Getting A Needs Assessment
If you find you need help to manage everyday tasks like washing, dressing or cooking, it’s advisable to get a needs assessment from the social services department of your local council.
Ideally, this assessment should take place face to face. It’s a good idea to have a relative or friend with you if you’re not confident explaining your situation. They can also take notes for you.
If the needs assessment identifies you need help such as a carer to help with personal care , meals delivered to your home , or a personal alarm, you will then have a financial assessment to see how much you’ll contribute to the cost of your care.
Caring For A Parent With Dementia At Home: 3 Must
Seniors with dementia can remain in their homes or with family caregivers longer if they have proper education and resources, according to the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimers Treatment Center.
In a Johns Hopkins study, about 300 elderly adults with dementia and their family caregivers received monthly consultations on home care for dementia patients from professionally qualified teams, as well as referrals and counseling on health, nutrition, activities, and more. A similar number of participants did not receive these resources. The families who had help stayed in their homes an average of 9 1/2 months longer. Self-rated quality of life for elderly adults and family caregivers in this group rose significantly during the study.
Before choosing to provide Alzheimers home care for a loved one, consider your ability to offer these three things that Johns Hopkins researchers noted were vital for success.
Safety precautions. Seniors with dementia often experience disorientation and begin to wander. A fall may result in hospitalization or immediate need for a long-term care facility. Safety needs change as dementia progresses:
Health care. Regular medical treatment and appropriately administered medication can help loved ones age at home longer. But some health conditions when coupled with dementia present real challenges. Consider these example health concerns when determining whether you can care for a dementia patient at home:
Resources For Caregivers Of People With Alzheimers Disease And Related Dementias
When a family member or loved one has Alzheimers disease or a related dementia, you may find yourself left with more questions than answers. These diseases change the way a person thinks and acts, and can be very challenging, especially for those in a caretaking role. Learning more about these diseases, what to expect, and what you can do can make a difference in a caregivers health and well-being and the well-being of the person youre caring for.
The federal government offers reliable resources on Alzheimers disease and related dementias and can connect you to important information about care and support. You can use the pages on this website and resources below to find more information from government sources. The information provided on these websites has been reviewed by experts in their fields. Health care providers, case managers, social workers, and nonprofit organizations may also be helpful.
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Can I Care For My Loved One At Home Through All Stages Of Dementia
Home care is often recommended by experts through end of life. However, every family and situation is different, so permanent home care may not always be possible.
Research shows keeping a loved one with dementia at home helps them be happier and live longer however, it is most impactful when introduced early. Its a preventive model to educate the family to be dementia smart and understand the disease progression and triggers down the road, Havrilla explains. But if the family is not able to give their loved one the care they need, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and assisted living residences are good alternatives.
Repetitive Speech Or Actions
People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.
- Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
- Try distracting with a snack or activity.
- Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
- Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
- You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
- Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.
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Warning Signs Home Care For Dementia Patients Isnt Working
Theres currently no cure for dementia. Some older adults age at home successfully for years or even decades with moderate dementia, relying on family caregivers for support. But its important to keep in mind that dementia is unpredictable, and care needs could change suddenly.
Also, dont forget that caregiver needs and abilities may change as well. Poor caregiver health is one of the most common reasons older adults with dementia move to memory care.
If dementia progresses to the point where any of the three must-haves safety precautions, health care, and stimulation cant be met, or the caregivers emotional or physical health is at risk, memory care may be needed. Exploring options early can help prevent stress and worry when the time comes for a change.
Contact our Senior Living Advisors if caring for a parent with dementia at home has become overwhelming, or if you believe your loved one isnt receiving the necessary resources to slow cognitive decline. Our senior living experts can provide more information about respite options, professional Alzheimers home care, or memory care in your area.
