Today's world is full of risks. We worry about our loved ones when they are away from home, not to mention when our family members or our elderly parents live apart. They are objectively exposed to various dangers, such as robbery, harassment, or accidents. Medical emergencies can be fatal when a person is alone at home and cannot ask for help. And personal safety, especially women’s safety, is at risk even during an early morning or evening run.
But as family members and friends, we have to maintain a fine line between pushy care and allowing people their space. What can make life safer and better organized for our relatives living alone? We'll cover that in our article.
People of different ages tend to live alone for various reasons. In general, living alone is developing together with all of the processes that forced people to start living independently in earlier times. Having cell phones and the ability to conduct video calls gives us the feeling of being together. Unfortunately, staying connected via WhatsApp or Viber cannot protect our loved ones from emergencies. And turning ourselves into a monitoring center with an hourly "How are you?" is not the best idea.
The first reason for living alone is young people's separation from parents and their first independence manifestation. In many countries, the students prefer living alone to staying with the older generation. In this way, they get the first experience in self-care, household organization, expense planning, and earning. The skills gained in this way are precious. At the same time, young people do not want accountability and often minimize contact with family members.
Solo-living middle-aged people have become a widespread tendency, resulting from the need to keep one's own space and freedom. Those preferring this lifestyle feel well-protected on their own. But in fact, they are still quite vulnerable in their homes; medical emergencies in this age group may be sudden and devastating if no help is forthcoming. This is why personal alert systems have become so popular: from medical alert systems to home security systems with protection for windows and doors, smoke alarms, etc.
Seniors living separately from their children have a motivation surprisingly close to the youngest group of people living alone. For seniors, their ability to take care of themselves means independence and perspectives. They feel strong, self-reliant, and young enough to keep living separately. Despite all the dangers of living alone, we can't deny them their independence for no good reason. But getting older means the increased risks of medical emergencies and other accidents. And growing memory and attention problems increase household risks. Smoke alerts and other home security systems become a must-have.
No matter why they started living independently, you still have many good chances to take care of them and make their everyday life safer.
Safety tip #1. Timely health checks. Essential for seniors living alone but also relevant for family members living independently. It would be too much to ask about their feelings every day. On the contrary, it's pretty common to ask about one's scheduled appointment: "What did the doctor say?" Luckily, many clinics create appointment calendars and send reminders when a regular visit is approaching.
Safety tip #2. A circle of friends. Living independently doesn't impact the need for communication. The more interactions a person has every day, the more possibilities for them to notice any health changes. Keeping in touch with several friends of your loved ones keeps you in peace of mind about their everyday activities.
Safety tip #3. A disaster kit. We wish your loved ones would never use it, but it's essential to have one for people living independently. Even with immediate help from timely informed emergency services, in many cases, seconds matter. A kit would save them some time, and that is crucial for seniors.
Safety tip #4. Windows and doors security systems. The homes of people living alone are often on the radar of intruders. This is why home security systems are important. The security systems can include motion sensors, fire protection with smoke alerts, and monitoring windows and doors to lock them before leaving.
Safety tip #5. Convenient handholds and grab bars for seniors. Easy to install, these small things can save lives. Install them in the bathroom and near the place where a person usually changes their shoes. This is the way to avoid many cases of falling.
Safety tip #6. Handy medication kits and reminders. Seniors are not the only ones who take multiple medications regularly. And having a chronic condition shouldn't be a reason to deny yourself an independent life. Medication reminders can be of excellent service to your loved ones. And some pillboxes are so cute or elegant that they can even become a nice present. Timely taking medicine prevents medical emergencies and makes the treatment process most efficient.
Safety tip #7. Motion-activated lights cover several purposes. First, they are energy-efficient for places where people don't spend much time. Second, they are a good choice at night for a person living alone, making their way to the bathroom safer. And the third good reason is tracking suspicious activity by turning the lights on.
Safety tip #8. Slip-proof floors. If you are building a house, it is possible to plan the flooring so that it is impossible to fall on it. But if a senior living alone buys or rents an apartment, we should estimate the safety as a given and take measures to increase it. For example, slip-proof mats make the tiled floors safer and are a must-have for bathrooms.
Safety tip #9. Emergency contacts list. For seniors living alone, it makes sense to print it out, even in multiple copies, and hang it in prominent places. Also, give your cell phone number to neighbors and friends of your relatives living independently.
Safety tip #10. Alert systems. A wide range of devices, alert systems, and applications makes it possible to find one most suited to keep your loved ones safe, regardless of age. It can be tricky to start the conversation about buying a personal emergency alert system. Unobtrusive monitoring is the most complicated thing here, but there is a way out.
AllsWell Alert is a personal safety & emergency alert app combining the panic button with inactivity monitoring. It is a simple and unobtrusive way of monitoring your loved ones living alone. Inactivity monitoring covers the cases when a person needs help but cannot press the panic button. You get a complete alert system for only $10 a month! Try it now with a risk-free 30-days trial period, or contact us if you have any questions about staying safe and connected while living independently.