5 Considerations Before Deciding if it’s Safe to Live Alone with Dementia

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, one question you may eventually face is, “when should a person with dementia stop living alone?”

A diagnosis of dementia does not mean an immediate change of living situation. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s report, “2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures”, an estimated 65% of older adults with Alzheimer’s or other dementias live in the community. Of those with dementia who live in the community, 74% live with someone, and the remaining 26% live alone.”

Can Someone with Dementia Live Alone?

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with early-stage dementia and plan to continue to live alone, you’ll need to do some planning and organizing to help adjust to changes in memory. Here are some tips for making your daily and long-term tasks easier:

Legal and financial planning: Create, review, and update your legal documents such as power of attorney, power of attorney for healthcare, advance directives, and financial power of attorney.  This will give you confidence that you have a voice now in how your healthcare and finances are addressed in the future.

Banking: Enroll in direct deposit for your retirement or Social Security payments, or schedule automatic bill pay for recurring payments. This will save you trips to the bank for deposits and minimize the stress associated with late payments due to missed bills.

Scheduling: Keep a calendar or notebook to list appointments and important phone numbers in a prominent place.

Managing medication: It’s essential to have a system in place to help you remember to take medication. This can include a medication reminder device, a pillbox organized by day, or a call from someone you trust.

Housekeeping and Shopping: Take advantage of services such as grocery delivery, public transportation, housekeeping, home healthcare, or dog walking can help you or your family member live independently.

Caring for Parent with Dementia at Home

If your parent is living at home with dementia, there may come a time when they eventually need more assistance with daily tasks such as grooming or household chores.

If your loved one has family members living nearby, you may be able to serve as a caregiver or team of caregivers until they can no longer live independently. However, 59% percent of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias rated the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, so it’s important to have a plan to address caregiver burnout. This may include employing in-home services such as companion care, skilled care, personal care, or moving to a memory care community.

When Should a Person with Dementia Stop Living Alone?

Five signs that indicate you or your loved one with memory loss should no longer live alone include:

  • Challenges with medication management, such as forgetting to take pills or taking too many
  • Increasing confusion or frustration during conversations
  • Safety concerns such as getting lost when walking or driving or forgetting about food on a hot stove
  • Changes in conditions in the house, such as piling trash, expired food, or neglected bills
  • Change in personal appearance, including unexplained weight loss or poor hygiene

Specialized memory care may be your next step. If your loved one can no longer live independently safely.

Menno Haven: Serving People with Dementia and Their Families

Menno Haven proudly serves the South Central Pennsylvania community and is suited to meet the changing needs of those living with dementia, from at-home care to on-site memory care. Visit our website to learn more about our services and how we serve you or your family member living with dementia.