Living Alone with Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association recently issued a report indicating that 1 in 7 persons with Alzheimer’s dementia, other dementia or a significant cognitive disorder actually lives alone – according to MSNBC.

This means that of the estimated 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, 800,000 are living alone, without the benefit of a live-in relative or other individual to can regularly check on their health, safety, financial management, etc.

The report indicates that those older Americans with cognitive compromise who live alone are at greater risk for serious falls, wandering off, mismanagement of their medications, missing doctor’s appointments, exacerbation of medical conditions,  mismanagement of funds, etc.

How to cope with this growing problem among older individuals?

First, the chapter has advocated planning ahead, in order to insure that aging individuals will have someone (family and/or professionals) to help maintain them safely in the home, for as long as feasible.

Secondly, the Alzheimer’s Association has recently launched, a social media site for individuals affected by dementing illness, which can them connect with resources for managing problems associated with dementia in the home, etc.

Third, Seniors Helping Seniors is an association that employs capable seniors to provide in-home assistance at reasonable rates to their fellow seniors suffering from dementing illnesses.

Finally, if you suspect that you or a loved one is developing age-related problems with thinking or memory, it makes good sense to ask your primary care physician (PCP) to put in a referral to a neuropsychologist, for a thorough evaluation. Regarding early detection and treatment of dementia, please see the relevant Metrowest Neuropsychology podcast, and our blog post.