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5 Reasons It’s Dangerous to Leave Aging Adults with Dementia Alone

By Debbie Nunn, 9:00 am on

For seniors with dementia, many factors can impact their safety, including their living environment, the progression of their dementia, and their physical wellbeing. While seniors in the early stages of dementia may remain safe when left alone, those in the later stages of the disease are at higher risk. Here are five dangers of leaving seniors with dementia alone.

1. Inability to Respond in an Emergency

As dementia progresses, the ability to respond appropriately in an emergency diminishes. Dementia affects the brain’s ability to recall and follow procedures, and seniors in the later stages of the disease may no longer remember what steps to take in the event of an emergency. Even seniors who do remember how to respond to an event like a fire may not be able to respond effectively in the moment. If you’re worried about your senior loved one’s emergency response skills, try asking what he or she would do if the kitchen caught fire. If your loved one gives the right answer, ask him or her to go through the motions and show you how to call 911 and exit the house quickly. Many seniors with dementia have difficulty with the emergency response process—a sign they shouldn’t be left unsupervised.

2. Tendency to Wander

Wandering is a common symptom of dementia. Seniors afflicted with the condition often have a tendency to wander and get lost, even in familiar locations. When seniors are left alone, it increases the likelihood they’ll leave the house and wind up lost. Seniors with a tendency to wander shouldn’t be left unsupervised, but if you want to take extra precautions, invest in medical alert technology that tracks your loved one’s location.

Highly trained caregivers with experience in caring for seniors with dementia can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Clarksville senior home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

3. Susceptibility to Scams

Scammers often target seniors. Unwanted solicitations can be made over the phone, by email, or through the mail. Some scammers even come to the door. Dementia impacts decision-making abilities, leaving seniors less able to make sound financial decisions. When left alone, one phone call or door-to-door solicitation could wind up costing your loved one hundreds of dollars. If your loved one is no longer capable of making sound financial decisions, try not to leave him or her alone. Implement measures that safeguard your loved one’s finances, which may include having his or her mail sent to a different address or a P.O. box and putting his or her phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.

4. Risk of Injury

While dementia primarily affects the mind, it also takes a physical toll. Seniors with dementia often experience poor balance and disorientation, which increase the risk of slips and falls. Fall-related injuries can cause permanent damage and greatly reduce quality of life. Regular supervision can prevent these injuries from taking place. 

Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Clarksville families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care.

5. Danger of Medication Mishaps

As dementia progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult for seniors to follow a to-do list. Even with a list of the prescriptions they’re supposed to take and when to take them, seniors with dementia may have difficulty implementing the plan. Taking too little or too much of a prescription medication can have terrible consequences, and supervision is the best way to prevent these accidents.

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, keeping him or her safe is your number one priority, and a caregiver can be a tremendous asset. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Clarksville families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (931) 218-2781.

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