Can a Person with Dementia Live or Stay Alone?


There are many things to consider when thinking about whether or not a loved one needs to move or have in-home care, etc. Most of us want our loved ones to experience the most independence possible for as long as possible – but safely. It can be difficult at times to balance independence and safety and a careful evaluation is appropriate (and perhaps frequent re-evaluations as time progresses) to help make these types of difficult decisions.

The below questions can assist with identifying some safety concerns. Some of these items may only apply to individuals who are currently living by themselves rather than those who may be left alone for a short period of time while a caregiver is out. These questions are only a guide but if there are one or more problems noted in each category, then that could be an indicator that more supervision or a change in living arrangements is needed. For more information on home safety or our Medic-Alert/Safe Return program or for any other questions, call 800-272-3900 to speak with a counselor. More information on home safety is also available online at:


Safety Concerns

Does Your loved one: 

  • Have driving accidents, even minor ones?
  • Get lost driving or walking?
  • Burn pots on the stove or forget to turn off the burners or oven?
  • Forget to extinguish cigarettes?
  • Let strangers into the house or lock him/herself out of the house?
  • Forget to secure the house at night/when going out?
  • Demonstrate mood swings and suspicious/paranoid behaviors?
  • Know there are firearms or dangerous tools in the house and how to use them safely?
  • Know how to operate the thermostat and judge temperature correctly?
  • Have a recent history of being a victim of scams or crimes or any nature?

Personal Care

Is your loved one able to: 

  • Eat well-balanced meals and drink plenty of fluids?
  • Dress appropriately for the weather?
  • Safely bathe and use the toilet independently?

Other Tasks

Is your loved on able to: 

  • Keep up with the housekeeping duties and home repairs?
  • Pay bills on time, balance checkbook and use credit cards appropriately?
  • Shop for, store and cook food safely and correctly?
  • Use the phone and remember important phone numbers or where to find them?
  • Take medication on time and in the correct doses?
  • Recite their current address and phone number?



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