Warning Signs Your Parent Is Unable to Live Alone

An unsettling proposition, the time may have arrived when your parent is no longer able to live on his or her own. No one likes the idea of watching a parent decline as they age. However, that generally is part and parcel with growing older. 

There are some warning signs that you need to be aware of that are indicative of the reality that your parent no longer may be able to live alone:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Clothing choices that suggest confusion
  • Unpaid bills
  • Neglected hobbies or pastimes
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Weight loss

We discuss each of these warning signs that are indicative of a parent not being able to live alone. Oftentimes, a parent will exhibit more than one of these signs when the time has arrived to consider moving to a different type of residential setting. For example, a parent might have difficulty walking, have unpaid bills, and may be experiencing weight loss. 

Difficulty Walking

A relatively commonplace warning sign that a parent is at a stage where he or she should not live alone is more pronounced difficulty walking. Many older people have some issue with walking, but not to the point of really impacting their mobility. Difficulty walking that is significant enough to consider a move from living alone is such that a parent really labors to get around on a consistent basis. Indeed, this type of situation is such that a parent would have a difficult time responding to an emergency situation because of a very real mobility issue.

Neglected Hygiene

Another warning sign that a parent may be unable to live alone is neglected hygiene. One of the reasons an older person has what appears to be neglected hygiene stems from a physical inability to appropriately tend to daily grooming tasks. This overall inability is very apt to cause an older person to forgo certain grooming steps with regularity. Moreover, when an older person initially starts to have problems tending to grooming and bathing, that individual is not at all likely to be eager to ask for help in this regard.

Clothing Choices That Suggest Confusion

Yet another of the warning signs that your parent no longer may be able to live alone is his or her clothing choices. Specifically, if your parent’s clothing choices suggest confusion, that can be an indicator that your mother or father no longer can live alone. Clothing choice confusion can include such things as flagrant mismatching of garments. It can also be exemplified by wearing garments completely out of season or without regard to trending temperatures.

Unpaid Bills

A commonplace sign that a parent may need an alternative living situation and should no longer live alone is a growing problem with unpaid bills. Forgetting to pay a bill once in a while happens to all of us. However, if this becomes a persistent issue, the reality is that the time may have arrived for your mother or father to transition to another living situation that does not involve living alone. 

Neglected Hobbies or Pastimes

A warning sign that your parents are unable to live alone is neglect of hobbies or pastimes that they historically have enjoyed. In this regard, hobbies and pastimes are broadly designed and include such things as caring for plants and pets. There can be a variety of reasons why this neglect of hobbies and pastimes might occur:

  • Physical issues that make tending to things like plants or pets difficult
  • Cognitive issues that cause them to lose sight of tasks associated with caring for plants and pets

Poor Housekeeping

Poor housekeeping is another possible warning sign that your parents are no longer fully capable of living alone. As is the case with other tasks of daily living, poor housekeeping can arise for a number of different reasons that are connected to the aging process. These can include physical or cognitive issues that have developed as your parent has aged and grown older.

Weight Loss

Finally, weight loss can be a sign that a parent is no longer able to live alone. Weight loss can occur because a parent is not eating properly. An aging parent may not be eating properly as a result of physical issues that make meal preparation challenging. In the alternative, an aging parent may be experiencing cognitive problems that impact a person’s ability to undertake certain tasks of daily living like meal preparation. The possibility also exists that an older parent is suffering from some sort of health issue that is impacting that person’s weight. 

Detecting the presence of one or another of these warning signs necessitates staying in regular contact with a parent. This includes spending time in person with a parent on a consistent basis to be able to monitor how your mother or father is doing.