Many of us have an older parent living alone. And despite our best intentions, we don't get to visit as often as we'd like or hope to. This could be a fatal mistake.
This week our Bio-One technicians have responded to an increased number of undiscovered deaths - people living alone who passed away with no one knowing. Some were dead for days, a couple others were there for weeks before anyone noticed they were gone. On more than one occasion it was the smell of decomposition that alerted people living nearby something was wrong.
Decompositions are more numerous in the Summer months. They could be more frequent due to the heat contributing to the cause of death, but the heat is definitely a part of why they are discovered. On the business side of things, the more a body decomposes, the more damage can be caused to the property Carpet often has to be removed, and in more severe cases, we might need to remove two layers of subfloor in order to properly eliminate bio-hazards/body fluids. It can even go as far as having to demo walls and cabinets, or else the smell and hazards will continue to be present.
This is our job, but our hearts break a little each time. And even if you are visiting loved ones regularly, realize they may not always be straightforward about how they’re doing on their own - perhaps they don’t want you to worry. This year, due to COVID 19, many seniors had no choice but to stay isolated. However, there are programs to help you keep tabs. The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) launched a free, daily check-in phone service for Ohio’s older residents called "Staying Connected." Also check your local community. The city of Cuyahoga Falls, for instance, has a program called "Senior Watch" - if someone cannot reach your loved one by phone, then a police officer will go to the home. Efforts like these could give you peace of mind in knowing you are doing all you can.