Can Someone with Dementia Live Alone? And Other Important Questions

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elderly man sitting on a couch at home

Helping dementia patients live at home is one of the best ways to encourage their health, longevity, and comfort. There are times when moving someone with dementia is necessary, but it’s often best to keep them at home.

There can be some worry and uncertainty regarding individuals with dementia living at home, especially if they’re alone. If you’re an adult child or family caregiver to someone with dementia, you may have lots of questions about your loved one living at home.

In this article, we’re sharing expert information about people with dementia living at home and how to get help for dementia sufferers living alone. We’ll answer some of the most pressing questions, like:

  • Can someone with dementia live alone?
  • How long can dementia patients live at home?
  • How can you promote independence in a person with dementia?

Keep reading to learn more about the risks and benefits of people with dementia staying at home.

The Top 5 Questions About People with Dementia Living at Home

Dementia is a disease that affects nearly 5 million Americans. As the population ages, experts expect that number to rise, and many people may find themselves as a caregiver to someone with dementia.

But dementia doesn’t immediately render someone unable to perform daily life tasks. Most people with dementia can still live for many years before they need serious hands-on assistance. And like most elderly adults, those with dementia want to age in the comfort of their own homes.

There are some potential risks to be aware of when thinking about letting your loved one with dementia live at home. However, there are also many benefits.

Here are the top five questions about individuals with dementia living at home.

1. Can Dementia Patients Live at Home?

People with dementia can live at home, especially in the early stages of dementia.

Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning that its symptoms get worse over time. One of the significant signs of dementia is short-term memory loss. Short-term memory loss means they can often forget:

  • Where they placed things
  • New names or places
  • Scheduled events or appointments

They may need help remembering new information, but living at home isn’t a huge issue in the early stages of dementia.

Additionally, home is a place of comfort and certainty. The later stages of dementia can bring about confusion, wandering, and the risk of getting lost. Keeping individuals with dementia in their homes provides them with familiarity. This familiarity may include:

  • Places (i.e., stores and medical providers)
  • People (i.e., local friends and family)
  • Events and other appointments 

Home is an excellent place for someone with dementia to remain, regardless of their dementia stage. 

2. How Long Can Dementia Patients Live at Home?

Ultimately, someone with dementia can live at home until they pass away. However, it often requires that they receive full-time, hands-on help in the later stages of dementia.

As dementia progresses, it affects more than someone’s short-term memory. The late stages of dementia usually cause the person to lose motor functions and hinder their ability to live independently. This loss of function can lead them to need help:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Moving

A person with late-stage dementia often requires 24-hour hands-on assistance. This help can come from a family member who lives with their loved one or a full-time caregiver from an in-home care company.

But with 24-hour care, someone with dementia can live in their home indefinitely.

3. Can Someone with Dementia Live Alone?

This third question is a little complicated. 

Dementia patients can technically live alone to some degree. However, they may need someone to check in with them regularly.

Family members could take shifts visiting with them a few days a week. There are also home monitoring devices for elderly adults that families can use. In-home caregivers provide another way to ensure your loved one receives regular, professional in-home help.

As dementia progresses, living alone becomes more complex. Dementia patients can easily:

  • Get lost
  • Wander
  • Become confused

Dementia also doesn’t progress at a consistent pace. One day your loved one may seem fine on their own. The next day, their condition could change, and they may need an increased level of care. It’s best to have a long-term care plan in place for when your loved one needs more serious care.

People with dementia might be able to live alone under specific circumstances. But should they live alone? 

4. Should a Person with Dementia Live Alone?

Because of the nature of dementia, someone with dementia shouldn’t live alone. 

As we mentioned above, rapid dementia progression can occur, and the ability for those with dementia to wander or get lost is always a possibility. Leaving someone with dementia alone also runs the risk of a medical emergency occurring without someone to help immediately. 

Someone may not need to stay with your loved one 24-hours a day during the early stages. But as dementia progresses, it’s best to make sure they have more regular care. Eventually, most people with dementia do need supervision at all hours of the day.

24-hour care for a person with dementia could look like:

  • A family member staying with your loved one
  • Moving your loved one into your home
  • Getting a 24-hour in-home caregiver
  • Some combination of the above

Ultimately, helping dementia patients live at home well involves ensuring their safety and comfort. A person with dementia is most safe when they aren’t left alone.

5. How Can You Promote Independence in a Person with Dementia?

Even though it’s often not best to allow someone with dementia to live alone, you still want to promote independent living for as long as possible.

Independent living usually means providing a routine and encouraging your loved one to do simple daily tasks themself. These daily tasks might include:

  • Bathing and dressing
  • Cooking and cleaning
  • Exercising and walking
  • Socializing with friends
  • Creating and following a daily to-do list

Anything that keeps them active and thinking for themselves is beneficial. There may come a time when your loved one with dementia needs around-the-clock care. Until then, promote an independent lifestyle as much as possible.

In-home Care: Helping Dementia Patients Live at Home

Dementia is a progressive disease that slowly affects someone’s cognitive and physical abilities. The early stages of dementia bring about short-term memory loss, but people can still perform daily tasks independently. Dementia’s later stages often more seriously affect an individual, causing them to need more continual hands-on help with daily living.

However, it’s possible and encouraged for people with dementia to live at home. Their home is a safe place that provides them with comfort, familiarity, and security as dementia progresses. 

It’s often not best to allow someone with dementia to stay at home alone, especially in dementia’s later stages. Helping dementia patients live at home usually involves having a family member or professional in-home caregiver remain with them.  Towards the end of their life, a person with dementia usually needs 24-hour in-home care to stay at home.

At Stowell Associates, we make aging at home possible for elderly adults. Our highly-trained staff of Care Managers, Caregivers, and Care Coaches know how to take care of a person with dementia while also providing support to family members.

  • Care Managers work personally with family members to manage their loved one’s care and oversee a personalized care plan.
  • Caregivers enter your loved one’s home to provide the hands-on care they need.
  • Care Coaches provide tools, resources, and support to family caregivers who want to provide personal care to their loved ones themselves.

Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor and receive assistance understanding what kind of care is best for your loved one with dementia.

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