Preserving Your Loved Ones Independence
Take steps to slow the progression of symptoms. While treatments are available for some symptoms, lifestyle changes can also be effective weapons in slowing down the diseases progression. Exercising, eating and sleeping well, managing stress, and staying mentally and socially active are among the steps that can improve brain health and slow the process of deterioration. Making healthy lifestyle changes alongside your loved one can also help protect your own health and counter the stress of caregiving.
Help with short-term memory loss. In the early stages, your loved one may need prompts or reminders to help them remember appointments, recall words or names, keep track of medications, or manage bills and money, for example. To help your loved one maintain their independence, instead of simply taking over every task yourself, try to work together as a partnership. Let your loved one indicate when they want help remembering a word, for example, or agree to check their calculations before paying bills. Encourage them to use a notebook or smartphone to create reminders to keep on hand.
The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care
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.
Caregiving In The Middle Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia
As your loved ones Alzheimers disease or dementia symptoms progress, theyll require more and more careand youll need more and more support as their caregiver. Your loved one will gradually experience more extensive memory loss, may become lost in familiar settings, no longer be able to drive, and fail to recognize friends and family. Their confusion and rambling speech can make communicating more of a challenge and they may experience disturbing mood and behavior changes along with sleep problems.
Youll need to take on more responsibilities as your loved one loses independence, provide more assistance with the activities of daily living, and find ways of coping with each new challenge. Balancing these tasks with your other responsibilities requires attention, planning, and lots of support.
Ask for help. You cannot do it all alone. Its important to reach out to other family members, friends, or volunteer organizations to help with the daily burden of caregiving. Schedule frequent breaks throughout the day to pursue your hobbies and interests and stay on top of your own health needs. This is not being neglectful or disloyal to your loved one. Caregivers who take regular time away not only provide better care, they also find more satisfaction in their caretaking roles.
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Charities For People With Dementia
There are several dementia charities that offer advice and support.
One of the main dementia charities is Alzheimer’s Society. Its website has information on all conditions that cause dementia, not just Alzheimer’s disease.
It also has information and advice about living with dementia and finding help and support near you.
Alzheimer’s Society runs the Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456, which provides information and advice about dementia.
Dementia UK is a national charity that aims to improve the quality of life for people with dementia. It offers advice and support to families who are living with dementia through its Admiral Nurses, who are registered nurses and dementia experts.
Alzheimer’s Research UK carries out dementia research but also answers questions about dementia and dementia research, including how you and your family and friends can get involved. The charity’s helpline is 0300 111 5 111 and can provide help and guidance.
Age UK has advice on a range of topics, including advance care planning, benefits and choosing a care home, as well as information on local activities and services for those with dementia. It runs a free national helpline on 0800 055 6112.
The Carers Trust provides information and advice on its website for carers, including how to get support for yourself.
Carers UK is a national charity for carers, providing information and advice from benefits to practical support.
Caregiver Support Is A Phone Call Away
Talk to caring people for practical caregiving information and help finding local resources/services.
If the person you care for asks questions repeatedly, has trouble performing simple tasks, or forgets recent events, he or she may have a form of dementia.
There are several causes for dementia, so you should have the person diagnosed by a doctor.
Some dementia may be caused by factors that can be treated, such as drug interactions, severe diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, or depression. The most common kind of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. It is not curable.
There are many helpful resources for family caregivers coping with dementia, including:
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Tips For Caregivers: Taking Care Of Yourself
Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia takes time and effort. It can feel lonely and frustrating. You might even feel angry, which could be a sign you are trying to take on too much. It is important to find time to take care of yourself. Here are some tips that may offer some relief:
- Ask for help when you need it. This could mean asking family members and friends to help or reaching out to for additional care needs.
- Eat nutritious foods, which can help keep you healthy and active for longer.
- Join a caregiver’s support group online or in person. Meeting other caregivers will give you a chance to share stories and ideas and can help keep you from feeling isolated.
- Take breaks each day. Try making a cup of tea or calling a friend.
- Spend time with friends and keep up with hobbies.
- Get exercise as often as you can. Try doing yoga or going for a walk.
- Try practicing meditation. Research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.
