Main Office: (304) 242-3340 Resources & Referrals: (304) 243-0996

Should my relative continue to live alone?

Posted: December 14, 2017, 10:28AM

Ah!  The holidays!  Time for visiting our families, enjoying conversation, baking and reminiscing.  And also a good time to assess how your relatives are doing by themselves. Here are some questions that can guide you.

  • Has the use of the stove or other applicances become a safety issue?
  • Are there potential safety concerns in the home such as throw rugs, stairs, cords, clutter, poorly lit areas?
  • Does your relative need assistive devices such as walkers or canes?  Do they refuse to use them?
  • Does your relative express a wish to die or seem to be depressed?
  • Is there a sign of a nutritional problem such as weight loss?
  • Does your relative eat only foods that supply very little nutritional needs?
  • Do you notice personal hygiene problems such as body odor or dirty clothes?  Is the house acceptably clean?
  • Does your relative take their medications as prescribed?  Can your relative get their medictions?
  • Can your relative get to the doctor?  Grocery store?  Pharmacy?
  • Can your relative get help if needed?
  • Is your loved one hearing impaired or visually impaired?
  • Does your relative get lost in familiar situations?
  • Can your loved one handle their finances?
  • Do you notice unpaid bills or shut off notices lying around?  Have their been problems with bank accounts?
  • Has your relative left home and gotten lost?  Have they wandered?
  • What health issues does your relative have that concern you?
  • Have the neighbors mentioned any concerns?
  • Does your loved one still drive?  Should they continue to drive?


These are a few areas that families need to be attentive to when assessing older adults' ability to live independently.  Safety, nutrition, medical needs, social needs, personal care, and environmental issues are all concerns when evaluating our loved ones' needs.  

There are services and equipment that can help with several of these areas.  In home (non-medical) assistance can help with persoanl hygiene and environmental needs.  Medication reminders can help manage medications. Home delivered meals can help maintain nutrition.

Sometimes it is difficult to talk our loved ones into accepting care.  Discuss how services can help them remain independent and continue to live at home.  Are they concerned about letting someone into their home?  (Perhaps they would be willing to TRY services for a designated amount of time.)  You can be empathetic to these life changes.  They would be difficult for most of us.

Perhaps you are finding that your loved one would be better served to move to a smaller place or to assisted living.  Try to assess your loved one's needs objectively.  If you have siblings, talk to them about care needs.

Gather information on what is available so you can present options to your loved ones.

What's available in your area?  Contact us at Altenheim Resource & Referral Services!  We'll be glad to discuss your loved ones' needs and direct you to options for assistance.




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1387 National Road
Wheeling, WV 26003

Main Office:
(304) 242-3340 (phone)

Resource & Referral Services:
(304) 243-0996 (phone)

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