As more and more adults choose to stay in their own home well into their senior years, many find themselves living alone and facing new challenges as a result. In the United States, over 12 million adults over the age of 65 live alone, according to the Pew Research Center. If your loved one is one of the many seniors living alone, read on to learn some of the challenges he or she may be facing and what you can do to help.
Challenge: Unchecked Health Concerns
Among people with health issues or difficulty seeing or hearing, new or worsening health symptoms can easily go unnoticed. Your loved one may not realize that a new health issue has crept up and might not be able to easily seek the medical attention they need. If they have received medical advice, some seniors who live alone have difficulty following directions for prescribed treatments and may struggle to remember to take medications and supplements.
Answer: Many seniors find relief after moving to a retirement community or assisted living facility where help is available if needed. Snyder Village, a Life Plan Community, provides its retirement community and assisted living residents peace of mind by offering 24/7 emergency response services.
If an individual wants to remain in his or her own home, a Home Care agency like Snyder Village Home Care can provide much-needed services. These trained caretakers can help give medication reminders and offer a watchful eye to help detect any new health symptoms that might creep up.
Challenge: Maintaining a Home & Finances
A lot of responsibility is involved in the running of a home. Rent or a mortgage has to be paid and utility bills are in constant need of attention. As an individual ages, memory loss can occur and it can become more and more difficult to keep up with the household bills. If the senior in your life has started to receive shut-off notices because of unpaid bills, this is a strong sign that he or she needs help at home. The upkeep that a home requires can become overwhelming to a senior as they age. Physical limitations can cause those tasks that used to be commonplace to become strenuous or even dangerous.
Answer: Rather than having to search for and hire different agencies or individuals to help with the upkeep of a home, a senior can consolidate their bills and eliminate their home maintenance tasks by moving to a retirement community or assisted living facility. These communities help take the burden of home maintenance off the senior so they can enjoy their new home without the worry of upkeep.
Challenge: Struggling to Get Essential Items
For many, it becomes more and more difficult to get out and about to run errands. Driving can become too dangerous for seniors as they age, and often physical limitations make running errands strenuous work. If it becomes too much of a challenge for the senior in your life to keep up with meeting personal needs and errands, they may be hesitant to admit they need help.
Answer: Next time you are running to the store, check in with a senior to ask if you can pick anything up for him or her. If the to-do list grows to be too much of a burden for those involved, contact a Home Care agency for some extra help. Snyder Village Home Care helps seniors by taking them to run errands or by running the errands for them. Moving to an Assisted Living community eliminates the need to run errands, as most facilities make sure the personal needs of their residents are being met.
Challenge: Poor Nutrition
If physical limitations or a lack of energy make cooking and preparing meals difficult, poor nutrition and unwanted weight loss can easily occur. For seniors who lose a spouse who was the cook of the household, the know-how to prepare a meal may be missing. Often in our culture, eating a meal is seen as a social activity. If a senior is living alone, the motivation to prepare a meal just for one may be lacking, with undernutrition being the result. On the other hand, some seniors may gain an unhealthy amount of weight as they rely on easy fast food or junk food and lack getting the proper nutrition they need.
Answer: Several meal delivery services are available and more meal kit services are hitting the market to make cooking at home easier. Home Care services can come to a senior’s home and do meal preparation for them. Alternatively, if a senior moves to a senior living community, the community restaurants and dining rooms will prepare nutritionally-balanced meals for the residents. The social aspect that comes with dining is often a highlight in a senior living community.
Challenge: Increased Loneliness
Being home-bound or unable to easily make it to events and social gatherings can quickly affect a senior’s mental health and well-being. Isolation can increase feelings of depression and anxiety if left unchecked.
Answer: If a senior is able to drive or get transportation, encourage them to get involved in his or her church or local community senior center. Many great activities and ways to connect with others are available. A benefit of living in a Retirement Community or Assisted Living is the instant community it provides. For example, Snyder Village’s Retirement Community and Assisted Living have staff members dedicated to creating engaging activities and social opportunities for its residents. Daily opportunities for fun activities are available, such as card games, crafts, exercise classes, Bible studies, and trips. It is easy for residents to make friends with their new neighbors as they take part in activities together.
It is important to take notice of the challenges the senior in your life may be facing if living alone. If the senior is not voicing their struggles to you, it does not necessarily mean an absence of struggles. Make the effort to reach out and offer a helping hand. It may be easier than you think to make an impact and help make a senior’s life more enjoyable and purposeful once again.
Snyder Village in Metamora is a Life Plan Community that offers independent living in its retirement cottages and apartments. Beautiful assisted living accommodations, memory care programs, skilled nursing care, and physical therapy are also available on campus. Its home care services support individuals in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Marshall Counties. For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com.