People who have dementia and live alone are at greater risk of social isolation and loneliness. Research, conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society, has found that 62% of people with dementia who live alone feel lonely compared to 38% of all people with dementia.
However, with a better understanding and better tools and services available, people living with dementia can maintain a greater degree of independence.
Below we will take you through 4 ways to help people with dementia live independently:
1. Understanding their physical needs
2. Understanding their emotional needs
3. Making their home comfortable
4. Emergency procedures
1. Understanding Their Physical Needs
Each person with dementia is unique and so is the situation in which they find themselves, meaning a diagnosis of dementia does not neccesarily mean that they are immediately incapable of caring for themselves. Enabling people with dementia to remain in the familiar surroundings of their homes for as long as possible is a worthwhile cause. However it can be very worrying for family and friends who may have the best intentions of caring for their loved ones but may not have the time to provide the care they need and deserve.
Are they safe?
While the thought of giving up their independence is often unpleasant for people living with dementia, it may be the right thing to do. Here are some things to look for that indicate your loved one may be suffering from dementia and may need extra support.
Signs of dementia:
• Disorientation to time and place – Issues remembering where they are or how they got there.
• Difficulty performing familiar tasks – Issues performing everyday tasks such as dressing or preparing food.
• Changes in personality – Issues with poor mental health, such as depression, anxiety or mood swings .
• Cognitive decline – Issues with memory, language, thinking and judgment.
A study by the University of California, San Francisco found that loneliness increases the risk of an untimely death by 45% among the elderly. Regardless whether or not our loved ones are confident they can live an independent life, it is vital to ensure deep sincere connections are made. It’s about finding ways to help nourish their sense of belonging and purpose. Even the most independent can fall victim to loneliness and the solitude that comes from living alone. Below are some tips to ensure your loved one’s emotional wellbeing is met and sustained.
Set aside time every week to spend time with your loved one. If distance is an issue, ensure you call for regular chats. Online tools like Skype can be greatly beneficial to their emotional well-being.
Encourage them to participate in hobbies and activities that they enjoy by organising for your loved one to attend local events and join local communities in their area.
Meaningful emotional contact is essential and giving them the ability to instantly contact their loved ones whenever they need them breaks down the feeling of loneliness and isolation.
Another study suggests that most falls in the home can be prevented with some fairly easy changes to the home, allowing your loved ones to safely maintain their independence. The best approach is to ask them what they think they need, however sometimes they may want to refrain from making changes if they don’t feel they need the help. In this instance, you need put yourself in their position and think about effective ways you can make their daily life easier.
Easy steps to improving your loved one’s home:
- - Consider adding more lighting to areas like the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom
- - Install hand railings and non-slip bath & shower mats to prevent falls
- - Ensure accessible chairs and bedding depending on your loved one’s physical abilities
- - Install easy to read clocks, large calendars will help to orient to time
- - Ensure hallways and stairs are kept free of clutter
- - Set reminders for remembering medications times
For caregivers, one of the biggest concerns is the possibility of an accident. Lethal health problems can arise if no one is present in the event of a fall. For seniors, it’s important that they can contact family or emergency services in the event of an medical emergency.
A cost-effective way of keeping your older relatives safe at home is a CPR Guardian. The CPR Guardian a lightweight device that can be worn on the wrist and detects when the wristband alarm button is pressed, alerting the caregiver.
The CPR Guardian is smartwatch designed to keep the wearer safe, independent and active at all times with a built-in emergency assist button, a heart rate monitor, mobile phone and GPS tracking.
Just like a phone but easier
Keeping in touch is easy with phone calls, voice messages and an SOS button in case of an emergency. Unlike most smart devices, the CPR Guardian is very easy to use and set-up.
Know the location of the wearer
The CPR Guardian is ideal for vulnerable people as it has the ability to track the wearer’s GPS location and their daily walking activity at any time
Built-In Emergency Assist Button
In the event of an emergency, the watch will be able to alert contacts when the SOS button is held down. It also updates the wearer’s location through the CPR Guardian smartphone app, available on iOS and Android.
The Guardian II constantly monitors the wearer’s heart rate and alerts you if your loved one’s heart rate drops below 30 beats per minute.
With today’s innovative approach to the way we stay in touch with via technology, caregivers and the vulnerable can have strong confidence in the future.
You can find out more about the CPR Guardian here.