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Is It Safe To Leave Someone With Dementia Alone?

is it safe to leave someone with dementia alone

After a dementia diagnosis, our first question was whether is it safe to leave someone with dementia alone or not.

Unfortunately, through our own experience and research, this is one of the questions that does not have a DEFINITE answer.

During the initial stages, most individuals with dementia can live alone safely without any problem.

In the course of the illness, a person MAY REQUIRE assistance with daily living activities like cooking, bathing, grooming and dressing.

This normally happens in the middle stages of the illness.

At this point, it is usually not safe to leave the person with dementia for long periods.

They need caregivers to check on them REGULARLY to ensure that everything is in place and they get timely assistance at all times.

For some individuals, however, it may NOT BE SAFE to leave them alone even for short periods.

When Not To Leave A Person Alone

when not to leave a person alone
There are several instances where it may be unsafe to leave a person with dementia alone and these include but are not limited to:

Inability to Respond to Emergencies

If a person with the illness CANNOT appropriately respond to emergencies and act quickly; it may not be wise to leave them alone.

The disease affects the brain’s ability to remember and follow procedures.

This implies that someone may not know the proper steps to take in case of an emergency.

If left unsupervised, the person with the illness can end up getting hurt or worse should they find themselves in a fix.

Risk of Injuries

risk of injuries
While dementia usually affects the mind, it also takes a physical toll on people with the illness.

Many individuals with the illness will experience disorientation and poor balance which can increase the risk of slips and falls.

Falls can cause permanent damage reducing the quality of life significantly. If the person with the illness gets REGULAR supervision, it can PREVENT the risk of falls.

Wandering Tendencies

Wandering is one of the symptoms that people with dementia experience.

People who wander are usually at risk of getting LOST or HURT; thus, it is not ideal to leave them alone.

Hallucinations

Some people with dementia may start hearing, seeing, smelling, or even tasting things that are not real.

At times, the hallucinations can be potentially dangerous to the affected persons.

For instance, if a person with dementia SEES a shadow on the wall and thinks it’s an intruder, they may end up grabbing a sharp knife or weapon and end up harming themselves.

As the illness continues to progress, persons with dementia lose their ability to live independently.

In the last stages of the disease, the affected persons become fully dependent on caregivers and medical personnel.

At this point, it is not safe to leave a person with dementia alone.

If it is NOT POSSIBLE to have someone check on the affected individual around the clock, it is usually best to move the person to a facility where they will receive the professional care they need.

Closing Thoughts

Taking care of persons with dementia requires an individual to make some tough decisions.

One of them is whether or not it is safe to leave someone with dementia alone.

The SAFETY of persons with dementia depends on multiple factors including the symptoms they are experiencing, environmental factors, and other health conditions a person may be having.

It is recommended to take a needs assessment frequently to determine the kind of care the affected person needs during different stages of the illness.