Can Your Older Relatives Live Alone?

As our parents or other relatives start to get older, they might find it more difficult to look after themselves without help. When this happens, there are a few different options. Some families decide to move their elderly relatives into a retirement community or into their own homes, while others try to find ways for their parents to stay as independent as possible and keep living alone. 

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Medication Management

If your relatives are taking any medication, it’s important that they are able to manage this themselves if they live alone. Are they remembering to take the correct amount at the correct time? If you aren’t sure, there are some signs that you can look for. When you visit them, look in their cabinets for medicines that have gone out of date, or are being kept with no clear organization. Have they become ill after missed or too many doses? 

Meal Preparation

Are your parents still able to cook safely and managing to make balanced meals? Are they able to use their kitchen appliances without help? Look out for them deciding to skip meals, or for kitchen accidents like forgetting to turn the oven off, or forgetting that food has been put in the microwave. 

Safety And Mobility 

Look out for signs that your parents are finding it hard getting around their home. Have they had falls? Do they have a way to get help if there is an emergency? You can fit their home with devices like emergency alarms, grab bars, and other things to make navigating and getting help much easier. Read this guide to make your home handicap accessible

Personal Hygiene

It’s important for your elderly relatives to still able to bathe themselves, get dressed, and properly wash their clothes and linens. If you start to notice that they look more unkempt than they used to, or they wear diary clothing or have noticeable body odor then this suggests that they aren’t able to care for themselves anymore. 


If your older parents are still driving their car, make sure they are definitely safe enough to get behind the wheel. If they aren’t driving, what kind of access do they have to other forms of transport to get to doctors’ appointments or the grocery store? This could be using public transport, getting taxis, or arranging lifts with friends or family. 


For older people who live alone, isolation can be a big worry. Does your parent spend a lot of time by themselves? Do they have many friends nearby? Do they still go out to socialize, or do they get visitors to their homes? Watch out for signs of loneliness. Independent senior living can offer older relatives to stay near any friends they may have, as well as make new ones. 

Home Management

Are they still able to manage their home? When you visit, take a look around to make sure things are being kept clean. Pay special attention to bathrooms and kitchens. Look out for disarray, stains, or spoiled food in the fridge. Check for post-stacking up or late bill notices coming through to make sure they’re coming on top of house admin. 

This is a collaborative post.



  1. These are some great tips Melinda! My parents are still relatively young (78 and 80), but this is something that we’ve already been thinking about. We know they want to stay in their home as long as possible, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to make sure they can do that safely. Thanks for sharing things we should be taking into consideration.

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    1. It’s a very tough spot! My grandparents wanted to die at home and I committed that I would allow them to do that. Luckily I had a husband who put family first which let t me quit work to take care of them. My granny was only 85, broke her hip, and had Dementia. The worst way to die, or one of the worst. At least there’s no pain. Gramps lied until he was 92. The key is to plan, we started planning when I was a teen and we talked about once a year to make sure I knew where everything was, all the important papers. One important part in helping the one left behind create a life after the partner dies. Gramps did a great job by going to the senior center every day for lunch and met some nice people.

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      1. It’s really wonderful that you were able to do that for your grandparents. My biggest concern is that we live an hour and half away from my parents, so although we can be there fairly quickly when we need to be, we’re not just around the corner so we can pop over at any time. When we bought our home we did so with the idea that we’d have an apartment for them when the time came that they can’t live completely independently anymore. They said they’d move in with us when the time came; I just hope they’ll stick to it when living at home becomes too much for them.

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