13 Oct Living With Dementia at Home
A Guide to Living With Dementia at Home
“Dad always made us promise that we wouldn’t ‘put him in a home’ when he got old. We used to make jokes about it, before we knew how dementia can devastate the life of a family. All the time we were struggling I thought it was a binary choice: family care or care home. I didn’t even know that dementia care at home was an option.”
Families struggle to care for parents and grandparents who have dementia, when they don’t have the resources or support they need to cope. Many lack a detailed diagnosis regarding the kind of dementia they’re working with, and have no clear prognosis. At Bedfordshire Supported Housing we are committed to offering the very best professional support to dementia sufferers. Our aim is to make living with dementia at home a viable option for everyone involved.
What are the Symptoms of Dementia?
Dementia is a term used to describe various brain disorders which have in common the gradual ‘loss of brain function’. Most diagnoses occur in people aged over 65, and the symptoms will be slightly different for each person. They are likely to include:
- Problems with memory – difficulty retaining new information, recognising familiar faces or places, remembering names, or where things are.
- Cognitive function – confusion as to the present time and place, lack of concentration, restlessness and inability to make decisions.
- Communication – difficulty finding the right words, repetition of the same information, reading and writing may be affected.
- Mood and Energy – social events may be too tiring to contemplate, anxiety or depression may set in, there may be mood swings.
No two dementia patients are the same but, whatever their symptoms, they are very likely to become worse with the passage of time.
“It was my mom and me who were the main carers for my grandma when her dementia got bad. I think mom would have ended up ill if it hadn’t of been for BSH carers. They were a lifeline because they knew what to do, so we were able to stop ‘inventing the wheel’ and mom got some downtime which she badly needed.”
Is Living With Dementia at Home a Good Option?
Living at home, in a familiar setting, can be beneficial for people coping with dementia. Advantages include having friends and family close by, and being able to continue to be a part of ongoing family occasions. The introduction of new routines, people, and places can be disorientating and scary for people with dementia, and this is avoided where one-to-one care is gently introduced to the home environment.
Person-Centred Dementia Care
Beds Supported Housing dementia care is person-centred. This means that rather than applying an existing model of care to an individual with dementia, we tailor the care to their specific needs. The word ‘individual’ is important to us; at no point do the people we work with become a cluster of symptoms. At every stage, our aim is to honour their dignity, their desires and wishes, and their unique character.
Dementia care often involves detailed discussions with family members who have provided care to date. We always make it clear that we don’t wish to ‘take over’; instead, we’re there to support them and maintain their well-being, whilst they continue in their role. A key role we play is helping with forward planning for the progression of the symptoms, rather than reacting once they’ve occurred. We can also offer guidance on the process of applying for home care funding.
“I was impressed that the carers that looked after mum knew that she’d been an English teacher, and took an interest in her life. They had incredible patience – something I’d just about run out of – and you could see that there was a relationship there – it wasn’t just a job to them.”
What Kind of Dementia Care is Available?
Whether you just need someone to pop in at mealtimes to help out, or you require live-in care 24 hours a day, Bedfordshire Supported Housing can provide it. Our experienced, fully trained professional carers are qualified to deal with:
- Facilitating social interaction, or hobbies
- Helping with mobility
- Administering medication
- Ensuring that personal hygiene, and dietary needs are met
- Cooking, cleaning and maintaining the house
- One-to-one live in care
The support package we put in place will change over time, but every adjustment will be discussed fully with the whole family. Maybe we’ll suggest that moving the bed downstairs might be helpful, or offer a short period in a residential care setting whilst adjustments to medication are made. We never lose sight of the person we are caring for, and everything we do is to achieve the best possible outcome for them.
Would you find it useful to talk to someone at Beds Supported Care about the dementia care we offer? For specialist guidance, call 01234 954415