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When can a person with dementia no longer live alone?

dementia care in your own home

Being diagnosed with dementia can be heartbreaking for the patient and for their family members. Although there are different stages of dementia – ranging from mild to severe – such a diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming because it is progressive and there is degeneration of cognitive functions over time.

If you have a loved one or you know of a person with dementia who lives alone, you may be wondering if leaving a person with dementia alone is actually safe. The short answer is that it will depend on the stage of dementia that the person is in. For example, a stage one or mild dementia with a little bit of forgetfulness can be lived with.

However, more severe stage four dementia means that support from outsiders and family members will be required. For those wondering about when a person with dementia can no longer live alone, we attempt to answer this question in the article below.

The main signs of dementia

There is no one-size-approach to dementia and it will manifest itself differently in every person. However, some common signs of dementia include:

  • Misplaced items, which can be signs of an unruly or disorganised mind
  • Forgetfulness that is persistent, especially with regard to both short and long-term memories
  • Confusion in following basic conversation, instructions or directions and the blurring of lines when minor details are missed
  • An untidy living environment not due to a lack of willingness to do so but simply because such tasks can become challenging or they can be forgotten about entirely
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene as it signals that normal daily routines are being neglected

The impacts of dementia

When we talk about a dementia diagnosis, we are aware that there are several different stages of the patient’s cognitive impairment and whereas some will be in the early or mild stages, others will be in the more advanced stages.

Nevertheless, a person with dementia who currently lives alone will inevitably start experiencing certain challenges. These challenges can put their health and physical well-being at risk and as such, are best avoided.

For example, their quality of life will be affected, they will not be able to take advantage of community services meaning that they will encounter higher costs, family members will need to provide additional support and there are also challenges where someone with dementia wants to stop living alone due to loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression.

What are the dangers of living alone with dementia?

If you have a close family friend or a family member who has dementia and not wanting to be alone, that is an important sign for you that they need extra care. Of course, being left alone means that there are some important dangers of living alone with dementia which should ultimately be avoided as far as possible.

Some of the most common dangers of the elderly living alone, particularly those suffering from dementia, include the following, which can cause them harm:

  • Lack of personal hygiene could have serious health implications later
  • A messy and unkempt home could pose safety hazards
  • The inability or unwillingness to prepare food could not only mean weight loss but also an unhealthy diet and subsequent health concerns such as malnutrition
  • Difficulties in communicating could be dangerous because they could be susceptible to scams or risk feeling alienated, frustrated and alone
  • If they struggle with physical movement, ordinary tasks will become more difficult to carry out and this can pose internal hazards within the home
  • They may get lost when they are out wondering, which can make them feel frightened and insecure even if they are in the same neighbourhood they’ve always lived in
  • They may experience falls, accidents or injuries while alone at home and are unable to call for help
  • Their mental health could suffer as they feel deprived of reliable and constant company.

Should people with dementia live alone?

To answer the question of whether people with dementia should live alone is a difficult task. This is because several factors come into play in such a case.

For instance, the type of dementia must be taken into account as well as its symptoms. In addition, it’s important to note how quickly the dementia is progressing, the circumstances of their current carer’s health and the environment in which they live.

In most cases, it’s highly recommended that a person with dementia, who struggles when left alone or cannot safely be left alone, gets in-home dementia care whether on a full or part-time basis.

Contact a professional elderly carer today!

It has been researched and studied that dementia patients prefer the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home when it comes to the care they receive. When a carer is assigned to them, they will not be left alone and prone to falls, injuries or accidents.

Instead, housework and chores will be dealt with, physical obstacles within the home will be addressed, daily needs are provided for, a routine is set that can be followed with ease and so much more.

For instance, dementia care in your own home can also ensure that medication is taken correctly, communication with the carer is compassionate and exercises and activities to strengthen the mind are performed. All these factors combined mean that your loved one will be in no better hands than with an in-home carer.

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