The most common dangers of seniors living alone
A study by Genworth Financial shows more than 55 percent of Americans over the age of 65 admit their biggest fear lies in needing long term care, and being a burden to their family. To avoid becoming a burden, more and more seniors are remaining in their homes without assistance. Unfortunately, avoidance adds risks that leave seniors living alone more likely to die earlier than those living with others.
Here are just some the ways the most common dangers of seniors living alone manifest.
At home tasks
Seniors living alone can find difficulty in daily tasks. Many of which also pose a number of hidden dangers.
Cooking can be unsafe when a lapse in memory causes a loved one to leave food unattended and the stove or oven on for long periods of time. Studies show people over the age of 65 have a two and a half times greater risk of dying in a kitchen fire.
The bathroom poses added dangers that include but are not limited to falling on slippery surfaces and injuries from stepping in and out of the bath tub or shower. People 85 and older suffer over half their injuries near the toilet.
Stairs can be particularly hazardous, especially when the surface is slippery, the area is poorly lit, or the railing is difficult to grasp or nonexistent. Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury visits to the emergency room.
Doorknobs also present challenges and can lead to falls, as they can be painful to grasp for those suffering from arthritis and other immobilizing illnesses.
Fortunately, these issues can be prevented with modifications made to a home and/or enlisting the aid of a care provider.
Medication management can also become a concern when seniors are living alone. At least 25 percent of seniors take at least three drugs daily. Forgetting to take medications is common, especially when the person is taking more than one prescription. Reading dosing labels on bottles can also become a problem when vision decreases. Dexterity can become an issue too, making it difficult to open bottles, to administer eye drops, injections, use an inhaler or break tablets.
A lack of social interaction can also hinder a person’s overall quality of life. Seniors that are more social are less likely to develop memory decline. In addition, staying active leads to increases in life expectancy. Unfortunately, for those living alone there is limited interaction with others and it can be difficult to attend social outings. It can also be to be more difficult to motivate and exercise without the support of a loved one or caregiver.
If you have an aging family member that is currently facing these common dangers, you may want to reevaluate their living situation. If you have any questions regarding assisted living, please contact Paradise Living Centers to learn more about our services and levels of care.