Is it okay to leave an elderly person alone?

Smoke comes out of the kitchen and a burglar is coming out of the kitchen. Elderly parents can be left alone if they are able to recognize and respond quickly to emergencies. Kitchen smoke and the sound of burglar alarms should alert them to the potential danger. Seniors should be able to physically reach the phone, call 911 and communicate the emergency.

Leaving an elderly person alone can pose a variety of risks and dangers, such as falls, medication errors, or accidents in the home. Addressing these potential hazards is crucial by implementing safety measures and regularly monitoring the person. Decreased physical and cognitive abilities make families consider whether it's safe to leave their elderly parents home alone. In this context, evaluating both the risks and the available supports is crucial for making informed decisions that prioritize the well-being and autonomy of older people. Older people without a diagnosis of dementia need to know their immediate environment if they want to stay home safely alone.

For these seniors, being left alone allows them to become victims of financial scams, whether over the phone or in person. In addition, having an emergency response system or the presence of a nearby neighbor who can see how people are doing can provide peace of mind by leaving them alone. If an older person's health is worsening, they may need more frequent checkups and support from caregivers or family members. When an aging parent suffers from dementia, especially in the middle or late stages, the older adult is likely to behave unusually.

Likewise, older people with poor judgment may allow strangers to enter the house, but not emergency personnel. When determining if it's safe to leave an elderly person alone, there are a few key factors to consider. Ultimately, the decision to leave an elderly person alone must prioritize their safety and well-being and, at the same time, respect their autonomy. For example, if an elderly person has difficulty climbing stairs or uses a mobility aid device, ensuring that their home is equipped with appropriate safety measures, such as grab bars and ramps, can help prevent accidents. Mental health is another crucial aspect to consider when determining if it's safe to leave an older person alone.

Before deciding to leave older parents alone, remember to periodically reevaluate current situations, as the health and abilities of older people change over time. Family caregivers who take it for granted that their elderly parents can safely stay home alone should pay more attention to the wishes of their loved ones.