Most of the major concerns family members feel regarding the care of their elderly parents or relatives, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, are related to safety. Caretakers worry that if someone isn’t accompanying their loved one at all times, these may be some of the consequences:
- Going out and getting lost
- Wandering about aimlessly
- Confusion about where they are
- Forgetting to take medication
- Forgetting to eat or engage in self-care
Fears of this kind are some of the main reasons that family members and caretakers may choose to place an elderly loved one into assisted living. It is safer for the patient to be monitored at all times to ensure that they are taking care of themselves and are safe. If no one is able to stay with them on a regular basis, these will be ongoing concerns.
In spite of this, many elderly patients, even those suffering from conditions which may cause them to unknowingly place themselves in danger, wish to retain their independence. For these patients, assisted living can be extremely difficult if they are not allowed to run errands or even take walks alone. Some elderly patients who are lucid for at least part of the time may come to resent the protectiveness of their family members or caretakers. Elderly people often enjoy their independence and embrace opportunities to go out unassisted or take care of themselves without the help of another person. This has been nearly impossible for patients of Alzheimer’s and dementia until recent advances in technology have made independence a possibility.