What are the risks of leaving an elderly person with dementia alone at home? – Dementia Care Support Guide

Leaving a person with dementia (mid-stage onward) at home alone can pose serious safety risks. Leaving an elderly person with dementia alone at home is not just risky, it’s a matter of utmost importance.

Is it illigal to leave a dementia patients alone?
No! And certainly not safe, especially in homes with stairs, multiple rooms, and a fully equipped kitchen.

Caring for a loved one with this condition requires constant vigilance and support, as they may become disoriented, confused, or forgetful. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why leaving someone with dementia alone is not an option. Dementia affects millions of people worldwide, robbing them of their memory, cognitive abilities, and independence. Without proper supervision, people with dementia are at a higher risk of accidents, injuries, or wandering away.

Furthermore, the emotional toll of isolation can exacerbate their symptoms and lead to increased agitation, anxiety, and depression. The need for constant care and companionship becomes even more critical as their condition progresses. As dementia progresses, individuals may engage in behaviours that could potentially harm themselves or others.

Therefore, when caring for a loved one with dementia, it is imperative to prioritise their safety and well-being, particularly if they reside alone. 

To ensure their safety, it is crucial to assess their abilities and needs and put appropriate safety measures in place. By taking these necessary precautions, you can help provide a safe and secure environment for your loved one with dementia and give yourself peace of mind knowing that they are well protected.

As a carer/caregiver or family member, it is essential to take proactive steps to ensure dementia patients’ safety at home, such as installing safety devices, setting up remote monitoring, and ensuring that they have 24/7 supervision. Doing so can provide peace of mind and security for both the dementia patient and their loved ones.

While leaving an elderly person with dementia alone at home may seem like an easy solution, it is important to understand the potential risks that come with it, including:

Falls:

Dementia can cause problems with balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falls, which could lead to serious injuries.

Accidents:

The person might forget to turn off appliances, leave the water running, or engage in unsafe activities, leading to accidents or household hazards.

Medication Errors:

Dementia can affect memory and the ability to manage medications correctly, leading to missed doses, double doses, or incorrect administration.

Wandering:

People with dementia might wander and become lost, putting them at risk of getting injured, becoming disoriented, or encountering dangerous situations.

Malnutrition and Dehydration:

Forgetting to eat and drink regularly can result in malnutrition and dehydration, affecting their overall health.

Confusion and Agitation:

Being alone can increase confusion and agitation in individuals with dementia, leading to distressing episodes or behaviours.

Social Isolation:

Solitude can lead to increased feelings of loneliness and depression, impacting mental and emotional well-being.

Vulnerability to Scams:

Individuals with dementia might be more susceptible to scams, financial exploitation, or manipulation by strangers.

Inability to Seek Help:

They might be unable to communicate effectively in cases of emergencies or health issues.

Neglecting Personal Care:

Forgetfulness and confusion can lead to neglect of personal hygiene and self-care routines.

Considering these risks, it’s essential to ensure the safety and well-being of elderly individuals with dementia through appropriate care arrangements, regular monitoring, and support from caregivers or professionals.

It is illegal to leave a person with dementia at home alone?  What will the alternatives be?

It’s Not illegal.

There are several alternative arrangements you can consider for an elderly person with dementia living alone at home:

In-Home Care:
Hiring a professional carer/caregiver to provide assistance with daily tasks, medication management, and companionship while ensuring she remains in her familiar environment

Adult Day Care:
Enrolled in a daycare centre designed for seniors with dementia, providing structured activities and social interaction during the day.

Assisted Living:
Moving her to an assisted living facility where she can receive round-the-clock care, assistance with daily tasks, and social engagement with peers

Memory Care Facilities:
These specialised facilities offer care tailored to individuals with dementia, providing a secure environment and specialised support.

Home Health Care:
Employing home health care services to provide medical care, therapy, and support in her own home.

Respite Care:
Arrange for temporary care to give family caregivers a break and ensure she receives proper attention.

Live-in Caregiver:
Having a caregiver live with her to provide continuous assistance and companionship

Digital Monitoring:
Using technology to remotely monitor dementia patients well-being and safety, with alerts sent to caregivers if any issues arise. ie. Google or Alexa Smart screen. 

Family Support:
Relying on a combination of family members to take turns caring for her, allowing each member to contribute while avoiding overwhelming any one individual.

Community Resources:
Utilising local community programmes and services that offer support for seniors with dementia, such as support groups, transportation services, and meal delivery.

The choice of arrangement depends on her needs, the level of care required, and the family’s resources and preferences. It’s important to assess the options carefully to ensure her safety, well-being, and quality of life.

 

Useful links:

Dementia care support guide – What type of routines and familiarities benefit people with Dementia?

Dementia care support guide – What not to do and what to do with a dementia patient?

Dementia care support guide – How to overcome communication difficulties and barriers with dementia patients?

Dementia care support guide – Dementia care at home

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What are your thoughts? 

Would you like to add more information, How can you gain the trust of a person suffering from dementia?

Dear valued carers, caregivers, husbands, wives, daughters, and sons,

We respectfully invite you to share your experience and valuable insights on caring for someone with dementia in their own home. Your approaches and techniques could provide essential solutions to others facing similar challenges and difficulties. We would be grateful if you could spare a few moments to complete the form below and share your thoughts and experiences.

We appreciate your dedication and commitment to caring for your loved ones living with dementia, and your contributions will assist us in continuing to develop and improve our support guide for caregivers. On behalf of the Dementia Care Support Guide team, we extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your consideration and willingness to share your expertise.

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