Prairie Doc: At home with dementia

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By Richard P. Holm, MD

In the U.S. there are almost five million people with mild to moderate dementia. Studies show that about 70% of these people are at home, either alone or with a caregiver (often a spouse). If more people with mild to moderate dementia could stay home safely, this would save Medicare and Medicaid a great deal of taxpayer money. More importantly, this would provide those affected by dementia with their preferred environment. Indeed, it is important to allow all people the chance to stay at home whenever possible.

Recent Johns Hopkins research studied more than 250 people with dementia and found that 99% of the demented and 97% of their care givers had at least one unmet need. The foremost unmet need was safety issues which increased risk of falling, such as poor lighting in walkways.

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