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Taking care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is not an easy task. Safety becomes your number one priority. Should I leave my loved one alone while I just run a few errands? How long is too long? The answer may seem simple, but facing reality can be a challenge. As a senior advisor at NorthStar, I have witnessed family members face the same decision whether or not to leave their loved ones home alone with Alzheimer’s. While I was at a family’s home one afternoon, assessing their mom, they decided they wanted to tour a facility nearby. The daughter and son thought it would be alright if they left their mom alone for an hour. I felt uncomfortable as I thought about the repercussions that could follow.
It may not come as a surprise, but individuals all over the world experience this disease differently. Some like to put items in the microwave that do not belong, such as metal. Some like to elope to a new destination or invite strangers into the home. My friend’s mother liked to cut everything with scissors whether it was string or fabric, leaving pieces all throughout the house. It is dangerous to allow someone with Alzheimer’s to remain at home alone. Just as you cannot leave a toddler alone because you are afraid of what will happen, it is the same for your beloved loved one. Stepping into their world can make all the difference when you are taking care of someone living with Alzheimer’s. Understanding they are not in misery can help ease your own pain; they are not experiencing it, so neither should you. By simply living in the moment and supporting your mom or dad is the best thing you can do. Accepting the fact that your parent, sibling, or loved one can no longer care for themselves is heartbreaking, but know there are always options out there to help get through this difficult period.
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