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Can People with Dementia Live Alone?

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A happy senior woman enjoying a hot beverage in her living room.

Taking care of a loved one with dementia can bring up difficult questions. Can they still live safely at home on their own? Is it possible that your parent or family member will be able to maintain some independence and autonomy, even if they suffer from memory loss or confusion? 

These are hard and important questions to consider as you explore care options for yourself or those you love. We’ll provide an overview of what is involved in caring for someone with dementia who is living alone, along with how to plan for their safety, health, and well-being. 

With the appropriate resources and support systems in place, it may be possible that your senior relative can remain at home independently but with oversight for peace of mind.

Understanding the Definition & Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is not a single disease but rather a term used to describe a range of symptoms that typically include impaired memory, communication difficulties, and a decline in cognitive function. 

These symptoms can dramatically impact an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities, leaving them feeling confused and disoriented. While dementia can be challenging to diagnose, recognizing the early warning signs is crucial in getting the proper treatment and support.

It is essential to approach those with dementia with compassion and care as they navigate this difficult chapter in their lives. By understanding the definition and symptoms of dementia, we can take a step towards breaking down the stigma and better supporting those who are affected by this condition.

Factors to Consider 

Deciding whether a loved one with dementia can live alone can be a difficult and emotional task. It’s important to consider various factors before making a decision. First, assess their cognitive abilities and whether they can remember daily routines like taking medication or cooking a meal. 

Next, evaluate their physical abilities and whether they can safely navigate their home without the risk of falling or injuring themselves. Consider their social connections and whether they have a support system nearby. 

Lastly, think about the availability of care resources and whether professional assistance is necessary. Remember to approach this decision with compassion and understanding, as it can be a difficult adjustment for both the person with dementia and their family members. 

Seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or dementia specialist can also provide helpful insight.

Potential Safety Risks & How to Mitigate Them

Living alone can offer a sense of freedom and independence, but it can also come with potential safety risks. Those who live alone may be at higher risk of experiencing accidents or emergencies without anyone nearby to help. However, by taking certain precautions, these risks can be mitigated. 

One step is to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home and regularly check them to make sure they are functioning correctly. 

Another precaution to take is to create an emergency plan and share it with family members and friends so they know who to contact in case of an emergency. 

Additionally, it can be helpful to join a community group or find a buddy system to check in on a regular basis. 

By being aware of the potential safety risks and taking necessary steps, living alone can continue to be a fulfilling and safe experience.

Home Modifications to Make Living Alone Easier

Living alone with dementia can be challenging, but with home modifications, daily life can become more manageable and safer. 

  • Consider installing handrails along hallways and stairways to help with balance and prevent falls. 
  • For those with difficulty remembering tasks, labeling cabinets and drawers can make daily routines less stressful. 
  • It may also be helpful to install automatic lights and appliances, such as motion-sensor lights or a programmable coffee maker. 
  • Keeping clutter to a minimum and securing dangerous items can also reduce the risk of accidents. 
  • Purchase a shower chair to support a person if they are unsteady and to prevent falls. 

With some thoughtful changes and modifications to the home, those with dementia can continue living independently while staying safe and comfortable. It’s important to remember that these modifications can ease the strain of daily life and help those with dementia continue living at home for as long as possible.

Practical Tips for Caregivers 

A senior man receiving the groceries delivered to his home.

As a caregiver of someone with dementia who lives alone, it can be an overwhelming responsibility. But with practical tips and the right mindset, you can help prioritize their safety and well-being.

  • Set up automated payments, so you don’t have to worry about paying bills. 
  • Write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook.
  • Have groceries or meals delivered.
  • Have a person who can also check in to make sure they’re okay.
  • Use a pill box to organize medication or get them in bubble packs so you know when and if they took their medicine.
  • Consider transportation means.
  • Keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
  • When dressing or bathing, encourage the person to do as much as they can.
  • Buy loose-fitting, comfortable, easy-to-use clothing, such as clothes with elastic waistbands and without hard-to-use fasteners.
  • Simplifying their living space can reduce confusion and anxiety. 
  • Keep in mind that patience and empathy are key in communication with your loved one. 

Remember to take care of yourself as well by seeking support from family, friends, or local resources. With these tips in mind, you can make a positive impact on the life of someone with dementia who lives alone.

Resources for Connection

Luckily, there are countless resources available to help your loved one with dementia stay connected with others. From social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to virtual activities like online book clubs and video game tournaments, there are endless ways to connect with others from the comfort and safety of our own homes. 

And for those who may be feeling overwhelmed or struggling with feelings of loneliness, know that you’re not alone. There are support groups and hotlines available to help you through these difficult moments. So don’t be afraid to reach out and utilize the resources available to you, as connecting with others is essential for our mental and emotional well-being.

It is essential to have experienced professionals on your side throughout this process who understand the level of care and guidance needed for your loved one to live independently. We encourage you to contact Crescent Fields at Huntingdon Valley. Our top-notch team can provide comprehensive support to help your loved one thrive while living alone with dementia. Reach out to us today to book a tour!

Written by Crescent Fields

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