This was because I was worrying too much about the dangers and what could happen to my mother if she fell while I was not there. Most elderly, while it can be traumatic for family, want to be at home and quite rightly so. If they choose to be living alone, then their decision should be respected and understand the risks associated with it.
One of the mistakes we make as their child when our dads and mums are living alone is to worry too much, and too many 'what ifs' run around in our heads. Just letting them do what is best for them is far less stressful for everyone and, our loved one can get on with their life as much as they can.
Dysfunctional Families can be Difficult for the Elder Living alone. It goes without saying that within the reality of our lives that there are some families that are dysfunctional, and an elderly choosing to live alone at home may a contributing factor as to why some seem distant or become reclusive.
It becomes a traumatic time for everyone because siblings have maybe separated from one another and the thought of a gathering is just too much but to heal from this one has to first understand how we
got there and from understanding that, we are able to better serve ourselves and our loved ones.
What is a Dysfunctional Family? A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehaviour, and often neglect or abuse on the part of an individual that occur continuously and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. A dysfunctional family can also be one with multiple ‘internal’ conflicts.
An example of this is; sibling rivalries, domestic violence, mental illness, single parenthood, or ‘external’ conflicts, e.g. alcohol or drug abuse, extramarital affairs, gambling, unemployment influences that affect the basic needs of the family unit. and of course, just one more to mention parent-child conflicts. We may all have experienced some of these issues in our own past but as an example, such as a minor dysfunctional family. It is where dysfunctionality becomes a major threatening issue that affects and hampers the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of the person.
Living alone is not the same as loneliness and it's also something the younger generation are choosing to do more nowadays.
Some people choose to live by themselves and there are many studies on this subject which you may find an interesting read.