The 2016 Census revealed that more Canadians are living alone than ever before. At the time of Confederation, most households were family households and few people lived alone. By 1951, 7.4 percent of households consisted of just one person. Today, the numbers look much different. One-person households now make up 28.2 percent of Canada’s households.
This trend isn’t just happening in Canada. People in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and other developed countries are increasingly living alone. Why are so many people living alone these days, and why does it matter?
Why More People Are Living Alone
There are many factors that are contributing to this trend. In the past, people weren’t able to be as economically independent as they are today. Changes like pensions, income redistribution, and more women in the workforce have helped to raise the standard of living. People now have the choice to live on their own, rather than needing to be dependent on family members.
The increase in Canada’s senior population is another reason for this change. In Canada, there are now 5.9 million Canadian seniors, which means there are more seniors than children in the country. This demographic change is due to an increasing life expectancy and the aging of the large baby boomer generation. When compared to other age groups, seniors are more likely to live alone.
Potential Consequences of Solo Living
While some people prefer living alone, this arrangement can have consequences for seniors. Those seniors who don’t have a network of friends or family members can become isolated and lonely. Other seniors may have difficulty leaving their homes to visit their friends and family members who live elsewhere.
An English survey revealed that many seniors are alone for days or even weeks at a time. Among adults 75 and older, one-fifth see a visitor less often than once a week. One-tenth of seniors in that age group report seeing a visitor less than once a month. This can contribute to senior loneliness.
Loneliness is a big problem on its own, but it’s not the only potential consequence of living alone for seniors. When seniors live with other people, they may have a support network to look after them and ensure they’re safe. Seniors who live alone may have no one to turn to if they experience a health problem or need help with their daily tasks.
Services for Seniors Who Live Alone
If you’re worried about a senior loved one who lives alone, you may want to offer them assistance. If your loved one is in generally good health but feeling lonely, they may enjoy companion care services. These services provide daily companionship for seniors. A friendly caregiver will visit your loved one’s home each day to spend time with them. During these visits, your loved one and the caregiver can chat or share hobbies, like games. The caregiver can also help with tasks like errands and transportation, which can help your loved one get out of the house more often.
Companion caregivers are even capable of providing constant monitoring, if that’s something your loved one needs. With this type of monitoring, you won’t have to worry about your loved one getting injured and not being able to call for help. The caregiver will be there and can get your loved one the assistance they need.
Today, more Canadians live alone than ever, and this can be challenging for seniors to manage. If you’re worried about a senior loved one who lives alone, have a conversation about senior home care. With the help of home care services, your loved one can feel less lonely and more secure at home.