Staying at home is the goal of many older adults. This is the place where children were raised, family gatherings and parties happened, and memories are still fresh. Living alone is an adjustment to the loss of a person who was near and dear. If preparations had been made and a future course with options available, the shock of the loss would be difficult but manageable. Living alone puts the responsibility on the person to take care of themselves and not be a burden to the family. This is very hard to do. The family feels obligated to take care and worry what is happening and whether you are all right. If the loss was sudden decisions are made without a lot of preparation and options can be limited and expensive. Options such as a short term stay at an assisted living facility may be appropriate but not affordable. This puts additional strain on the family.
It is important to plan your future before the event of a loss occurs, causing the disruption of family schedules and daily routine. It is important to plan your future as early as possible so the physical limitations of your home don't become major problems. If maintenance is a problem, look to local support groups to find the services you need. If the home needs accessibility modifications, a local Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) builder can provide a quote and schedule to make the needed changes to the home. Living alone means you need to find the time to shop and prepare your meals. Meals on Wheels and the local senior center can provide assistance with meals planning. What can happen is the person alone begins by leaving the house every day for shopping, meetings, or visits with friends or family. If medical conditions begin to change, minor medical problems can become more serious and lead to a chronic condition that increases the threat of isolation for the individual. As isolation continues, leaving the home, eating, exercise, and communication lessen and accidents like a fall can happen.
On the other hand, planning your future would put in place a roadmap of tasks, responsibilities, contacts, alternatives, and financial planning which the family can agree upon and make the transition to living alone more acceptable and the adjustment less threatening to the older adult. Planning your future gives you the options you need to make informed decisions.