The occasional minor incident or accident is to be expected as a loved one grows older, but when they wander, fall frequently, mistake or forget their medications, get lost, or forget to turn off the stove or oven, it’s time to consider a change to their living environment.
Warning signs for seniors living at home
Spending retirement at home is the hope of many seniors, especially early on when their health is still good, and they can manage for themselves. But as the years tick by, life can become more and more difficult for seniors and for their families who love and care for them. Before the time slips away, keep in mind the warning signs for seniors living at home that it’s time to consider a move to a senior living community.
It’s a fact that falls are among the most dangerous of all warning signs for seniors living at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year 3 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries and one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury, including 300,000 hip fractures (95% of which are caused by falls). From 2007 to 2016 fall death rates among seniors increased by 30% and the CDC anticipates seven fall deaths every hour among seniors by 2030. If a senior has had a fall that required medical care, or several falls over a short period of time, it is likely a red flag that they need additional, hands-on help, such as in a senior living community.
Increasing daily help needed –
Similarly, the increased need for daily assistance with dressing, personal hygiene, housekeeping, and home maintenance is also among the warning signs for seniors living at home. When daily tasks like bathing, brushing teeth, doing laundry, dressing appropriately, cooking and handling appliances safely, and keeping the home clean and safe are not or cannot be accomplished alone, it often falls on the family to pick up the slack. But even they may eventually feel they are in over their head.
According to the health.harvard.edu article, “Two-thirds of seniors need help doing one or more daily activities,” this is not unusual. But when it becomes a burden it may be time to consider a senior living community where compassionate help is always close by.
Medication mismanagement –
A senior’s medications may seem like something too personal to keep an eye on, but medication mismanagement is definitely one of the warning signs for seniors living at home. Since medications tend to increase with time, it can easily become a problem when seniors mix up pills, take too much or too little of a drug, or don’t take them as and when prescribed.
According to the CDC, seniors 65 and older “are three times as likely as younger patients to come to emergency departments for adverse drug events (over 177,000 emergency visits each year)” and “Seven times more likely to be hospitalized after an emergency visit.” In senior living, medications can be dispensed by qualified staff exactly as prescribed eliminating the risks of medication mismanagement.
Among seniors with memory conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, wandering is a common problem that can have dire consequences. And wandering isn’t only a late-stage problem. According to the alz.org article, “Wandering,” it can occur at any stage and more than half of people diagnosed with dementia will wander away at least one time. When wandering occurs, it is one of the many warning signs for seniors living at home, indicating that security is needed, 24/7/365 so the senior cannot get lost, get injured or worse. In senior living memory care is designed to allow plenty of independence with constant oversight and security so seniors cannot wander, giving families peace of mind and seniors a safe environment.
Driving mishaps –
Among the scariest warning signs for seniors living at home are driving mishaps. According to the CDC article, “Older Adult Drivers,” seniors are more likely to have health limitations like sight and hearing loss that impair driving, but are also more vulnerable to injury in a crash. Whether it’s a little “fender bender” in the grocery store parking lot, a ticket for running a stop sign, or a full-blown crash, seniors who exhibit reduced driving skills should stop driving for their safety as well as that of others. When this occurs it’s a good time to make a move to senior living where everything is close at hand, including transportation to local stores and appointments.
Paying attention to the warning signs of seniors living at home can save seniors and their families from finding out the hard way that it’s time to make the move to a senior living community like Ganton’s Countryside. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.