Tips to Help You Live Alone With Early-Stage Dementia

Early-Stage Dementia

An individual in the early stages of dementia may be able to live alone and entirely autonomously for some time, particularly with the help of family and friends. Many individuals with dementia in the early stages can continue carrying out their daily tasks.

However, they may find it more difficult to manage independently as their symptoms worsen. Therefore, it is critical to plan for a future when completing everyday activities will become more challenging.

While worries about their capacity to manage are understandable, individuals might be able to live independently for an extended period with the appropriate assistance and adaptations. Also, adopting new coping mechanisms earlier will give you more time to get used to the changes.

If you or a loved one has recently received a diagnosis of dementia and are concerned about living alone, here are some tips to help you with it. The tips in this article will assist you in managing memory and cognitive changes, planning ahead, and maintaining an active and involved lifestyle.

1. Make Everyday Tasks Easier

  • Organizing your day: Note down events, appointments, and to-do lists in a journal or calendar. Moreover, you can monitor your actions using smartphone or computer applications. You may want to employ a digital clock that shows the date and the day of the week besides the time.
  • Paying bills: You can effortlessly pay your bills on time and accurately without writing checks by setting up automated payments. Several companies and banks provide this service without charging extra. Do not forget to consult a reliable person for assistance with bill payment. After looking over your financial documents, they might ask you about anything unusual.
  • Taking medications: Many products are available to assist with drug management. Try a weekly pillbox, one that vibrates or sounds an alarm to remind you when to take your prescription, or one that has an automated drug dispenser. These products are available online or at pharmacies, but setting them up can require assistance. You might also try using an electronic reminder system, like an alarm that you set on your computer or phone or an app for smartphones.
  • Shopping for meals: Generally, various stores offer grocery delivery services for a nominal cost. You can also order fresh or frozen meals online or over the phone. Meals on Wheels America provides low-cost or free food delivery services to your home, along with the option for a brief safety inspection and visit. Senior facilities and religious communities are additional potential meal suppliers. If you cook for yourself, think about choosing easy-to-prepare foods, like those you can reheat in the microwave.
  • Utilizing transportation: If you drive, you could notice that you’re more likely to get lost, become confused, or need directions more frequently than before. Consult your physician about these changes. Take the concerns of your family and friends about your driving seriously. Some give up driving and become adept at using the bus or carpooling. Volunteers, senior ride services, and neighbors can also assist with transportation.

2. Implement Home Safety Modifications

  • Eliminate unused objects and extra furniture: Now is the moment to get rid of anything you no longer need, including furniture, appliances, clothes, and decorations. Think about distributing goods to loved ones or donating in-good condition goods to a charitable organization. Some organizations will collect goods from your home.
  • Remove anything that may cause you to trip: Look for other items you might trip over, move electrical cords, and tidy up throw rugs. Living alone may become challenging due to injuries and disabilities resulting from falls.
  • Install an automatic shut-off switch on the stove: This switch can help prevent a fire if the stove is mistakenly left on. Have your stove disabled if necessary. Consider heating meals in a microwave or cooking equipment with an automatic shut-off, such as a slow cooker or rice cooker.
  • Enhance bathroom safety: Put non-skid mats in the bathtubs and showers. Don’t forget to add grab bars to the shower or bathtub. Keep a flashlight next to your bed in case you need to use the restroom at night. Install a nightlight in the bathroom or corridor. Set the water heater to 120 °F. In addition to protecting you from burns from boiling tap water, this setting could also help save money!
  • Invest in safety gadgets to notify others in an emergency: Consider personal safety devices such as GPS tracking systems, emergency call buttons, and fall monitors. Consult your physician or social worker about setting up an alert system to inform loved ones if you fall, get sick, or lose your way.
  • Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and operational: Install these detectors in or near the kitchen and all bedrooms. Set up reminders for testing the batteries every six months.
  • Seek assistance with organizing and maintaining your home. Ask a family member or hire an expert to assist you with tasks like clutter management and home repairs. Labeling cabinets and drawers will help quickly and easily locate fire extinguishers, flashlights, and other safety supplies.

