Decisions to make Before
Living Alone with Alzheimer’s
When early signs of dementia begin, you may still be living alone. Even after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, some folks want to remain in their own home, alone. We all know “There is no place like Home.” Yet, eventually, you may need more care than you are able to receive in your own home. Then, other living arrangements will be a necessity.
In early dementia there are steps you can take to remain at home and still take care of yourself for as long as possible. In fact, The Alzheimer’s Association offers some good suggestions:
- Contact the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in your local phone book. They can give references and phone numbers for many local assistance programs; Elder Care, and Federal assistance. You may qualify for Social Security or Medicare.
- Acquire and save all these phone numbers provided so they are readily available when you do need more help than living at home alone.
- You might also qualify for “meals on wheels.” In that case, you’re major meal for the day will be delivered to your door. Your church may offer a daily check-in to see that you are coping well. Or, they may arrange for transportation for any regular shopping trips, Doctor’s appointments, etc. Perhaps you can use a housekeeping service a couple days every week.
- Find someone you trust to help with your financial matters; A trusted friend, or Attorney, or Family member. It’s a good idea to consider now, while you are able to make good decisions, who would be best to handle your financial matters when you eventually need a Power of Attorney.
- Make arrangements to have all incoming checks automatically deposited into your bank account; social security, any pensions, etc. You may want to make an appointment with an Elder Law attorney. They can explain many aspects of allowing others to manage your money.
- Leave a set of house keys with a trusted neighbor or family friend
I can still remember the urgent call I received late one evening when Mom had taken trash to the dumpster and found herself locked out of her home without a key. There had been other incidents, but when Mom recounted running down the street, knocking on doors at 10:00 p.m. in her nightgown, that was the last straw.
I could not get that picture out of my head long after we’d brought Mom home to live with us. I knew then, Mom could no longer live alone. By the time she called me, she still had a 45 minute wait while I made the trip across town to pick her up.
So don’t wait till the last minute to make every decision. You might talk with your friends and family now, about the living arrangements you’d prefer when you can no longer live alone. If you can make those choices now, before the disease worsens–it will be easier to accept when you are no longer able to live at home. And more of the decision-making will be from your choices rather than left to other family members.
— A few things you might need if you live alone —