Being left alone with Alzheimer’s

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by Wilsoner, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Wilsoner

    Wilsoner New member

    Jul 6, 2019
    Good afternoon. I am after advice on whether my Father should be left alone as he has Alzheimer’s. My Mother is leaving him either in the house or sitting in the car for up to 3hrs. I don’t think this is right as he gets confused easily but please correct me if this is acceptable to do. Thank you in advance.
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    It depends how he reacts to being left alone. Is he contentedly watching TV or getting upset searching the whole house for her? Does she lock him in?

    Being left to sit in a car for three hours is not ok in my opinion - it's a small restricted space that can become hot and stuffy very quickly. What if he steps out to look for her?

    Does your Mum get any help? Has she had a needs and carers assessment from Social Services? She shouldn't have to cope alone, and her tendency to leave him on his own does not suggest cruelty to me but having to run errands or go shopping without any support. She should ask for a day centre or befrienders so she can go out without having to compromise his safety.
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    Hi and welcome to DTP @Wilsoner,

    It’s not the best thing to do to leave someone with dementia alone for a long period of time. It also dependent on how far advanced the person is. Safety always has to be considered. I would’ve said for the first three years of my husbands journey with dementia he was fine to be left alone for a couple of hours. He was capable Of reading, doing small jobs or even cooking simple meals. My husband had Alzheimer’s for 11 years so three years was not long into his illness. By the beginning of year four he certainly was not safe to leave alone. I think you’ve just got to think carefully about their ability to do things and remain safe. My friend’s husband was not safe to be left alone just months after his diagnosis.
  4. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    It really depends what stage he is at and what difficulties he has. In theory there is no problem with leaving someone with Alzheimers at home for a few hours as long as they are not likely to do something unsafe or become anxious. Before my mother moved to a care home, she had carers for 6 hours a day and was alone for the other 18 hours. Not ideal, but no harm came to her. But there does come a point when it is no longer safe.

    Leaving someone in the car for 3 hours in unacceptable IMO, regardless of Alzheimers. I can't think of any reason you'd do that.
  5. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    I think the scenario with the car is unacceptable. I wouldn't do that with someone who was not in the grip of dementia. But as others have said, it depends on the stage really . My mother-in-law was on her own for many hours even with carers visiting. It got to the point where she was agitated and aggressive on her own, so couldn't be left at all .
  6. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    My personal opinion is that three hours alone in a car is not acceptable.

    However, as others have said, as far as being alone at home in general goes, it really does depend on what stage your father is at and how content he is.

    When my husband was first diagnosed I had no worries about working full-time while he stayed home or took himself off places. That approach remained suitable for a couple of years and from then on I had to gradually spend less time away from him to make sure he was safe.

    I started working half days at the office and then the rest of the day working at home. After that my number of working days gradually dwindled down the years as my husband's needs increased.

    I wouldn't do things any differently now - in those initial years of diagnosis it was important for my husband to retain as much independence as he could. He would not have thanked me for stepping in too soon.

    It will vary from person to person as to what is needed and at what stage.
  7. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    I also think that 3 hours in the car is unacceptable but my dad lived on his own and was quite content with his own company. I often used to bring dad to my house and after about three hours of company he was ready to go home to his own space.

    When he got to the later stages this changed and he started to get anxious when he was alone - looking for the family and upset and worried because we weren’t around. This was part of the reason he needed full time care for the last few months of his life.
  8. Palerider

    Palerider Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    North West
    I woudn't leave mum alone in a car for more than 5 mins. She would become immediately anxious and likely get out of the car to look for me. At home its different, she's happy in her own home that she has lived in for many many years.
  9. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hello @Wilsoner
    and welcome to DTP

    you don't give much detail on your parents' circumstances, and you say up to 3 hours, so that could be some minutes in the car while your mother pops in to a local shop
    sounds to me as though this has so far worked for your mother, she will be weighing up the risks and know how your father copes when on his own
    I wonder what options your mother has ... maybe she doesn't know what support there may be available to her

    perhaps you can help her by suggesting online grocery shopping ... can you or someone visit with your father while she has an hour or so to get out by herself

    if there hasn't already been an assessment of your father's care needs, let your mother know about this and that he has a right to an assessment and she has a right to a carer's assessment ... might you contact their Local Authority Adult Services for them to make arrangements ... from the assessment a care package may be suggested eg some home care visits, time at a day centre so your father is looked after and your mother has time for herself, a befriender to visit to be company for your father while your mother has a break, and respite

    there are some helpful pages on the AS site
  10. Wilsoner

    Wilsoner New member

    Jul 6, 2019
    Thank you to everyone for your comments. Sadly I was embarrassed to put all the info on regarding my situation. My Dad was diagnosed 2yrs with Alzheimer’s and lives at home with my Mam in a bungalow that me and my partner purchased for them to make caring for my father easier as previously they were in a terraced property with steep stairs. I actually found my Dad in the car as I drive past and sat with him after realising my Mam was in the bingo! We have now fallen out about this and I will focus my time and my Father and simply have no time for her. She has always been selfish and my father did pretty much all tasks and now he is unable but she hasn’t changed her ways.

    I know there is nothing you guys can do for me regarding her attitude but it was a help to hear about the care assessment which I could do on his behalf and then the thought a professional could call on the times I couldn’t. Thank you again for your replies and I am glad not to be alone on this.
  11. Palerider

    Palerider Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    North West
    We are all learning on this journey whatever stage we are at, some days are better than others -take care
  12. Dosey

    Dosey Registered User

    Nov 27, 2017
    Aw so sorry to hear your situation.
    I cared for my husband for 7 years before he went into care April this year.
    The first few years he was able to be left at home while I was at work. On my early shifts he would get up late morning was able to walk the dog and visit his mum. On my late shifts I left at 1.45pm and our son came at 4pm and took him to his for dinner with his family. They stayed across the road and would bring him back at 10pm.
    As the disease progressed husband would leave doors wide open and leave the house. I would never lock him in or leave him in my car.
    5 years into the illness he couldn't be left alone. Our 4 sons helped out until I Took early retirement from my job last August.
    We managed to lead a fairly happy life going out to cinema, meals even bingo. He didn't play bingo would never have went before illness, but he was happy to have a meal and soft drinks while I played and meet friends. Could your mum take him into bingo with her, this would allow her to do Something she enjoys and keep your dad safe?

    Don't have any answers, plenty of good advice on here.
    Hope you find a solution for your difficult situation and your mum and dad get the best care.
    Rose x
  13. Sarahdun

    Sarahdun Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    It is very hard to adjust to the progression of the disease - and also super hard perhaps to understand what it is like to be (or to become) a 24/7 carer if you have never done this before.

    Perhaps you could look after your Dad every now and then so your Mum can go out and do whatever she wants by herself for few hours? Or find somebody else willing to give her a break?

    Basically I agree with others here - she needs to share the care and have some time to herself. Getting a care assessment may help with this, but even if it doesn't she still needs help and regular time off.

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