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How To Improve Dementia Care

How Can Equipment Help People With Dementia

THIS dementia tip can improve care and lower stress!

Equipment doesnt have to be expensive or complicated to be helpful. Even small, everyday items have been found to make a positive difference to people with dementia living in their own homes.

For example, products designed to help older people live well can also be very useful for people with dementia. These include mobility aids and equipment for maintaining continence. There are also many products designed specifically to address the needs of people with dementia, such as memory aids.

It is usually a good idea for the person to start using any new equipment as early as possible, so that they can get used to it being part of their daily routine.

Equipment to help with memory

There are a range of memory aids to help people remember important things.

  • Whiteboards are useful for writing lists and reminders.
  • Clocks with large faces are easier to read, and can display the date, and even the time of day.
  • Diaries and calendars are useful for keeping track of appointments and routines.
  • Equipment such as dosette boxes boxes with a separate pill compartment for each day of the week can help with taking medication. Dosette boxes are more suitable for people in the earlier and middle stages of dementia because the person needs to know what day of the week it is.
  • Automatic pill dispensers which can be set in advance may be more suitable for those with more advanced memory difficulties.

Equipment to help with household tasks

Equipment to help with walking and moving

The Current State Of Dementia Ltss

Service Delivery

LTSS can be provided by formal providers or informal caregivers. Informal care, which we refer to as family care, is unpaid care that is usually in the form of assistance from a relative or friend. The vast majority of LTSSfor all conditions, not just dementiaare provided by informal caregivers: as much as 80 percent, according to one estimate . Although timely and accurate detection and diagnosis of dementia do not always occur within the scope of LTSS, they are critical for effective planning for dementia care and ensuring the quality of dementia care. However, unofficial estimates peg the proportion of those with dementia who are formally diagnosed at roughly half . Furthermore, studies report that as few as half of those with dementia and their families receive support or guidance about its prognosis , and services available to them, following a diagnosis .

An important trend in the delivery of services by formal caregivers over the past 20 years has been a deliberate rebalancing of care away from such institutional settings as nursing homes and toward home- and community-based settings. This shift is reflected in the share of Medicaid spending for home- and community-based services , which doubled between 1995 and 2011 and is growing at a much faster rate than spending on institutional services. However, it is uncertain how this trend specifically affects dementia care.



A Look At The Numbers

Around 450,000 people in England aged 65 or older are currently diagnosed with dementia, with an additional 200,000 people estimated to be undiagnosed.

With a growing ageing population, the number of those diagnosed will continue to rise. Our latest impact report gives reasons to believe that, while there is always more to be done, the health and care systems understanding of dementia, and response to it, is improving.

NHS Digital data show that, between April 2018 and 2019, there was an increase in the number of GP assessments for dementia, in initial GP memory assessments and in referrals to a memory clinic.

Primary care GP data also show that 78% of people diagnosed with dementia had a face-to-face care plan review in the preceding 12 months. Additionally, an audit by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows encouraging increases in staff training, as recommended by NICE.

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Maintain A Support System And Practice Self

Nurses providing dementia and Alzheimer’s care often work for the same patients over long periods of time, becoming personally attached to them and their families. As their patients progress through the disease, nurses may experience a range of emotions—anxiety, sadness, guilt, anger, and depression.

Nurses need to manage their self-care by recognizing and managing these feelings. If left untreated, stress can lead to physical problems such as headaches and high blood pressure, or emotional and behavioral changes such as irritability and inability to sleep. If these kinds of symptoms emerge, nurses should consult with their doctor or a mental health specialist. Nurses can be proactive in managing their stress by routinely engaging in relaxation techniques and arranging with the patient’s family to provide temporary respite care when time off is needed.

Many caretakers manage their stress by connecting with other caretakers and joining professional organizations. The Alzheimer’s Association offers networking opportunities and caregiving resources. ALZConnected, an online community that provides access to resources, programs, and community services, also provides support and encouragement to caregivers.

Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

How assistive technology can help to improve dementia care

As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.

In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.

Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.

Connecting in the late stages of care

Also Check: What Is Senility

What Influences Qol In Dementia

Recent studies by independent investigators using a variety of measures have provided clinicians and researchers with a number of empirically derived factors that are associated with QOL in dementia from the perspectives of both the person with dementia and family caregivers., As these studies have accumulated, the factors that influence QOL have been remarkably consistent. For persons with dementia reporting about their own QOL, these factors include mood, engagement in pleasant activities, and the ability to perform activities of daily living . For family caregivers reporting about QOL of their care recipient, factors include mood, engagement in pleasant activities, physical functioning, and cognitive functioning. The overlap is obvious: positive mood and engagement in pleasant activities are essential features of good QOL for individuals with dementia additional components include preserved ADL functioning, physical mobility and health, and maintenance of cognitive ability.

Research Into Improving Quality Of Life For People With Dementia

While there is currently no cure for dementia, research has shown that there is much scope to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia through management of symptoms and providing a supportive environment. Person centred care is considered important. This involves developing a thorough understanding of the individual person and giving consideration to their cultural background, personal history, social and family networks and preferences for activities in designing their care.

Alternative therapies

There are a wide range of non-drug alternative therapies that may be effective for people with dementia. These include therapies aimed at improving understanding and communication as well as therapies aimed at managing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Therapies such as validation therapy, reality orientation and reminiscence therapy aim to facilitate understanding and communication, but may also have positive effects on anxiety and mood.

  • Validation therapy uses communication strategies to encourage people with dementia by accepting their reality.
  • Reality orientation provides information about the environment to orientate a person with dementia to their surroundings using aids and prompts.
  • Reminiscence therapy promotes memory and recall by reviewing past events, assisted by multimedia memory aids.

Keeping active

Managing behaviour

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Guidelines To Better Outcomes

NICEs first guideline on dementia was published in 2006 and the first quality standard in 2010, both of which have helped improve outcomes where they are needed the most.

Our latest impact report emphasises, among other things, the appropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medicines and the importance of lifestyle changes in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia.

There is limited public awareness that vascular dementia can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes. In a survey on public attitudes towards dementia, only 34% of people said they thought it was possible to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

They were also less likely to identify physical risk factors for dementia, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, than they were to identify non-physical risk factors.

Theme : Linking A Dementia Network

Simple way to improve dementia caregiver health and stress

Most GPs did not attend multidisciplinary primary care team meetings and did not have a local functioning PCT. A lack of coordination among community services was highlighted by many GPs as a challenge to providing care to patients with dementia.

It’s not well-coordinated and there’s no good communication amongst the different That doesn’t happen because there isn’t a primary care team working together where in an ideal world you’d sit down and discuss the patient and see what needs doing, what needs to happen.

In contrast to this, a minority of GPs were actively involved in their PCT and highlighted benefits to coordinated care teams.

Often times the primary care team might be the first place that somebody will air a concern about a patient. Perhaps they might be slipping a bit, we mightn’t have noticed it.

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Dementia Diagnoses Are Expected To Increase Over The Years

Alzheimer’s Disease International estimates that approximately 55 million people worldwide have some form of dementia. That number is expected to increase over the years as people live longer and healthcare improves.

Even though dementia is becoming more common, it is still going undiagnosed. The Alzheimer’s Disease International estimates that approximately three quarters of those living with the disease have not gotten an official diagnosis. Failure to get properly diagnosed leads to delays in treatment and makes it difficult to access valuable resources and support, such as at 24-hour home care for elderly with dementia, that can help improve quality of life.

As the number of people who develop dementia increases, it is important that we learn to identify the early warning signs of dementia.

Cope With Changes In Communication

As your loved ones Alzheimers or dementia progresses, youll notice changes in how they communicate. They may have trouble finding words, substitute one word for another, repeat the same things over and over, or become easily confused. Increased hand gestures, losing their train of thought, and even inappropriate outbursts are all common as well.

