Can You Live Alone with Alzheimer’s?
By Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law. Serving seniors and their families in Aurora, IL. Wills and trusts, Estate plans, Medicaid crisis planning, and much more… According to ‘2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures’ , An estimated 800,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s (or one in seven) live alone. People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias who live alone are exposed to higher risks, including inadequate self-care, malnutrition, untreated medical conditions, falls, wandering from home unattended, and accidental deaths, compared with those who do not live alone. Of those who have Alzheimer’s and live alone, up to half of them do not have an identifiable caregiver. One of the signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s is the tendency to wander off or to become lost. This is especially dangerous because people with Alzheimer’s do not act, or react, in the manner that a typical lost person would. Wanderers with dementia typically will not cry out for help or respond to calls to them, nor will they leave many physical clues to lead people to them. More than likely, a wanderer will go to an old place of residence or a favorite location from the past. It may be helpful to register your loved one in the Safe Return program run by the Alzheimer’s Association. Members of the Safe Return program are issued a bracelet or other form of jewelry with the association’s logo on one side and the individual’s identification number on the other side to aid in identification. If you’re an adult child living with a parent suffering from dementia, try putting a baby monitor in the parent’s bedroom so that they can hear them get up in the middle of the night. It is also a good idea to put safety devices in the home and warn the neighbors of the possibility of wandering and ask them to keep an eye out. Another danger is falling. Many elderly adults suffer falls as they age, but falls are more likely and can be more dangerous when the individual has Alzheimer’s disease. Because people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias commonly suffer from impaired judgment and disorientation, and a decrease in problem-solving abilities, visual perception, and spatial perception, the risk of falls is significantly increased. People caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s should also be warned about hallucinations or delusions. It is hard to tell if these are brought on by the disease or if they are side effects from a medication, but individuals with Alzheimer’s have been known to suffer from one or both. Of course, some people will never suffer from either. If your loved one is suffering from hallucinations or delusions that you suspect are being caused by a drug the patient is taking to treat a condition, it is advisable to contact the patient’s doctor. But often, If the hallucinations do not upset or frighten the patient, it may be best for the caregiver to just go along with the hallucination. In fact, validating the hallucinations is important and even healthy, and may even help prevent the Alzheimer’s patient from becoming upset. If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees. Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.