How Much Dementia is Too Much Dementia to Live Alone — and Who Gets To Decide?

Home Care Physical Therapy released mom from the walker today.  If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that Mom hates the walker.  She has complained about the walker.  She has rolled her eyes about using the walker.  And she has said she would not go out in public with the walker.  And yet this evening, she is still using the walker.   I’m not sure I will ever understand my mother.

She made plans with a friend to golf on Tuesday.  She told her that she expected to go home Saturday or Sunday.  So here we go…

Mom is getting stronger.  She is taking care of all her personal needs such as bathing and dressing.  She is capable of getting her own water, coffee and snacks, although, she much prefers for me to do that for her.   She hasn’t fixed her own meal since living here, and I know she wouldn’t fix much when living alone either.   I asked her this morning, ‘Mom, do you want breakfast before you get dressed or after?’  Her reply was, ‘oh just a cookie or two; something light’.    Just for the record, I have never fed her cookies for breakfast.  But still, if asked, that is her first choice.  Cookies for breakfast and lemon pie for lunch — no wonder she had gotten weak earlier this spring when she was living alone.

But her strength isn’t the issue.  It’s the dementia.  Now that I am closely tied to her daily life, I see the confusion.  My siblings see the confusion.  And now, her friends even see the confusion.  But Mom does not.  And to be fair, she probably is just as well as she was for the last six months she lived alone.  But should she have been living alone?  Probably not.  So how much dementia is too much dementia to live alone?  And who gets to decide?




4 thoughts on “How Much Dementia is Too Much Dementia to Live Alone — and Who Gets To Decide?

  1. Here in the UK a person can make their own decisions while they are still deemed to have capability. My sister and I can only see the benefits of mum being cared for, where there would be others around her and more encouragement to eat proper food, but mother has always been fiercely independent and we have to take account of her wishes, although she appears to be putting herself at risk. Anyway she has carers in twice a day to help her with her personal needs and hygiene and to make sure she takes her medication. My daughter remarked that she probably thinks they are just making friendly visits. And she also has her beloved cat.

  2. The conflict between the carer and the cared for is huge where dementia is concerned. Every healthcare professional recommends that my mum should not be living at home, but while she has the capability to decide, home is where she stays. My sister and I are practically becoming demented ourselves with the worry of her vulnerabilities: not safe with matches, frequent falls, calls to the emergency service for reassurance and now the fact that she also leaves her garden door open at night.
    Our mother definitely does not know best, but there’s nothing we can do.

    • My siblings and I have decided to trust the 2 doctors that say Mom cannot live alone. She has already lived with me for 4 months due to acute illness not related to the dementia. Her lease is up. It seems wrong to send her back to the apartment – only to fail. There is so much emotion right now. A new blog post soon…. but emotions are too raw to post right now. Lots has happened in the last few days. Thanks for reading my blog. Thanks for sharing. I read your blog as well although the caregiver role does not allow much leisure time to pursue blog posts. I really do appreciate your insight since you, too, are on this journey with your Mum.

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