Dementia is a subject very close to my heart, as someone I love has recently been diagnosed with the condition. As she is still in the early stages of the disease and able to convey her wishes, the family has been doing everything possible to look into future care options with her.
One care plan which is very much at the top of our list is care at home, which would involve a full-time carer moving in with her and seeing she is supported and kept safe round the clock. Relatives of a dementia sufferer are rarely trained in dementia care and probably couldn’t offer the same level of care as a professional. Busy modern life means that most of us can’t be there 24/7, however much we might try to juggle things.
Dementia home care enable dementia sufferers to stay in their much-loved family homes for as long as possible. A dedicated carer would be able to help out with everyday tasks which may become harder as the disease progresses. People with dementia may slowly forget how to do the things we take for granted, such as dressing, washing, cooking and cleaning.
The stress of moving a dementia sufferer into a traditional residential care home can be enormous. Dementia sufferers really need one to one care from a familiar face. With the best will in the world, care home staff simply don’t have enough hours in the day to give each resident the time they need. A constant stream of new faces can make this a frightening and impersonal experience for those with dementia – even staff they see on a daily basis can feel like strangers the next time they come on shift.
Home care would mean a dementia sufferer could stay in their family home for the long term, keeping their familiar space and belongings about them. A live-in carer would be able to help the patient maintain some sense of independence, helping them to cook, clean and generally take care of themselves. As dementia sufferers are more at risk of accidents in the home, this option could give relatives greater peace of mind too.
It could also mean a patient would be able to keep their family pets. Many live-in carers are more than happy to help out with animals, as well as helping their patient stay physically and mentally active with walks and the many other hobbies they might have enjoyed over the years.
Dementia is probably the cruellest disease, slowly robbing a person of their memories and the ability to communicate. When a relative is diagnosed with dementia, most of us would want to care for them ourselves. That’s often an incredible burden on carers and not always the best option for the dementia sufferer. For that reason, care at home might be the most sensible move for both the elderly person and the wider family.
If you have any questions I would love to hear them in the comments below or on social media: @mummyconstant.