Is it ok to leave people with dementia alone?

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by kimbo55, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. kimbo55

    kimbo55 Registered User

    Jun 2, 2015
    1
    I have just visited the societys website for the first time and registered, as my 89 yr old Mum has had Dementia for a few years. My 93 year old Dad is still alive and although quite fit for his age, has heart problems, does quite well looking after her. My sister and I both work full time and spend a lot of our spare time looking after them both. Obviously, my Dad has a need for a break and we are very worried about my Mum being left alone. She can get into enough trouble when Dad is In!! I was amazed to see on the website that the opinion was that it is ok for people with Dementia to be left alone. I completely disagree! Mum has already set fire to a microwave, tried to boil a full kettle of tea bags instead of water, left the tap running and flooded the kitchen, let a pan boil dry and almost set it on fire, locked herself out of the house in the early hours of the morning, had a bath and could not get out of the bath, to name a few and Dad was in the house on some on the occasions!! We have put certain measures in to place. She is not allowed to cook any more and so far she has remembered this rule and the doors a locked at night so that she cannot exit, although this is not ideal, in case of fire. How then can it be safe for them to live alone and the only important thing mentioned in the article was loneliness. Mum gets lonely in the house when Dad goes out of the room because she forgets he is still in the house!
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,533
    Female
    Scotland
    If my husband cannot see me then he assumes I am gone and will have his hat and coat on in a flash. This means I do not have a minute to myself unless he is at day care. Therein lies the problem for some people who are trying to have a life while both warder and prisoner.

    I could not leave him by himself because he wanders and cannot find his way back. Everyone has to assess risks according to the circumstances.
     
  3. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,661
    Salford
    Hi Kimbo, welcome to TP
    I think the answer is some people can be, some can't and people will move from one group to the other. Early stage could leave my wife but in those days she could still make herself a drink and follow what was happening on the television. Now it's a different story, as you say if I'm out of sight for more than a couple of minutes she'll try and get out or walk up and down the hall asking where everyone is.
    So I doubt there's a definite answer each person is an individual and their condition will change over time.
    K
     
  4. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    6,967
    Brixham Devon
    I feel the same. In the early days I could work part time, then I couldn't! Then I couldn't even leave Pete in a room on his own. People with mild dementia can be left but as it progresses it gets more and more difficult.

    Loneliness is a problem; my OH used to feel lonely and he also used to speak about having 'lost' himself but at that stage he could easily make tea/coffee and was safe in the home. He could go to the shops and dress himself. If your Dad wants to go out without your Mum-and you're right he does need time for himself- could your Mum go to daycare or have a sitter in?

    I think people on this Forum who DO leave someone who is suffering from Dementia have weighed up the risks involved, however, sometimes an unexpected crisis happens and that's when they decide to get more help.

    Take care

    Lyn T XX
     
  5. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    12,237
    Female
    England
    From what you say about your situation right now Kimbo you are right, it would not be safe to leave your Mum on her own.

    For the first four years my husband had dementia he continued to work and drive and he was fine. Year 5,6 and 7 he was not safe and was never left on his own.

    I think we have to make a judgement as to how our loved ones are managing. The problems come when the wrong decision is made by the carer. A couple of good days does not mean other days will be ok too. We have to constantly monitor the situation and for me I would rather be over cautious than be cutting a bit of slack.
     
  6. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,272
    Male
    North Manchester
    "...Mum has already set fire to a microwave, tried to boil a full kettle of tea bags instead of water, left the tap running and flooded the kitchen, let a pan boil dry and almost set it on fire, locked herself out of the house in the early hours of the morning, had a bath and could not get out of the bath..."

    I would consider that all these events would classify her as 'a vulnerable adult at risk to herself and/or others' - the kettle full of tea bags could have easily caused a major fire, to be dealt with by an 89 year lady with dementia maybe helped by a 93 year old man with heart problems.

    As such the LA have a legal duty of care to protect her.

    The LA also have a responsibility towards your 93 year old dad as a carer, they may also have a duty of care towards him as a vulnerable adult.

    Contact Social Services and ask for a Community Care Assessment for both of them and a Carer's Assessment for your dad.

    Keep a written log of 'events' as evidence.

    If they are being unhelpful make it clear (in writing) that you would consider them responsible if any harm came to your mum as a result of their inaction.
     

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