Many of the calls we get are from adult children of a parent with dementia. It’s all too common.
In most of these cases, the parent is no longer safe to live alone.
Two major concerns for a senior with dementia living alone are medication management and personal safety.
Medication Concerns For a Parent With Dementia
When an elderly person has very limited short term memory, the risk of them over medicating or under medicating themselves is very real.
And there can be serious consequences of not taking medications correctly.
Over medicating can lead to drowsiness or dizziness resulting in a fall. It can also cause a person to not sleep at night, especially if they sleep too much during the day. And if a parent with dementia doesn’t sleep at night, it can lead to dangerous wandering behavior.
Another problem with not taking medications correctly is bowel irregularity. Toileting problems can result in discomfort or toileting accidents.
Safety Concerns For A Parent With Dementia
The safety of any elderly person living alone is always a worry, even if their mind is sharp. But when you add dementia to the picture, safety becomes a larger concern.
The reality is that for a parent with dementia, anything you can imagine happening can actually happen. This can be wandering outside and becoming disoriented and lost, or leaving the stove or other hot surface on resulting in a fire.
And the most common reasons any senior ends up in the emergency room become magnified when you have a parent with dementia. These common reasons are falls, dehydration, being under nourished, and urinary tract infections.
Care For A Parent With Dementia
What are families to do?
First, remember that if you are legally responsible for your parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s, not keeping them safe could result in a visit by Adult Protective Services or the police.
If no one who has the legal ability to make decsions on behalf of a parent with dementia, it gets more complicated.
- Family members or friends provide care.
- Hire in home care. The challenge with in home care can be not knowing what time of day, or in what circumstance, your loved one’s safety could be in jeopardy. 24/7 care is available, but it’s expensive.
- Move your loved one with dementia to an appropriate memory care community or care home.
In San Diego County, we have lots of good in home care services.
Elder Answers can help narrow your options based upon your family’s specific situation and needs