Specialist dementia care
Dementia progressively affects someone’s ability to think, plan and communicate. With time, it can be impossible to live safely without support. Dementia causes confusion, forgetfulness and restlessness, making the individual vulnerable to falls and household accidents. Without help, their health and wellbeing are at risk. Specialist dementia care can provide the support needed to continue living in the comfort of their own home.
hometouch was founded by Dr Jamie Wilson, a former dementia specialist in the NHS, who grew frustrated with the lack of high quality care for people with dementia.
Dementia is a progressive condition, for which there is currently no cure, However, specialist care can support function, maintain health and safety and help people live independently for longer.
Each individual experiences dementia differently, but whether the condition is caused by Alzheimer’s, vascular disease or Parkinson’s there can be characteristic symptoms and patterns of progress. Experienced dementia carers will understand the problems that the individual will face, the challenges facing the family and will help them live with dignity. There are many things to consider:
Home sweet home
When someone has lived in one place for many years, moving around it, finding things, rooms and places becomes instinctive. It’s easier to get things done in a familiar setting- that’s especially true for people living with dementia. Moving to a new, alien or unfamiliar place can be distressing and confusing. Dementia care at home can help people maintain independent function for longer.
People can spend a lifetime enjoying meals, snacks, activities and TV programmes to their own schedule. A consistent daily routine helps people sleep better and function more effectively, especially in individuals affected by Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.
In a care home, the timetable is set by the facility rather than the individual. It can be a challenge to adapt to new routines. Home dementia care can preserve the familiar pattern of your loved one’s day, which is comforting and reassuring.
Living safely with dementiaOver time, the brain damage of dementia has an increasing impact on memory and planning. As the disease progresses, people may leave taps running, the hob burning loss or the front door open- potentially endangering their home and their health. A carer can help your loved one stay safe; keeping a close eye without being intrusive.
Communication and conversationStruggles finding the right word, losing the thread of the conversation and lacking confidence – dementia can make communication tricky. Too many people withdraw socially and can become socially isolated. A specialist dementia carer can provide a friendly face and a listening ear.
There are tricks and techniques that help communication. Specialist carers speak slowly, using simple words and short, clear sentences. Non-verbal communication is key for people with dementia. Talking at their level, maintaining eye-contact and using non-threatening gestures are all important ways of helping them feel calm and understood.
Conversation can stimulate, get the brain cells firing and increase wellbeing. It’s all too tempting to interrupt or dismiss a story that’s been heard many, many times before. However, relating stories is good for people with Alzheimer's. A dementia carer should listen carefully, without correcting so that the individual feels valued. We all like to feel that we’re interesting and worthwhile, people with dementia are no different.
Support with self-care
Dressing, brushing teeth and getting dressed seem easy, but self-care requires a complex combination of skills. It can be an increasing challenge for people with dementia to look after themselves; as a result they may look can dirty, scruffy or inappropriately dressed. A dementia carer can provide a discreet reminder, a helping hand or full support for all the activities of daily living, according to your loved one’s evolving needs.
Reablement is care that can help people relearn the skills of daily living that may have been lost because of dementia, it can help improve function, increase self-esteem and improve quality of life.
Reablement can benefit people with dementia, especially if an illness, injury or hospital stay has triggered a sudden deterioration in function. Personalised care builds on an individual’s abilities and supports them to relearn a skill like tooth brushing. It’s often given as an intense, short-term package of care.
Management of medicationMany people with dementia are also affected by other chronic conditions. Even when fit and well, it’s easy to get confused with drugs and doses. With dementia, forgetting tablets or overdosing can be a real issue. A carer can help to manage medication regimes, ensure the right medication is taken at the right time, and order new prescriptions so that they’re never caught short.
Restlessness and wandering in dementia
In more advanced dementia, wandering can be a problem. People may leave the house because they're confused, lonely or seeking a place or person from their past. When someone’s function and awareness is impaired, wandering could put their wellbeing and their life at risk and it can be a frightening and frustrating problem for family and friends.
A dementia carer can share the burden and ease the family stress. They can keep a watchful eye, attend to their needs so they’re less likely to wander, and suggest simple strategies to make the home safer.
Behavioural disturbance in dementia
Personality change can be one of the most upsetting and disturbing features of dementia. Some people become silent and withdrawn, others may become flirtatious, paranoid or aggressive, which can be distressing for those close to them.
Specialist dementia carers understand that this is part of the disease and will sensitively support without judgement.
Incontinence in dementia
Seventy percent of people with dementia will develop incontinence, usually in the later stages of the disease. The bladder and the bowel can be affected, making laundry, cleaning and maintaining skin health a challenge.
Specialist carers have the training, expertise and experience to help people with complex care needs. They can protect your loved one’s skin and keep them clean, dry and comfortable.
Continuity of care
Dementia causes forgetfulness and problems with communication. Many people living with the disease are upset and confused when meeting new people. Having carers come into the home puts the individual in a vulnerable position. It’s important for care to be consistent and given by someone who is familiar, reliable and trusted. hometouch carefully vets all carers; performing DBS checks and following up references.
hometouch offers an affordable introductory service, allowing you choice and control over the right carer for your loved one. Alternatively there is a fully managed, regulated service with access to hometouch’s in-house nursing and dementia specialist expertise.
Caring for someone with dementia can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting for family carers. As dementia progresses, the cycle of sleeping and waking becomes increasingly disturbed. People affected may be restless and wakeful at night, it’s difficult for family carers to keep their loved one safe and maintain their own health and wellbeing.
Professional dementia care from hometouch can provide the rest and respite you need. We’re experts in the care of people with dementia and the maintenance of brain health. Choose from carers that are suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced, so that you can rest knowing your loved one is in safe hands.