Matters concerning our elderly parents can never be taken lightly. How can you help them live alone without making them feel that their rights are being ignored? Here are some practical pointers on how to asses if an elderly parent should live alone.
If you notice your parent is showing signs of sickness like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or other illnesses that could be dangerous both to him and your family, maybe you should start considering letting him live alone. Before confronting him about this issue, better consult his physician first.
Inform the physician about the symptoms you saw in your parent and ask the doctor for his or her best recommendations. You could also ask if it would be better for your parent if you would put him in a nursing home or somewhere similar. Listen to the doctor’s advice and follow any medication that may be prescribed.
Keep track of your parent’s actions. If you feel his symptoms are getting worse, like for example, he forgets things more often or is showing signs of depression, fatigue, or lack of appetite and sleep, take a note of it. Then, inform your physician about it.
It would be better if you could bring your parent with you. Let him listen to what the doctors have to say, it wouldn’t be easy for your aging parent to hear about this but he has to. Ask the doctor what should be done and if living alone could be better for your parent. If the doctor recommends your parent to live alone it would be easier for your parent to accept it.
In case your parent reacts defensively, and this reaction is common, keep yourself calm and well composed. You can prepare for that kind reaction for you to avoid getting mad or something. Remember that what you’re trying to say to your parent is not a very easy thing to take. Show empathy, but do not patronize.
Don’t hurry things; doing things gradually can make it easier for your parent to accept your decision. For example, if you ask your parent about letting him live alone to be better cared for, do not bring up the issues of his will and his bank and other private matters at the same time. Give him time to absorb issues one by one.
When making plans about your parents, let them be involved. Give them their options and let them choose what they want as long as they choose what’s best for them. Letting them take part in the planning will make it easier for them to accept whatever comes out. Make the communication lines between you and your parent stay open. Voice out your opinion yet let them be heard as well. This will make things easier not only to you but also to your parent.
Treat your parents the way you wanted to be treated. It won’t be too long and you’ll be in their shoes too. And when your time of being an aging parent comes, you would surely not want your dignity and individuality be taken away from you, no matter how old you may be.