ZocdocAnswersWhen should a person with Alzheimer's have assistance?

Question

When should a person with Alzheimer's have assistance?

My dad has Alzheimer's disease, and he does pretty well for himself (he lives alone), but there are more and more scary incidents. Recently he got lost just a few blocks from home and had to call for help. At what point is it unsafe for him to live alone? How do we decide?

Answer

Many people have questions about the progression of Alzheimer's disease and when it is time to increase assistance to those with Alzheimer's. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your father's primary care doctor or gerontologist. Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain condition which is the leading cause of dementia in the world. The condition leads to progressive loss of cognitive function coupled with social impairment. Most older adults with Alzheimer's experience progressive decline to the point that it is no longer safe for them to drive, live independently, and the like. This decision is always a difficult one, and it should be taken in collaboration with the doctors who know your father and other members of the family. Your father getting lost is a very serious problem that probably signifies that some modifications to his living arrangements are likely needed. As always the management of your father's Alzheimer's disease is best conducted in collaboration with the doctor who knows him best. Setting up a family meeting between yourself, your father, other family members, and your father's physician is probably the best way to proceed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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