Dementia is a condition that affects the brain and can lead to memory loss, difficulties with communication, and problems with spatial awareness. As it progresses, people with dementia will need more care from their family members or caregivers to manage day-to-day tasks.
Alzheimer's is the most widespread form of dementia, affecting 50 to 75% of diagnosed people. Other common types of dementia include vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Dementia is devastating for those afflicted and their families, and it can be a struggle to provide the level of care needed. Often a family member will sacrifice their own health as they try to meet all the needs of their loved one, leading to burnout.
One solution that many people consider is live-in care for dementia patients. This form of dementia care provides around-the-clock support, providing peace of mind in knowing that there will always be someone available to help when needed. The goal of live-in care for dementia patients is not just to provide support but also to help the patient maintain as much independence as possible while improving the quality of life in general.
Let's explore some reasons why hiring a professionally trained dementia care assistant is beneficial both for people with dementia and their loved ones.
One of the biggest benefits to live-in care compared to other care services is the level of freedom someone with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia maintains. A home carer provides assistance to the person with dementia, helping them deal with daily living activities such as eating, walking, and bathing. This makes them less dependent on family members or friends and also gives them more time to themselves which they can spend doing things they enjoy.
Allowing a person with dementia to maintain independence as long as possible not only will enable them to feel good about themselves but is beneficial in extending their life expectancy.
Many people are reluctant to give their loved one's independence because they fear that it will make them vulnerable. However, research has shown that allowing dementia patients to live as self-sufficiently and independently as possible can improve their physical and emotional well-being. The key is to find a balance so that safety is not compromised while encouraging independence in areas where appropriate.
Dementia patients need to have some level of independence to remain active participants in their lives instead of becoming passive observers whose mental health deteriorates over time as they are cared for by others all day long. When caring for someone with dementia, the goal should not be to take away everything they have but rather ensure that they can still enjoy what remains without being overwhelmed by the responsibility.
A trained live-in home caregiver can help the patient remain active in making decisions and contribute to their surroundings even if they cannot do so on a completely independent basis.
Living With Dignity
As the disease progresses, patients may lose their sense of dignity and be prone to depression or even aggression. The best way to help those with dementia maintain dignity as long as possible is by giving them professional, personalised care.
A trained and experienced caregiver will know how to deal with the emotional issues that someone with dementia is facing and can help them to maintain a positive outlook. A home care professional will also encourage the dementia patient to engage in activities that they enjoy because these can keep them focused on something other than what they may perceive as a loss of control due to the disease.
Without home care, it can be a challenge to maintain hygiene and grooming. It may be difficult to get the individual to bathe or brush their teeth as often as needed due to confusion or forgetfulness. When home caregivers are around, they can help ensure that the patient's needs are met regarding hygiene and grooming.
Care that Adapts to the Dementia Patient
The stages of dementia are the gradual decline in cognitive and physical abilities that happen as a person progresses through three phases. Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, usually starts with mild cognitive impairment followed by a moderate stage and progresses to more severe stages as time goes on. Every person with dementia experiences different symptoms, but some are common across all stages. A professional home dementia caregiver will know and understand to change their approach as they progress through these different stages.
Providing Social Interaction
The caregiver offers a companion to the person with dementia, who will provide them with the social support they need. They can spend time together watching television or taking a walk through nature. This not only strengthens the bond between home carer and their client but helps foster both physical and emotional health.
Companionship is a hugely important part of life. It can be easy to feel isolated when living alone or a spouse has passed away. Companionship becomes more important than ever when compounded with the symptoms of dementia, which can often result in depression and anxiety. In addition to providing company, specialised dementia home caregivers are trained in specific communication techniques and tricks to stimulate conversation and ensure the person is understood.
Dementia is a progressive disease that worsens over time, and with the progression, patients can become less aware of their surroundings. Some studies suggest that familiar surroundings are best for dementia patients because they feel more comfortable in an environment where they have memories or feelings attached to it. It has been shown that being surrounded by memories from one's own home can improve cognitive function in people with dementia while also reducing loss of memory and confusion.
Individuals with dementia can also become agitated and confused when they are in an unfamiliar environment. It is best for them to be around people, objects, and places familiar to them, which can help with memory recall and reduce anxiety. Research has also found that when those with Alzheimer's are in their own home or community, they are less likely to forget who they are or where they live.
Living in a familiar environment can also reduce the risk of falls, making it much safer than a care home. In addition, a trained home caregiver can provide valuable advice and recommendations on what equipment can be used to support safe movement around the house. Having 24-7 home care will give you the peace of mind that there is always someone at hand to assist and if a fall does occur, they are close by and trained to deal with such circumstances.
People with dementia have a better quality of life when they follow routines. Those can be anything from what time they take their medication to getting dressed and going for a walk every morning. Routines must stay consistent to help reduce confusion and anxiety while allowing them to maintain an independent lifestyle. When creating a routine for someone with dementia, the most important thing is to ensure it's person-centred and relevant to their interests, abilities, and personality. One of the benefits of live-in care dementia care is that it can be tailored for the individual, unlike a care home where the environment isn't conducive to this personalised routine.
Family and Community
Despite being surrounded by many people of similar age and many staff, individuals who move to care homes often feel lonely and isolated. This is even more so with people living with dementia, who can become confused and depressed in this environment and might find it difficult to make friends. They are much happier surrounded by family, friends or a community that they know. Even trips to the local shops can be reassuring, and the home caregiver can also organise visits to family or social events nearby.
The world is a scary and confusing place for those with dementia, especially if they are moved to new, unfamiliar surroundings. In contrast, as you have discovered, remaining at home in the familiar environment that they are used to has many benefits for dementia patients. At-home care services provide those with dementia independence, safety and one on one specialised, personal attention.