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Unsafe for senior

When is too unsafe for a senior to live at home?

adls aging in place geriatric care manager healthcare professionals needs assessment safety Oct 18, 2023

By Dave Halpern, Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) (502) 664-7827

Whether or not it's safe for a senior to continue living at home is a multifaceted decision that depends on individual circumstances. The safety of a senior living at home is influenced by both their physical and cognitive health, as well as the home environment itself. Here are some signs that it might be too unsafe for a senior to live at home:

  1. Physical Health Issues:

    • Frequent falls: An increased risk or history of falls can be dangerous, especially if the senior is unable to get up on their own.
    • Chronic illnesses: Conditions like COPD, heart failure, or other diseases might make it hard for them to manage their health at home.
    • Difficulty with mobility: If moving around the house becomes too challenging, they might be at risk.
  2. Cognitive Health Issues:

    • Progressive memory loss: Conditions like Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia can make living alone unsafe. They might forget to turn off the stove or get lost easily.
    • Impaired judgment: They might take risks they wouldn’t have before, like going out in very cold weather without proper clothing.
    • Difficulty managing medications: Mismanagement can lead to over- or under-dosing, which can be harmful.
  3. Environmental Concerns:

    • Unsafe home conditions: Issues like poor lighting, clutter, or lack of safety modifications can increase the risk of falls or other accidents.
    • Isolation: If they live alone without regular social interaction, they might be at risk for mental health challenges or might not have help available if they face an emergency.
  4. Self-care Challenges:

    • Difficulty with daily tasks: This includes feeding, bathing, dressing, or toileting.
    • Neglecting personal hygiene: If they’re not keeping up with basic personal care, they might also be neglecting other health and safety practices.
    • Difficulty managing finances: Unpaid bills, giving money to scams, or other financial mismanagement can indicate they need more oversight or assistance.
  5. Other Indicators:

    • Weight loss or malnutrition: This could indicate they’re having trouble cooking or eating.
    • Spoiled food or lack of food in the home: They might forget to eat, not remember how to cook, or be unable to shop for groceries.
    • Burns or injuries: This might suggest they're having accidents at home.

If you're concerned about a senior's safety at home, it's essential to consult with their healthcare providers. An occupational therapist, for instance, can assess a home's safety and recommend modifications. A geriatric assessment can provide a comprehensive overview of the senior's needs and capabilities.

In some cases, introducing home care assistance, making home modifications, or utilizing technologies (like emergency response systems) can enable a senior to stay in their home safely for longer. In other cases, it might be appropriate to consider assisted living or another type of senior care facility.

For more information about senior living and caregiving solutions in Louisville, contact Dave Halpern at (502) 664-7827 or click here for 7 easy ways to contact Dave Halpern.

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