For adults with memory impairment like Alzheimer’s, change can be difficult, so it is no surprise that the prospect of moving out of the home and into a care facility is met with resistance. According to research published in the Journal of American Geriatrics, there has been an increased trend for people with dementia to prefer staying at home for as long as possible. However, staying at home presents some significant challenges, particularly for people who live alone. With some awareness and forethought, it is possible to stay at home. Here are some important considerations.

Managing Activities of Daily Living

As dementia progresses, many activities of daily living (ADL) become increasingly difficult. From grocery shopping to cleaning, household chores become confusing, and often they are neglected. In addition, personal home care like bathing, dressing, and grooming can be forgotten or avoided. As dementia progresses, individuals require increasing assistance with ADLs, which may be beyond the capacity of family, especially if they don’t live together. It’s important to regularly assess the status of ADL abilities and make adjustments to meet increased needs. 

Assuring Safety

Individuals with Alzheimer’s suffer from progressive cognitive decline, which impacts many aspects of their safety. Something as simple as remembering to turn off a stove can be a major hazard for someone with memory and focus impairment. Since Alzheimer’s affects older adults, there can be physical challenges that are exacerbated by dementia, such as an inability to problem solve in the event of a medical emergency like a fall or a kitchen accident. Also, dementia can lead to “wandering” – where a person gets lost in their own neighborhood because they simply can’t remember where they live. With care and planning, each of these and many other safety elements can be addressed, and measures can be taken to adapt to increasing impairment as the disease progresses.

Avoiding Isolation

Loneliness and isolation are a problem for all people who live alone, but for people living with Alzheimer’s the consequences can have a real, negative impact on their continued ability to live in their own home. A recent Washington Post article identified a significant increase in individuals with Alzheimer’s who experienced isolation due to the COVID-19 protocols. Since dementia can make even simpler technologies difficult to manage, in-person contact is critical to the continued health and well being of people with Alzheimer’s. 

In order to take care of these and other issues that impact people with Alzheimer’s living at home, we recommend beginning with a thorough assessment by a specialist in geriatric and memory-care concerns. The assessment should look at all of the factors in the home that might pose a difficulty or even a threat. Once the assessment is complete, there are a number of ways to address the findings. In-home care offered by trained specialists like our team at CarePlus Home Health can be an important part of the solution. Located in Montgomery County, our team is highly trained in the care, dignity and safety of our clients with Alzheimer’s. We offer in-home assessments as well as a wide range of customized services to best address the needs of each individual. Contact us to find out how we can help.