How To Live Alone With Mild Symptoms of Alzheimer's

Some people with early Alzheimer's disease live alone, either through desire or necessity. While this is not recommended for everyone, the following steps are provided for someones who wishes to live on his own for as long as possible. Some basic changes to your home environment can make living alone safer and simpler. Living alone should only take place with physician approval and an adequate support system.

Address Safety Concerns

Step 1

Consider the basic safety concerns that must be addressed within the home. Lower the water heater to 120 degrees. Eliminate obvious tripping hazards, such as electrical cords or scatter rugs. You may wish to permanently unplug the stove and install a new microwave oven if you do not have one. Remove guns and any similar weapons from the home.

Step 2

Set up an emergency communication network. Sign up with an alert system that provides you with a personal alarm on a necklace or similar device. Purchase a cell phone if you do not own one and keep it in your pocket at all times except for bathing. Ensure that you are fully familiar with its operation and set numbers of neighbors, family and friends to be quickly dialed.

Step 3

Develop a policy on opening the door to people you do not recognize. Keep a list on the inside of the door of people you can safely admit and a reminder to yourself to call a family member if someone else wants to come inside. Install a peep hole or a security chain so that you can see who is outside without opening the door.

Create Effective Reminders

Step 1

Purchase a large calendar to keep on the kitchen table or living room table, where you will see it often. Place birthdays and important dates on it and add physician appointments as they come up. Add everything you can think of, from days to pay bills to a weekly time to throw out old food. Place dates on the calendar such as when to take out the trash, when to do the laundry, and when to make important phone calls. Mark each day off the calendar at the end of the day. Keep a notebook handy to write down daily notes of things you do not want to forget, such as groceries to purchase, things to tell your family or tasks to do when you feel like it. Purchase a timer to use when cooking or engaging in any task that requires you to return and finish steps. Either leave the timer at the location you need to return to, or keep it in your pocket.

Step 2

Create cards to place in areas that remind you of things you need to do often. Write notes to yourself with a large magic marker that you can easily see regardless of whether you are wearing glasses or are in dim lighting. On the inside of the front door, you may want to place a reminder to wear a coat, carry an umbrella, lock the doors, or take the keys. If you have a pet, create a card to remind you to provide food and water and let them inside and outside if needed. Cards around the house can provide a reminder of where you keep your glasses, or a reminder to run the dishwasher.

Step 3

Organize your medications. Purchase a container that allows you to set up a week's worth of medicine and keep your medicine in the kitchen, with a cup for water. Install a large, easy-to-read clock in the kitchen and in at least one other place in the house as a reminder to take your medicine.

Develop a Support System

Step 1

Know the names and telephone numbers of one or more nearby neighbors who can assist you in an emergency. Give the number to your family members so that they can contact the neighbor if you do not answer the telephone.

Step 2

Develop a schedule of visits from family members or friends who can check on you regularly. Allow them to provide transportation to the doctor's office, grocery store, department store or pharmacist if needed. Ask them to monitor your home and personal upkeep to ensure you are eating properly and taking good care of yourself.

Step 3

Enlist hired services when needed. Consider having someone keep your lawn, do your laundry, clean your house, run errands, sit with you or assist you with grooming. You may want to have home health services--people who can check on your health and nutritional status on a regular basis.

Tips and Warnings

* Discuss your plans with family members. Ask for their guidance or assistance when needed.

* Be cautious about who has access to your financial information. Never allow a stranger or acquaintance to see your checkbook or bank records. Do not indicate how much money you have to anyone outside of close family.

Things You'll Need

⁃ Calendar
⁃ 2 large clocks
⁃ Timer
⁃ Alert system
⁃ Cell phone
⁃ Door security chain or peep hole
⁃ 6 large blank cards
⁃ Magic markers
⁃ Tape
⁃ Notebook
⁃ Pen
⁃ Microwave oven
⁃ Medicine container system


* Alzheimer's Society: Living Alone

* Alzheimer's Australia: Caring for Someone Who Lives Alone

* University of Iowa Department of Nursing: Signs to Watch for in People Who Live Alone or Who Are at High Risk
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