Even if your loved one has trouble maintaining a conversationor less interest in starting oneits important to encourage social interaction. Making them feel safe rather than stressed will make communication easier, so try to manage your own frustration levels.

Be patient. If your loved one has difficulty recalling a word, for example, allow them time. Getting anxious or impatient will only inhibit their recall. Gently supply the word or tell the person that you can come back to it later.

Be aware of your body language. Your loved one responds to your facial expression, tone of voice, and nonverbal cues as much as the words you choose. Make eye contact, stay calm, and keep a relaxed, open posture.

Speak slowly and clearly. Give one direction or ask one question at a time, use short sentences, and give your loved one more time to process whats being said. Find a simpler way to say the same thing if it wasnt understood the first time.

Maintain respect. Dont use patronizing language, baby talk, or sarcasm. It can cause hurt or confusion.

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Communicate In A Way That Will Not Distress Patients

As dementia progresses, Kriebel-Gasparro reminds nurses not to make assumptions about a patient’s ability to communicate and comprehend. The symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect each person differently from the early to moderate states. Patients need to be treated with kindness and support, using these communication techniques:

  • Maintain eye contact and direct one-on-one interaction.
  • Be patient and offer assurance when the patient makes mistakes or feels embarrassment.
  • Ask clear and simple questions requiring yes or no answers to minimize confusion.
  • Do not interrupt or argue.
  • Engage in conversations in quiet spaces without distractions.

The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care

HOPE Act aims to increase awareness of Medicare dementia care planning ...

Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.

As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.

For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.

Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.

Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.

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External Links Related To Above Page On Topics Like Music Art And Reminiscence Therapy

Discussions on use of music for persons with dementia

Most books on dementia care discuss the usefulness of activities that can be fulfilling for persons with dementia and their carers. You can see our list of suggested books at: Books on dementia and care or surf or for your specific needs.

Two books have been specifically recommended by some persons to look for ways to have interesting and fulfilling activities and create joy in the life of the person with dementia and the caregivers. The books have also received good reviews but have not been evaluated by us. These are listed below for you to evaluate and check suitability you can read the book descriptions, reviews, and samples on a site like Amazon to decide whether they would be helpful.

Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimers Dementia Provides a selection of user-friendly activities intended to help maintain the parents self-care skills, mobility, and socialization. The book includes an Assessment Form. While not all of the books over fifty activity ideas may help a caregiver, some ideas may be usable. Available on as paperback Opens in new window and as Kindle Opens in new window.

Planning Ahead When You Notice Signs Of Dementia

Even if all precautions are taken, dementia will continue to progress. As the disease progresses, your loved one will need more care, guidance and support. Planning for the future by working with a company like Home Instead that provides in home care for the elderly will not only help your loved one maintain their independence, but it will reduce your stress as a caregiver.

Home Instead is ideal for families looking for in-home Alzheimer’s care for elderly with dementia. The services provided are customized to meet the individual needs of the client. In the beginning stages of the disease, the senior caregivers can provide basic support and assistance. As dementia progresses and your loved one needs more help and assistance, additional services can be added. Since it is the same organization that you worked with, your loved one won’t experience a huge change to their routine.

Caring, or just being around, a loved one who is showing signs of dementia can be stressful and difficult. By working with an in-home senior care organization, like Home Instead, your loved one maintains their independence without placing the sole burden of care on you. The caregivers who provide care for senior with dementia help and assist your loved one so you aren’t doing all the work yourself.

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Changes To The Review Process

One change was made to the review process subsequent to the published review protocol. The expert steering group workshop was not held. However, emerging findings and the refined programme theory were shared with the with Alzheimers Society research network monitors who were volunteer representatives with experience of caring for family members living with dementia. They commented on the resonance and relevance of the inferences that contributed to the developing theory throughout the review process. Review findings were presented and discussed at a seminar on dementia-friendly healthcare with 75 participants, 19 of whom worked in hospitals. The findings are being taken forward for testing in a realist evaluation.


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