3. Prepare for the Future

  • Get your legal and financial affairs in order as quickly as possible: Create or amend your durable powers of attorney for financial and health care and your will. Call your attorney if you need legal counsel. Tell someone you trust where you have put the documents or give them a copy.
  • Know the in-home care choices available to you: Friends and family might be able to assist with daily tasks. Consider hiring a personal care assistant or home health care aide if you require more assistance. See how much these services will cost and if your insurance will cover any of them. Check with your insurance providers to learn more about potential benefits.
  • Plan for care when you can no longer live independently: You will probably require more daily assistance and attention at some point. Could a caregiver or family member move in with you? Or perhaps you could live with them? Other possibilities include assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and professional home care.
  • Think about your possibilities if you work: Consider sharing your diagnosis with your employer and discuss your work adjustments. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers employing more than 15 workers should reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. It could entail dividing up big tasks, setting reminders, or adjusting your schedule.
  • Learn about possible disability benefits if you can no longer work: Individuals with dementia could be qualified for disability compensation via Social Security, veterans’ benefits, or private disability insurance (if you have previously acquired this). People with diseases such as early-onset Alzheimer’s and various other types of dementia can receive disability benefits claims reviewed quickly thanks to a Social Security program called Compassionate Allowances.

4. Strengthen Your Support System

  • Identify family and friends who can assist: Discuss your diagnosis with them and find out if they can come to see you frequently or serve as a contact in case of emergency. Jot down and store their phone numbers and other contact details somewhere visible, like your wallet, cell phone, or refrigerator door.
  • Consider telling a trusted neighbor about your diagnosis: If someone appears lost or is wandering, neighbors are frequently the first to notice and may be able to assist them.
  • Consult a healthcare provider: Your primary care physician, neurologist, or other specialist can monitor changes in your memory, thinking, and capacity to carry out daily duties. Request a care plan from the doctor and jot down any instructions. Inquire with your doctor about house visits or telemedicine appointments if traveling to the doctor’s office presents challenges. Additionally, the office might be able to suggest geriatric care managers, who assist senior citizens in finding the resources they require, or home health care providers.
  • Discover the resources and assistance available at home and in the community: Social service organizations, neighborhood charities, and Area Agencies on Aging can offer or recommend in-home assistance, transportation, and meals to support you in staying home. Call Eldercare Locator to find out about services available in your region.
  • Stay linked to technology: You can communicate with family and friends via social media, email, and video calls via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Purchasing things that are simple to operate, like a phone that has dialing pictures, might be a good idea. Start using the technology you want to use as soon as possible so you can become accustomed to it and create a routine.
  • Talk to people who share your situation: Inquire with a social worker or your doctor’s office about local support groups or those run by nonprofits. Numerous Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers, funded by the National Institute on Aging, provide events and programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, as well as their carers. There might be a memory café in your neighborhood where individuals with dementia and those who care for them can interact and engage in activities.

5. Look After Your Physical and Mental Health

  • Exercise: Being physically active does not require you to spend a lot of money or join a gym. Walking around the neighborhood, gardening, and even moderate housework can be beneficial. Experts advise doing strength training exercises like lifting weights and cardio exercises like walking.
  • Eat healthily: Consuming nutritious food promotes good health for all individuals. However, it is especially critical for those with dementia.
  • Get quality sleep: Dementia frequently affects a person’s sleeping habits. However, you can do some things, including sticking to a regular sleep pattern, to get a decent night’s sleep.
  • Be mindful: The mindfulness technique, which entails focusing awareness on the present moment without judgment, is one strategy for managing stress and lowering anxiety.
  • Stay social: You can enhance your quality of life and learn to deal with challenges by making meaningful connections with other people. Organize a support group, have regular conversations with loved ones, or engage in hobbies with your spouse.


  1. Tips for Living Alone With Early-Stage Dementia. National Institute on Aging. Accessed: 13th May, 2024.
  2. Living Alone With Dementia. Dementia UK. Published Online: March, 2024. Accessed: 13th May, 2024.
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