If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you may have observed how the condition leads to cognitive deterioration. As dementia progresses, it becomes difficult for seniors to live by themselves and to do routines that would normally come automatically.
While seniors can live alone during the initial stages of dementia, they are required to live with someone as the condition progresses.
When dementia affects the decision-making of seniors, leaving them alone is not safe. This is why a nursing home for dementia is a good option for cases where it is not possible to care for a dementia patient 24/7.
Is It Illegal to Leave a Dementia Patient Alone? (Quick answer)
Leaving a dementia patient alone is not against the law. However, leaving a dementia patient alone when their condition is advanced and delicate could bear serious consequences. If a dementia patient cannot make sound decisions, cannot communicate effectively, or are slow to make responses, it is dangerous to live alone.
Seniors with initial stages of dementia can be left alone because they can communicate well, and go about their lives well. However, it is good to have someone with them most of the time.
5 Reasons Not to Leave Dementia Patients Alone
Here’s why you should avoid leaving seniors with dementia alone:
Inability to Act Quickly
Dementia patients have decreased cognitive ability which makes it hard to respond to impulses when there is an emergency. Although a fire or a break-in might rarely occur, seniors with dementia cannot take quick response measures such as fleeing from the house immediately when there is a fire or calling 911.
Dementia patients have fall accidents which can occur more often as their cognitive abilities diminish and as their balance becomes less. Dementia also decreases the ability to judge object proximity which increases the chances of having accidents.
Although you might not prevent a dementia patient from having a fall, having immediate assistance after a fall prevents extreme impact. If your loved one has been having fall accidents or knocking objects, they should not be left alone.
Also, check out some of the best fall detection for dementia patients below:
Poor Decision Making
Dementia causes seniors to have poor decision-making in their finances and how they live. Someone who would previously not allow strangers in their home might start opening their door to anyone who cares to knock.
Another common issue with dementia patients is falling for online financial scams. If your loved one with dementia is left unsupervised, they could fall for money scams and lose lots of money.
Dementia patients have instances of hallucinations that can occur at any time. Mostly, they have hallucinations concerning incidents that happened in the past. When dementia patients hallucinate when they are alone, they could harm themselves or destroy things around them. Consistent supervision is needed for dementia patients with instances of hallucination to prevent self-harm.
If a dementia patient has been taking too long to return from their walk or errands, they could be wandering. This is mostly experienced by seniors with Alzheimer’s. Their memory is sometimes unable to make sense of an environment they have been living in for decades.
Wandering is dangerous, especially when a dementia patient cannot call someone they trust to get them home. If dementia patient needs to take a walk or go for appointments, they should always have a trusted person accompanying them.
Check out some of the best trackers for a wandering dementia patient:
Tips to Care For a Loved One With Dementia
Invest In Dementia Aids
After someone is diagnosed with dementia, things should change to give them the best care. Invest in equipment that assists dementia patients to stay safe. For instance, have a bed alarm in case they fall, or have them wear a bracelet with your contacts in case they wander around.
Consider a Nursing Home for Dementia
If caregiving becomes too hard, consider putting your loved one in a nursing home for dementia. Nursing homes give quality full-time care for dementia patients and could improve the quality of life for dementia patients.
Get a Full-Time Caregiver
If you do not want to put your loved one in a nursing home for dementia, you can consider having a professional dementia caregiver look after your loved one dementia.
What Dangers Can a Dementia Patient Experience When Left Alone?
Dementia patients can harm themselves, have a bad fall, experience anxiety, or get lost if left alone.
What Stage Should a Dementia Patient Stop Living Alone?
The moderate dementia stage where one requires help to dress properly or bathe is delicate and requires full-time care. It is recommended to have someone live with the dementia patient even during the initial stages.
What Do People With Dementia Think About?
Dementia patients think about the things they would normally think like; relationships, goals, work, and their daily routine. Although dementia symptoms can significantly reduce the quality of life, it does not make the patient completely out of touch with themselves, especially during the first stages.