Those with dementia are at greater risk when they live alone.
Independence is a common value in the United States.
In fact, we have a shared “Declaration of Independence,” after all.
While children are dependent on their parents as they grow up, the goal is to rear self-sufficient adults.
Seniors who have lived alone for years find it difficult to accept the help of others.
According to a recent Health News article titled “Can Someone With Dementia Live Alone?,” most senior adults prefer to live independently as long as possible.
A 2020 Pew Research Center report found that American seniors are more likely to live by themselves or with only a spouse than older adults in other countries.
This is consistent the census numbers.
Most families today are having fewer children while adults are also living longer.
Of those senior with a dementia diagnosis, about 15 million live alone.
Although it is possible for them to live safely alone, common risks should be addressed.
What can be done to help those with dementia live safely by themselves?
Make lifestyle changes.
Because they can tend to wander or get lost, it can be helpful to utilize GPS trackers, medical ID bracelets, or “safe return” programs.
Falls are common result of sensory difficulties like depth perception.
Having a Medic Alert or scheduling daily visits from family or community programs can provide a safety net.
Social and emotional loneliness are common for those with dementia.
Maintaining an active social life can be more than helpful.
Set medication reminders.
In addition to prescribed medications for neurological changes, seniors with dementia often have other ailments requiring prescriptions.
It would be wise to set a phone alarm or utilize a pill box to remind the senior to take the proper doses at the proper times.
Those with dementia can have challenges making their own meals or even remembering to eat.
It is possible to support the nutritional needs of aging adults.
You can utilize sticky note reminders or place food pictures on the refrigerator.
Cookbooks can provide directions for using the right ingredients.
You can set a timer to be sure food is cooked thoroughly, but not too long.
Because shopping for groceries can be a challenge, you can utilize a meal box subscription service or organizational help from community services like Meal on Wheels.
Assist with daily chores.
Tasks for those with dementia are often easier in the morning or with minimal distractions.
As dementia progresses, seniors may require more assistance with chores and activities such as dishwashing, laundry, meal prep, and bathing.
Although it is possible for those with dementia to live alone, it often requires careful preparations and ample support.
Reference: Health News (Jan. 16, 2023) “Can Someone With Dementia Live Alone?”