Living alone

If you have been diagnosed with dementia, and you live alone, this Help Sheet may be useful. It includes suggestions about how you can help yourself and who can assist you to continue living safely on your own.

Increasingly in our society people are living alone, whether by choice or circumstance. Many people will be living on their own when they are diagnosed with dementia, and will continue to live successfully on their own for some time. Here are some ideas that might help you if you are living on your own.

Ask for help

Most people value their independence, so asking for and accepting help can sometimes be very difficult. Family and friends are usually very happy to help if you let them know what it is you need. Their help can assist you to maintain your independence.

As well as family and friends, many community services can help you to stay
at home while you want to. These services can help in a variety of ways including preparing and delivering meals, cleaning and house maintenance, transport and social visits.

Jersey Alzheimer's Association has a 'Getting Help and Accessing Services' leaflet that is available from our office, phone 01534 723519, and by clicking the link below. Or ask to speak to your Community Support Nurse at the Memory Clinic, phone 01534 444830.

Consider your safety

Gas and electricity
You may want to arrange for automatic shut-off devices on electrical and gas appliances. These will turn the power off automatically after a period of time if the appliances are accidentally left on. Look out for new appliances that have cut-off switches. Jersey Gas will come to your home to give a free safety check and advice on gas appliances. Phone 01534 755500.

Smoke detectors
Everyone should have smoke detectors installed. Arrange for someone to check them regularly and install fresh batteries. You may want to consider having the smoke detector connected to the mains electricity. The Jersey Fire Service Community Safety Team will visit your home and give free advice on all aspects of fire safety. Phone 01534 445933.

Emergencies
Keep a list of emergency numbers written in large print by the phone. Include your address and a description of where you live. Consider getting a bracelet or necklace that is linked to a 24-hour emergency assistance service with all your details registered. Jersey Alzheimer's Association has a Helpcard that you can keep in your wallet, handbag or pocket that carries emergency phone numbers for who to contact if you get lost. These cards are available from the Memory Clinic, Parish Halls, or phone Jersey Alzheimer's Association office on 01534 723519.

Furniture
Arrange furniture simply and leave it in the same place. It can help to keep the house uncluttered. Remove loose rugs and seal carpet edges as these may cause falls.

Reminders
Leave yourself written reminders. Make sure you put reminders somewhere you will see them easily. Sticky notes, available at any newsagents, are good for leaving reminders to yourself.

If needed, ask a friend or relative to remind you of meal times, appointments and when to take your medications.

Keys
Have two or three sets of spare keys to leave with family members, friends or a trusted neighbour.

At night
If leaving a light on at night disturbs your sleep, a sensor light that automatically turns on when you move around might be a better alternative.

Stay in touch
It is important to maintain your social contacts. You may find that it helps to talk to others who have been diagnosed with dementia. Contact the Memory Clinic and tell them that you would like to join a group for people with dementia.

The future
If you are concerned about how you will manage as the illness progresses talk to the Social Worker or Community Psychiatric Nurse at the Memory Clinic about getting more home support and other care options for the future.

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Did you know?

Combined investment in dementia research is 7 times lower than spending on cancer research.