In home care for dementia patients
In home care for dementia patients is an attractive option for those living with dementia.
It allows them the comfort of their own home while still receiving critical support they need.
Johns Hopkins researchers report that dementia patients who have the opportunity to receive care in the home are happier and healthier.
But this comes at a cost to the caregiver who are adult children with a full time job.
They can burn out without the help of their friends and relatives.
Fortunately, with proper care and support, many seniors with dementia can remain in their homes for longer periods of time.
Providing quality care requires knowledge about the disease itself and how best to manage it.
What is dementia
Dementia is a term that describes severe cognitive impairment which disrupts everyday living.
It is a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder that affects millions of senior citizens around the world.
Alzheimer is the leading cause of dementia and affects around 60% to 60% of all Americans.
Dementia is a general term for the decline in mental ability that can affect language, memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive functions.
It usually occurs with aging, but it can also be caused by diseases or injuries.
Dementia symptoms may include confusion, difficulty focusing, disorientation and memory loss.
Dementia is not a single condition and can have several causes.
Different forms of dementia have different symptoms and treatments.
As dementia progresses, it can lead to cognitive decline, impairing the ability to think, remember and make decisions.
Dementia can also have physical effects, cause mobility issues and health complications like falls and malnutrition.
Over 80% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia receive care from family members or close friends.
According to the CDC, these unpaid carers provide over 18.5 billion hours of care.
Caring for a parent with dementia at home can be an emotionally difficult yet rewarding experience.
Here are 3 top tips to prepare yourself for what you are taking on.
1. Education and understanding
Education is a key element of providing proper care for a person with dementia.
It involves training family members and other caregivers to identify dementia symptoms and understand the disease progression.
More importantly, they learn how to effectively communicate with those affected by this disease.
By educating themselves on the subject, care providers can help their loved ones better manage their condition.
There are numerous online courses tailored specifically for those caring for a loved one with dementia.
These courses cover a range of topics such as safety in home care, understanding behavior changes of individuals with early and late stage dementia.
Other important resources include learning effective communication strategies with dementia patients.
There are also online databases at a variety of sites offering state-by-state listings of local senior care service providers.
The list includes those specializing in dementia home care services.
Some organizations offer specialized classes which focus on specific areas such as nutrition or skin care for people with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association has educational materials that provide detailed information about dementia caregiving.
They offer tips on how to cope with common challenges associated with caring for someone suffering from this condition.
There are also support groups available where family members can meet others who are going through similar situations and share their experiences and advice.
Autonomy and right to self-determination
Education is essential in providing the best possible care for individuals suffering from dementia.
This should be done in a respectful way that respects the individual’s autonomy and right to self-determination.
It is important to create a safe environment for family members and caregivers to openly talk about their concerns without fear of judgement or criticism.
Check Elder Care and Dementia Care Services in Your Community
It is important to find elder care and dementia care services in your community that could help you care for your senior loved one with dementia.
Some assisted living facilities in your area offer support for daily living and everyday activities.
This allows people with dementia to live independently for as long as possible.
The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) provides a list of local organizations that offer services for elders and caregivers.
It offers local resources on how to find the information you need, for example:
ii. long-term care ombudsmen
iii. adult day service centers
iv. home health agencies and respite programs
v. local nursing home details
You can search by location or type of service to find agencies near you that provide comprehensive in-home care services.
i. meal preparation
ii. bathing and grooming assistance
iii. light housekeeping tasks like laundry or vacuuming
iv. home safety checks and medication reminders
v. recreational activities
2. Connect with a dementia care coordinator
Connecting with a dementia care coordinator is essential for ensuring the safety and well being of loved ones with dementia.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Coordinators can help family caregivers develop an individualized plan for care.
They also connect them with resources for education and support.
Continuing care retirement communities offer tiers of specialized in-home services.
They provide other assistance such as coordinating medical care and medical appointments.
Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM)
The Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM) program is designed to help individuals living with dementia maintain their cognitive abilities.
Through this program, persons with dementia are connected not only with a CTM trained therapist but also a dementia care coordinator.
The coordinator also provides support to the patient and family members/caregivers throughout therapy sessions.
The Alzheimer’s Association also provides access to care coordinators who can assist family members develop plans for managing challenging behaviors related to dementia.
Care coordinators may also be able to direct families to community resources that provide socialization opportunities.
They can also recommend educational programs to learn more about caring for a person with dementia.
A care coordinator can help family members understand their rights and entitlements under applicable state and federal laws.
The use of a care coordinator has been shown to be associated with improved outcomes among persons receiving home based health care services.
These services have been found to reduce caregiver burden and improve quality of life for both the person living with dementia and their caregivers.
3. ‘Psych yourself up’ to be a dementia caregiver
Psyching yourself up for the role can be a challenge.
It is also an opportunity to make a huge difference in the life of someone you care about.
It’s important to remember that while there may be difficult days, there will also be rewarding days as well.
To help you get ready for the role of dementia caregiver, here are some tips:
1. Build a support network
Getting connected with others who have experience caring for someone with dementia is invaluable.
It’s helpful to talk to relatives, friends, healthcare providers, or join social networks.
Join support groups to find resources and advice from those who have faced similar challenges in the past.
2. Develop strategies for challenging situations
When faced with a difficult situation, it can help to take a step back and reflect on how best to approach it before taking action.
Take deep breaths or counting down from 10 can give you time to compose yourself.
This gap between thoughts lets you think through your response calmly instead of reacting impulsively out of frustration or fear.
3. Prioritize self-care activities
Caring for a loved one with dementia is emotionally draining.
It’s important that you do not to neglect your own physical, emotional, and mental wellness needs.
It means getting plenty of restful sleep; eating nourishing meals throughout the day.
Include regular exercise and engaging in spiritual or meditative practices for your mental health.
Reach out for help from professional counselors if feelings become too overwhelming or unmanageable on your own.
4. Treat your caregiving like a new job
Some caretakers consider dementia care an integral part of a job.
During these situations time and care are required and changes may be necessary.
Like with most jobs, plan for focusing on short breaks.
This isn’t an easy gig.
There will be good and bad days.
Just remind yourself you are doing the best that you can to give the care needed.
As the disease progresses, many families will need to consider getting skilled care that nursing homes provide.
It’s ok, you’ve done your best.