Making Hard Decisions

When caring for individuals with dementia, caregivers must address many challenges. When is it the right time to limit someone’s independence, and how do you ease the trauma when you do?

Some Indicators to Consider 


  • Frequent falls
  • Having trouble performing essential self-care like preparing meals and eating
  • Leaving the oven on and other kitchen mishaps
  • Unable to administer medications accurately
  • Unable to maintain home appropriately

Confiscating the Keys to the Car

  • Getting lost driving to familiar places
  • Having accidents or close calls
  • Receiving tickets or other traffic violations
  • Trouble reading or recognizing street signs

Taking Financial Control

  • Failure to pay bills timely and accurately
  • Overdrafts of bank accounts and unsafe credit card use
  • Impulsive, inappropriate purchases

Some Approaches to Consider

  • It takes a village. Enlist the help of family members, friends, physicians, spiritual advisers, and others for help and support.
  • Allow as much control as possible in areas where safety is not an issue.
  • Listen with empathy. Be respectful. Let them know you’re on their side.
  • Remain calm and patient in the face of strong emotions and resistance.
  • Discuss and execute living will and power of attorney documents before health issues arise.