Mar 8, 2012

800,000 People with Alzheimer's Disease Live Alone

If we don't care about these persons maybe we should put them in prison for their own good.

Bob De Marco Alzheimer's Reading Room

800,000 People with Alzheimer's Disease Live Alone
Go ahead, imagine yourself living alone with dementia. How does it feel?

Most Alzheimer's caregivers swear they can't leave a person who is deeply forgetful alone for a short period of time without them becoming -- deeply scared, confused, and/or angry.

When I read this morning that about one out of every seven persons suffering from Alzheimer's lives alone I shuddered.

I immediately asked myself, how does this make me feel? Shocked, angry, confused, disconcerted? Nauseous. That means inclined to vomit.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

So I immediately opened the PDF containing the 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report. I was not surprised that the last section of the report addressed this issue.

In fact, here is the last paragraph of the report that comes right before the end notes.
At least 800,000 people in the United States who have Alzheimer’s disease are living alone, and people who have other forms of dementia add substantially to that total. People with dementia who live alone are at greater risk of missed or delayed diagnosis, inadequate self-care, social isolation, falls, unattended wandering, injuries and death than people who have dementia but who live with others in the community. In addition, those who live alone are more likely to be placed into a nursing home earlier than those who live with others, increasing overall health care costs. Better ways to meet the needs of people who have dementia and who live alone may improve their quality of life and reduce overall health care costs.
Now I get it. We should do something about this because if we don't it is going to cost money -- "increasing overall health care costs".

The stated vision of the Alzheimer's Association is "a world without Alzheimer's". What about the world where there is Alzheimer's?

We really need a good national effort to explain to children that when a person living with dementia refuses to live with someone, and demands to live alone at home, they are no longer equipped mentally to make that decision.

We need programs that will train and help these children to intervene. The first thing we need to do is to make it clear that the typical person living alone and suffering from dementia believes they are capable of taking care of themselves. Even when they cannot take care of themselves.

What are the odds that a person that is deeply forgetful will take their medication, eat properly, or take a bath/shower? It only gets worse.

Maybe the some of these 800,000 people should be put in prison. This way they wouldn't be alone, and would actually have someone around to help and care for them.

Think I am kidding? Read this --

What should we do?

Take the attitude that it is not our problem?

Honor the judgement of a person who is clearly demented and let them live alone at home if they say they can take care of themselves?

Should we have an easy to find, easy to get, educational program that explains that a demented person cannot take care of themselves, and what to do about the problem?

What should a child of someone living with dementia do when they know their parent is suffering from dementia and refuses to accept help?

What would you suggest?

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,410 articles with more than 409,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

You are reading original content from the Alzheimer's Reading Room.