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5 Safety Risks of Leaving a Loved One with Dementia Alone

By , 9:00 am on

Dementia is a progressive disorder that prevents seniors from completing many daily tasks on their own, especially as the condition worsens. Over time, the disease also puts their safety at risk and increases the odds of behavioral problems. Continue reading to learn why you shouldn’t leave your senior loved one with dementia alone.

1. Increased Risk of Falls

Dementia prevents seniors’ brains from telling them how to move and what to see. As a result, the risk of slipping and falling increases. The weakened balance and gait changes many seniors with dementia experience are some of the top reasons they should never be left alone. If you need to leave home, make sure someone can step in to help out while you’re away. You should also consider using respite care services so you can have a professional caregiver come in a few times each week to monitor your loved one and provide you with temporary relief.

A highly trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with dementia can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Santa Rosa elder 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.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is common in older adults with dementia due to cognitive decline. Your loved one could become stressed out and want to harm him or herself as a result. Therefore, he or she should never be left unsupervised. There are steps your family can take to help your parent manage the emotional and mental aspects of dementia, but alleviating depression and behavioral problems altogether isn’t possible. If you’re there when your loved one has an anxiety-fueled episode, you can help him or her calm down and prevent the situation from escalating.

3. Forgetfulness

Confusion and forgetfulness are common among people with dementia because the condition prevents the brain from functioning normally. Issues such as forgetting to turn off the stove and misplacing medication are common for seniors with dementia, and it could put your loved one’s safety at risk. Someone must be at home to monitor your parent’s daily activities, including cooking, cleaning, grooming, and managing medications.

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. Santa Rosa 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.

4. Slower Reaction

Emergencies can occur, which is why seniors need to be alert and able to respond quickly. Failing to react rationally could prevent your loved one from getting out of a bad situation, possibly leading to severe consequences. Dementia reduces many cognitive skills, such as the ability to think logically and react within a specific amount of time. If no one is around to call 911 or help your loved one leave the home immediately, his or her odds of surviving the situation could decrease. Delayed reaction time could also raise the risk of other issues, such as burns, broken bones, and poisoning.

5. Hallucinations

It’s not uncommon for seniors with dementia to experience sensory challenges associated with the ability to taste, hear, touch, and see. These issues can increase the odds of hallucinations. If no one is at home with your parent during one of these episodes, he or she could harm him or herself. For instance, if your parent thinks a stranger is in the house, he or she might grab a sharp object for protection and stab his or her own arm or leg instead. To boost safety, someone should always be home with your loved one, especially if he or she experiences hallucinations and other dementia symptoms. 

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, keeping him or her safe is your top 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. You 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (707) 843.4368.