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5 Signs an Elderly Person Shouldn't Be Living Alone

        Health | Elder Care

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Decreasing Hygiene or Changes in Personality
Depression in an older person is a big red flag that maybe he or she shouldn't be living alone.
Depression in an older person is a big red flag that maybe he or she shouldn't be living alone.
©iStockphoto.com/JJRD

­Whether it's due simply to advanced age or to the presence of dementia, a noticeable drop in personal hygiene, appearance or social habits may be a sign that a loved one should be placed in an assisted-living or advanced-care facility.

As we age, our reward for long life is often physical decline, new and unexpected sources of pain, and recognizing far too many names when reading newspaper obituaries. The new difficulties of daily life, from incontinence to needing help changing clothes, can also be frustrating.

All of this often adds up to a saturating sense of depression. Not only does depression affect a person's perspective, it also adversely affects the immune system, making a depressed person that much more susceptible to further physical ailments. Also, depressed seniors may withdraw into a cocoon of isolation, making it next to impossible for others to reach out to them or just lend an ear.

Nobody should be left in this type of environment. If you notice signs that an older family member is no longer able (or seemingly interested) in living with a basic amount of dignity, socialization and contentment, that person may very well benefit from the care, attention and understanding that can be provided by care facilities.