Living Alone and Remaining Independent
Advanced osteoarthritis can cause severe physical limitations that make living alone a bad idea. Though most elderly people want to remain independent for as long as possible -- physical limitations can force a decision they never wanted to make. The decision -- to stop living alone and move in with someone else or into an assisted living facility.
The reasons for wanting to continue living alone can vary -- but mostly they are obvious. Most people want their freedom and their own space. Most want to steer clear of becoming a burden to anyone. Some people, can't bear to admit to themselves or to others that they can no longer live alone. It can feel like giving in or giving up.
Do You Know Someone Like This?
I wish I had no personal experience in this arena -- but I do. I know someone who up until the age of 84, drove her car, did her own grocery shopping, did her own yardwork, laundry, cooking, cleaning -- you name it. Her mother had an even more impressive track record, doing all it took to live alone until she was 90 years old. Beyond the incentive of being able to do what she wanted to do, when she wanted to -- the 84 year old wanted to emulate her mother. You know, the "if she can do it, I can do it" spirit. And, I'm not saying that's a bad thing.
You may know someone like this. You may be dealing with a parent or grandparent who has lived long enough with osteoarthritis, or osteoarthritis combined with other comorbid conditions, to have left a permanent imprint on the fourth quarter of their life. If you see that living alone has become unwise, but they have dug in their heels -- it can become more than a test of will. What you don't want is for it to become a test everyone fails.
Circumstances Can Take Away Options
It's hard to watch someone surrender their independence. It's hard to watch their pride become dented. But there comes a time, when living alone is not only less than optimal -- it's no longer an option. Simply put, that time is when living alone becomes unsafe. Safety issues supecede desires or intentions. There can be no exceptions.