Is Living at Home Hazardous to Your Health?

It’s estimated that 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, and about 70% of them live at home. For most seniors with dementia, staying at home is a common goal; however, it can pose certain risks and prove challenging for family caregivers.

A new study of more than 250 Baltimore residents (average age of 83) who are aging in place was published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  Findings from the study were as follows:

  • 90% of those surveyed need to address safety issues to remain at home, including things like fall risk management and wander risk management. Read our blog post, “Making Our Home Safe for Dad” for details about making your home safe and accessible.
  • More than 60 % had general health care and medical needs that went unaddressed. Many in the group had not been to their primary care physician in the last year or addressed issues like dental, vision and hearing problems.
  • About half of the participants did not have meaningful activities in their lives, including even simple activities around the house (e.g. folding towels, helping to make a salad, setting the table, etc.), so they did not feel engaged in daily life.

The researchers also found gaps in legal issues and advanced care planning for 48% of people surveyed. Several were still designated as having power of attorney for a spouse who was now their caregiver. To their surprise, the researchers found that people with the mildest dementia and least difficulty functioning had more unmet needs than people with severe impairment.

At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. (www.VirginiaElderLaw.com), our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors and individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at our Fairfax Elder Law office at 703-691-1888 or at our Fredericksburg Elder Law office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

 

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