Independent living can be good because you finally have your own space and you can finally do whatever you want without your family pestering you. However, this can get lonely because all you have are memories of your kids when they were young and memories of your deceased husband to accompany you.
Your kids are now married, and they have their own lives and nobody can assist you in your daily tasks. You start wondering if you can live alone for the rest of your life. Hence, you start to wonder if living independently is really for you. Here are some challenges that the elderly face in their independent living journey:
Decreased Social Interaction
The elderly who live alone are lonely and isolated. This may be because their loved ones live miles away from them or their peers are all deceased. Nevertheless, isolation and loneliness increase their risk of depression. Whereas if their loved ones are close to them, they have an improved quality of life because they get to take care of and spend time with their children and grandchildren.
What some elderly do to ease their loneliness is that they mingle with their neighbor’s kids. It usually reminds them of their grandchildren. That way, they have something to be busy with such as baking, cooking, and playing with kids.
Lack of Assistance of Everyday Tasks
The elderly’s frailty makes it difficult for them to accomplish simple everyday tasks such as doing the laundry, housekeeping, cooking, and even personal care. If you are in an assisted living facility, you get assistance with all these tasks. Your tasks will be completed faster because you don’t have to do them alone. All you need to do is to communicate with your caregiver about what needs to be done.
The elderly can barely walk, and it’s even more difficult if they are to complete their everyday tasks. The tasks will take longer than usual and that they are not thoroughly done because of the limited mobility. When they are assisted, this won’t be a problem anymore.
The elderly who live alone usually cannot prepare three balanced meals every day. They rely on unhealthy food because they don’t require much effort. This leads to them being undernourished and underweight. What the elderly need who are living alone need are people who can assist them with cooking and preparing a full, balanced meal. They are already susceptible to diseases and illnesses, and their being undernourished isn’t going to help.
Problems with Remembering to Take Medicines
The elderly have to maintain their medical treatments to keep their conditions at bay. But when they’re living alone, they have trouble remembering to take their medicines on time. This can worsen their condition or will warrant a visit to the hospital. They might have the financial means to purchase their medicines, but it all goes wrong when one fails to remember to take them. They need more than a reminder to remind them to take their medicines on time.
The elderly are always prone to fall risks. They trip over chairs, rugs, tables, etc. And when they fall, there will be no one to assist them because again, they live alone. There will be no one to call the hospital if things get serious. It warrants a hospital visit especially if there are injuries. Injuries from fall risks can be remedied immediately if the elderly have people to assist them at home.
Whether it’s by choice or not, the elderly should not live alone because they are vulnerable. It’s the time when they need the most care and attention from their loved ones. They should not be neglected because they provided all the love and care to their children when they were young. Moreover, if their family really cannot extend the required care and attention to their parents, then a caregiver is required to look after them. The family should communicate with the caregiver regarding their needs and what needs to be done.
The elderly have limited mobility and are in need of assistance as much as they can get. And they won’t get these if they are living alone. If you are a part of this population, you need to weigh the consequences should you choose to live alone. You won’t get to maximize your remaining years if they are spent alone and your needs are not met. You deserve to have your basic needs met because it adds to your quality of life.