Dementia Home Care
Dementia is not a singular disease itself. Rather, it’s a broad term that encompasses several types of progressive disorders with a wide range of symptoms. By far, Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent form of dementia with nearly 5.5 million sufferers in the United States alone. Other types and forms of dementia include:
- Vascular Dementia
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Huntington’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Mixed Dementia
Because of the complexity of dementia and the fact that multiple symptoms are typically present, 24-hour monitoring is often required, particularly in the later stages of these conditions. Recognizing the symptoms and staging early intervention such as professional dementia home care, therapies and medication can help delay the progression of dementia and even reduce current symptoms. Dementia patients usually suffer two or more of the following.
- Slow and unbalanced movements
- Trouble with sound reasoning and judgment
- Issues focusing and concentrating
- Complications with speech and communication
- Visual perception issues such as color blindness or failure to detect motion
- Memory loss
In the early and mid stages of dementia, some patients will have days where their need for care fluctuates. On ‘good’ days they may successfully attend to their activities of daily living by themselves and can perhaps tend to light housekeeping. However, on more challenging days, your loved one may need a full or part-time home caregiver for assistance for these tasks and other chores as needed. The goal of dementia home care providers is to help your loved one live safely and comfortably in their home where they tend to feel safer and experience less bouts of confusion and irritation.
Knowing when to seek outside help and where to find quality care can be challenging, as it’s essential to find a caregiver who’s experienced and qualified to handle the various and ever-changing challenges of dementia sufferers. We recommend seeking out Certified Dementia Care Managers or those with some form of licensure focusing on dementia care. This helps ensure that your caregiver is familiar with all stages of the disease, how it manifests and how to handle the symptoms.
Things to look for in a qualified dementia caregiver include:
- Certifications of competency in memory care and current best practices in dementia care backed by confirmed experience.
- The ability to lawfully administer medications, which may be pertinent in the final stages
- The willingness to initiate stimulation and activities for memory support based upon the patient’s current abilities and interests
- Experience in behavior management and the ability to calm patients without medications when possible
- The ability to provide a functional, supportive and safe environment that minimizes confusing noises and other stimuli that dementia patients are often sensitive to.
- One who aggressively recognizing new or worsening symptoms and is able to adjust routines to center on each patient’s unique needs.
Alzheimer’s Home Care Services
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and is a progressive condition that typically begins with mild memory loss. Initially, seniors losing keys or forgetting to close the door may seem harmless enough. However, as this condition moves into the middle and final stages, memory loss worsens and can lead to more dangerous situations. Some common incidents include leaving the stove on, wandering the neighborhood and getting lost, forgetting to take essential medications or to eat and lead to bouts of anxiety attacks during states of confusion. Agitation, hallucinations, sudden outbursts, suspicion and aggression also commonly develop in the later stages. Alzheimer’s home care services can be customized to meet patient-specific needs, regardless of the stage they’re in.
In-home care for Alzheimer’s patients can provide a much needed respite for caregivers in need of a break, and there are services that provide full-time memory care to ensure your loved one’s safety and security when you’re not able to. Having a caretaker come into the home helps ease stress on a loved one who prefers to age in place within their own home where they are comfortable. Studies indicate that those with Alzheimer’s Disease who view their environment in a positive way experience less anxiety, stress and a greater sense of overall happiness.
Care for your loved one can be as minimal or comprehensive as they need ranging from 1 hour a day, a few hours a week or full time. Here are a few services you can generally request from home Alzheimer’s care providers.
- Assistance with ADLs—personal hygiene, eating, dressing etc.
- Light housecleaning
- Basic household chores
- Running errands
- Meal preparation
- Appointment transportation
- Medication management assistance
However, it’s important for home Alzheimer’s caregivers to have the proper training to be prepared to handle the symptoms of this progressive disease, which is why you’ll want to find a provider with ample experience and education that includes one or more certifications in Alzheimer’s or memory care. Choose a home provider who understands the various stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and their symptoms. Most importantly, find one who also utilizes a person-centered approach to improve you and your loved one’s quality of life by:
- Encouraging social interaction and engagement to the patient’s level of comfort.
- Helping seniors remain calm and keeping them safe.
- Understanding how to minimize cognitive and behavioral symptoms and outbursts.
- Adapting care methods and surroundings as needed as the disease progresses.
- Offering family support and updates when necessary.