Resources and Advice

Helping you and your loved ones live well in later life

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How to help an elderly parent living alone

It's natural to be concerned about an elderly parent living alone. We explore practical strategies and a checklist that you can follow for elderly living alone. 

June 14, 2023

daughter spending time with elderly mother

As our loved ones age, their wellbeing and happiness become our top priorities. It's natural to start worrying about your parent if they are living alone as their mental and physical health might begin to change. Even though living alone can be difficult, especially after losing a spouse or partner, being in a familiar environment can bring them comfort. So it's important to help elderly parents stay in their homes for as long as possible, particularly if they feel comfortable there. 

Discover practical tips and a checklist for ensuring the safety and independence of an elderly parent who lives alone. This article covers essential topics such as financial planning and social involvement and includes a helpful checklist to make things easier for them.

Regular communication and emotional support 

elderly man talking through video call

Maintaining regular communication with your elderly parent is essential. You can schedule regular phone calls, video chats, or carry out frequent check-ins to show them you care. While talking to them, make sure to actively listen to their thoughts and feelings and address any concerns they may express. Sometimes, lending a compassionate ear can go a long way in easing their anxieties and strengthening your bond.

Financial stability and security

Talking about their financial situation can be difficult for your elderly parent but ensuring their financial stability is important to their wellbeing. If they are comfortable, you can help them review their financial situation, including income sources, expenses, and savings.

If required, consider involving a financial advisor who can provide expert guidance. Keep your elderly parent involved, and together, evaluate their budget to ensure they have enough to cover essential expenses, healthcare costs, and any desired lifestyle preferences. You can also help them to research applicable government benefits, pension plans, or other financial assistance programs available to support their financial needs.

Practical arrangements and safety

Living alone comes with practical responsibilities that might be overwhelming for your elderly parent, particularly if they are not used to managing household tasks or have a medical condition. When you visit them in person, you can offer assistance with organising important documents, such as insurance policies, healthcare records, and legal paperwork.

Help them in keeping bills and other important documents in a designated place. If they need additional assistance, support them to find trustworthy professionals or services to help with tasks like house cleaning, gardening, or home repairs.

Social engagement and community involvement

Encourage your elderly parent to maintain an active social life and engage with their local community—research local social groups that offer activities aligned with their interests.

Help them explore opportunities for learning, hobbies, or volunteering, which can provide a sense of purpose. Getting involved in these social activities will not only help them in staying active but it would also prevent them from feeling lonely or socially isolated.

In later life, their bodies might not work as quickly as they once did, but they can try out sports for the elderly that can be easily tailored as per their needs and abilities. This will help them to improve their strength and balance and will keep them engaged socially as well.

Healthcare management

Taking care of your elderly parent's healthcare needs is essential for their wellbeing. You can set important reminders on their mobile phone to help them take their medicines on time daily. Your parent might not remember the names and doses of all of their medications, so make a list of all the current medications and doses, and take a picture with a smartphone so the image is always available with them if needed.

You can also set up a shared calendar or reminder app to ensure they don't miss any important check-ups or consultations. Offer to accompany your parent to doctor visits when necessary. If your parent requires additional healthcare assistance at home, research home healthcare providers in their area.

Meal planning

Daughter preparing meals for elderly mother

Promoting a healthy and budget friendly diet for your elderly parent is crucial for their overall wellbeing. You can accompany your parent on grocery shopping trips or offer to do their shopping for them. If your parent struggles with making their meals, consider helping them with cooking or arranging for assistance. Preparing meals together would allow you to bond with your elderly parent and ensure that they have regular access to freshly cooked meals.

Home safety and modifications

In later life, performing small tasks can be challenging due to medical conditions, mobility changes, forgetfulness, strength and balance problems, and an increased risk of falls. Create a safe living environment for your elderly parent by thoroughly assessing their home. Ensuring that any rugs are carefully taped so they won't slip and cables are not left trailing where they could be a hazard is important for safety reasons. Consider installing handrails in hallways and near staircases and install grab bars in the bathroom near the toilet, shower, and bathtub to assist with stability and prevent falls. Adding non-slip mats or adhesive strips can also be beneficial in preventing falls in the shower and bathtub. 

Explore the use of remote monitoring technology, such as motion sensors, fall detection systems, or smart home devices. These tools can provide alerts to family members or caregivers in case of any emergencies. 

Consider a personal alarm for added peace of mind

It's a sad fact that people over 65 have the highest risk of experiencing a fall, and for those living independently, especially if they live alone, this can be a worrying thought. A personal alarm can be a great solution, whether there is a history of falls or just an extra layer of peace of mind for the older person and their loved ones.

With a simple button press, a monitored personal alarm from TakingCare will connect with the 24-hour monitoring team in one of our UK centres (available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year).

They will speak to the user and can arrange for a nominated person to be contacted, or other assistance can be organised if needed. Some alarm systems include fall detection technology so an alert can be raised even if the person cannot press the button.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

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