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When Home Is Unsafe

Difference Between a Living Will and a Last Will

When Home Is Unsafe 

Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC, LLC works with a lot of families where the adult children believe their elderly loved one should no longer be living alone.  When home is unsafe for your loved one, you need to consider all options.

Yet, it’s no surprise that an overwhelming majority of seniors would prefer to spend the rest of their days in their current home. Everything ties your aging loved one to their home, from being comfortable with the floorplan to their privacy, personal space and, of course, the cherished memories. As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

When you witness a decline in your loved one’s health, you may need to consider other senior living arrangements for long-term care, which can include:

  • In-Home Care
  • Independent Living Community
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care
  • Skilled Nursing Facility

 Five Common Challenges of Living at Home Alone

Adult children may see a gradual decline in their Mom or Dad’s health or physical capabilities. Other times, children are prompted to reevaluate their parent’s living arrangement because of a sudden health emergency or an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

When home is unsafe, identifying and eliminating “red flags” can help reduce the risk of falls and other incidents in your senior adult’s home. Common safety hazards are:

  1. Mobility Issues.
    If Mom or Dad has trouble walking without assistance, it may be difficult for them to do simple things, like getting out of bed and moving around the house. These challenges may be compounded if they are unwilling to use a walker, cane or other assistive device.
  2. Floorplan and Layout.
    Going up and down the stairs greatly increases an older adult’s risk of falling. However, many homes do not accommodate main floor living – if the laundry room is in the basement or the master bedroom is upstairs, for example.
  3. Although your loved one may have previously enjoyed working in the yard, it can become a significant hazard. Lawn mowers are responsible for thousands of Emergency Room trips each year. Doing yard work in hot weather also increases the risk of dehydration and fainting.
  4. Cooking and Cleaning.
    Seniors may not always have the strength to keep up with normal daily activities, like cooking with heavy pots and pans. This can create a risk of burns and kitchen fires. Bathrooms with slick floors and damp surfaces are even more risky: Falls are the #1 cause of fatal injury among older adults.
  5. Neighborhood Safety.
    The family home your loved one bought so many years ago may not be in today’s ideal neighborhood. You may find the changing demographics are no longer safe for your Mom or Dad to be living alone.

Your family’s caregiver should assess the care needs of their aging loved one to determine a safe living arrangement, along with seeking the individual’s feedback and (hopefully!) gaining their cooperation. An attorney like the ones at Beck, Lenox & Stolzer who specialize in elder law can be an invaluable resource for this important conversation.

 Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law Can Help Your Loved One

Making decisions about your Mom or Dad’s living arrangement is a big responsibility. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, contact the elder law attorneys at Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law in St. Charles. We can help make sure you have the authority to act on your loved one’s behalf, and can also connect you to a care manager who can help the family and your loved one make the right decision when home is unsafe.

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