How do you know when it's no longer safe for your parent with dementia to live alone?


My Dad, was diagnosed with mild dementia in january 2012. Since then it seems there are more bad days, but overall he's still pretty independent. He still lives alone, though I'm there everyday from about 4 in the afternoon and I stay til he falls asleep, and if it's a "bad" night, I stay all night. He's been sundowning, but once he's sleeping he usually sleeps through the night. He doesn't know me as his daughter anymore, but knows that I am karen and that he can call me anytime, which he does.actually sometimes he thinks there is 2 of me. It seems with the shorter days now, it's making the sundowning worse, some days he gets confused etc, as early as 3 in the afternoon, but has not tried to wander. At what point should he not be left alone anymore?

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Since he's sundowning, that would indicate to me that he's closer to a stage when wandering could be an issue. The problem with wandering is that there's no warning. He'd just decide to go find a friend or a place he used to know and take off. You sound like you are more than doing your share now, as it is. I'd definitely look into in-home care or a memory unit in assisted living - for his sake and yours.
He could leave the stove on and start a fire or be at risk in other ways, as well as wandering.
Take care,
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You are now at a point where he shouldn't be left alone anymore.

"Usually sleeps through the night" is not always sleeps through the night. Calling you is excellent, but how can you be sure he'd remember every time it is appropriate? I'm sure you know, dementia gets worse.

You are doing a great job of trying to keep him safe. Unfortunately his periods of being unsafe cannot be guaranteed to be limited to occur after 4 pm.

It is time to bring help into the home, or to look into a memory care unit for him. Better now than after a crisis strikes.
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karen, I agree with what Carol and Jeanne wrote. Your father needs someone with him now. People with dementia often do things that are not safe, such as leaving the stove on or confusing their medications. Since he does not recognize you as his daughter anymore, he must be in a fairly late stage of dementia. I don't know if you would prefer to have someone in the home with him or find him a place in assisted living. It is sad when it comes to making choices. We want them to be able to enjoy independent living, but we don't want them to be a danger to themselves or neighbors. Big hugs coming your way.
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