- Consider seeking help from mental health professionals to help you cope with stress and anxiety. Talk with your doctor about finding treatment.
Home Care For Dementia Patients: What You Need To Know
Caring for a parent with dementia at home can be both difficult and rewarding. In the early stages of dementia, many people are able to live at home with relative independence like they did before their diagnosis. However, more help often becomes necessary as the disease progresses.
Learn what tools you need to successfully provide home care for dementia patients, including safety information, resources to support seniors and family caregivers, and warning signs you could need a new caregiving arrangement, such asmemory care.
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The National Alliance For Caregiving Brain Health Conversation Guide
The National Alliance for Caregiving offers support and resources for all caregivers, but dementia caregivers will find the Brain Health Conversation Guide, developed in collaboration with the Alzheimers Foundation of America, particularly helpful for navigating those difficult discussions about memory changes and cognitive health. Other guidebooks, including a Spanish version of the Brain Health Conversation Guide, can be found here.
Coping With Changes In Behavior And Personality
As well as changes in communication during the middle stages of dementia, troubling behavior and personality changes can also occur. These behaviors include aggressiveness, wandering, hallucinations, and eating or sleeping difficulties that can be distressing to witness and make your role as caregiver even more difficult.
Often, these behavioral issues are triggered or exacerbated by your loved ones inability to deal with stress, their frustrated attempts to communicate, or their environment. By making some simple changes, you can help ease your loved ones stress and improve their well-being, along with your own caregiving experience.
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Finding Dementia Care And Local Services
On this page
A person with dementia will need more care as symptoms worsen over time. Problems with memory, thinking, and behavior often present challenges for those with dementia as well as for their family members. Whether the disease is in early or late stages, there are support systems, resources, and services that can help.
While it can be difficult for some to admit they need assistance with care or caregiving, it is okay to ask for help. In fact, when it comes to caregiving, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do.
Explore the tips and resources below to find information about dementia care and local services.
Tips For A Healthy And Active Lifestyle For People With Dementia
Eating healthy and staying active is good for everyone and is especially important for people with Alzheimers and related dementias. As the disease progresses, finding ways for the person to eat healthy foods and stay active may be increasingly challenging. Here are some tips that may help:
- Consider different activities the person can do to stay active, such as household chores, cooking and baking, exercise, and gardening. Match the activity to what the person can do.
- Help get an activity started or join in to make the activity more fun. People with dementia may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities. But, if others do the planning, they may join in.
- Add music to exercises or activities if it helps motivate the person. Dance to the music if possible.
- Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several short mini-workouts may be best.
- Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too!
- Buy a variety of healthy foods, but consider food that is easy to prepare, such as premade salads and single portions.
- Give the person choices about what to eat, for example, Would you like yogurt or cottage cheese?
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Caregiver Action Networks Family Caregiver Toolbox
For helpful tips and information on every aspect of caregiving, the Caregiver Action Networks Family Caregiver Toolbox is a go-to resource. While its not specifically focused on dementia caregivers, theres plenty of information any caregiver can use, as well as resources on caring for a loved one with Alzheimers disease. CANs Care Community is an online support community with several forums including a group for Alzheimers caregivers, a forum for caregivers coping with depression, a group for caregivers to discuss tips and strategies for dealing with healthcare providers, and more.
Moving Into A Care Home
As the symptoms of dementia will get worse over time, many people eventually require support in a care home. Depending on their needs, this could be a residential care home or a nursing home that offers services for people with dementia.
If you’ve been caring for a partner or relative with dementia, this can be a difficult decision to take. Talk through your concerns with friends and family.
Remember that you will still be involved in the care and support of the person with dementia after they move to a care home. You may be able to arrange a trial period in a care home for the person you care for.
Your local council will have to carry out another needs assessment to confirm the need to go into a care home and a financial assessment to decide how much the person will have to pay towards their care home fees.
Residential and nursing homes are inspected by the Care Quality Commission . You can read their reports of care homes in England.
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