As we age our mind is not as good as it was 20 years earlier. Living day to day brings a lot of stress into our lives. Some of the stress can be controlled but not all of it can. Everyone will always have a certain amount of stress on a daily basis.
Living alone in our older years can be a challenge and a risk. There's no one in the house to dial 911 if you get hurt, and there's no one sitting at the dinner table for conversation or companionship. Isolation can lead to a decline in thinking skills and to an increased risk for depression.
While there are many tools to help you reduce the risks of living alone, implementing them may be easier said than done.
How to Be Safe
Is there a lot of violence in your neighborhood or do your neighbors argue often, keeping you awake at night? As we age, our sleep is very important to our health. Losing sleep effects our mental capability as well as body functions.
One of the most important tools when living alone is a safety alert button, a waterproof device you wear as a pendant or on your wrist that alerts emergency services at the touch of a button. Such a device must stay on your body 24 hours a day. Prices range from $25 to $50 per month, depending on the system. Some of the companies offer a free start-up and month to month contracts.
Have an emergency supply kit to help you through bad weather, electricity outages, or times when you just can't get to a store. That will include food and water. To avoid running out of medications, always refill prescriptions when you have a week supply remaining.
Are you a person who stays in the house all the time who does not know your next door neighbor? Everyone need to get out and socialize with other people, it will help you relieve the stress of being alone. Sometimes being with other people, you can learn from them about how they handle stress just by observing and being welcoming.
Being in contact with others is as vital and important as your health care. Even going to the post office, picking up mail, and chatting with a neighbor for five minutes can be beneficial. You must talk to someone at least daily, and get out of your house at least once a week. Any less could have a negative impact on your health and well-being.
Start by arranging a daily phone call with a family member or friend, even if you're the one who calls. For activity, reach out to friends and family, a church or synagogue, a senior center, or a volunteering opportunity.
Get out of the house and join an exercise group. Take in some vitamin D that comes from the sun by walking 15-20 minutes a day; make it fun by asking someone to walk with you around the block. The sun is good for you if you know your limits on how much you can handle and you can socialize too at the same time.
We all need to socialize with others and be safe at the same time. As we age, things change everyday including the environment around us. Keep talking and enjoying your friends and check with others about safety; maybe they can help you decide on how the handle it.
Learn about services available in your area
When you're no longer able to drive or manage once-routine activities such as housecleaning or shopping, it's time to turn to convenience services. Take advantage of grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants that deliver to your neighborhood. Ask a senior center, church, or even local bus service about free or affordable rides to take you to the store or the doctor. You can also hire errand services.
And when the activities of daily living-- such as bathing, dressing, taking medication, and cooking-- become too difficult, you can hire private-duty care. This usually comes in two forms: a companion or a health aide. Both are able to offer homemaker services, such as light housework, cooking, shopping, overseeing medication routines, and transportation. The difference is that a licensed worker, such as a home health aide, will also be trained in body mechanics and able to provide hands-on physical care such as help bathing, eating, brushing teeth, and using the bathroom.
These services can be expensive, but keep in mind that moving to assisted living can also be costly. Do not make the mistake of thinking you don't need any help because that may land you in a facility faster than you expected, without giving you the control over where and when you want to make the move to the next chapter. Weigh the benefits of making the investment for services at your own home against moving to a senior living environment.
While there are many tools to help you reduce the risks of living alone, implementing them may be easier than you can think. Make a choice to enhance your ability to live alone by doing them.
And, don’t forget: “Yes, You Can!”