The Risks for Aging Clients Who Live Alone

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Even if your older clients have family, living alone can lead to social isolation and higher risks of health problems. Here is a true story of a 75-year old woman who was very independent until a crisis struck. Imagine being the advisor for this long-time client.

"Brenda" is single and never had kids. She has one family member 2,000 miles away. Few friends live in her area. She has many chronic health problems. She is very independent but has been thinking about moving, as she is concerned about her balance and climbing stairs in her condo.

She tells you this in a recent conversation. You wonder how long she can last where she is.

Brenda fell at home soon after that conversation and managed to get to the phone. Paramedics took her to the hospital with disabling injuries. The treating doctor warned her that she should not go back to her two-story condo, and that she needed to make other plans. The next step was the rehab facility for physical therapy. There she worried every day about what to do after she was discharged. How could she move, how could she find a place being so disabled? She called you to let you know where she was. You pondered how you might help, but there were no clear answers.