There may come a time when the person living with dementia may no longer be able to be cared for at home and requires additional help. The decision to place a person in long-term care often comes after a long period of time caring for them. Care homes can be unfamiliar and frightening for both people affected by dementia and their family members. In order to bridge the gap between people affected by dementia and those closest to them, it is important to maintain effective communication and understanding between all the parties involved. In achieving these aims, the person living with dementia is supported with a better all-round experience of the transition.
Is living at home no longer an option?
As the stages of dementia progress, it may become increasingly necessary to provide constant care and support to the person in question. As time goes on, these care needs may intensify and become impossible to manage. If this time comes, it is very important to consider alternative care options that will be more suited to the person’s requirements. In order to come to a decision, it may be helpful to discuss the situation with the person themselves, surrounding family and care specialists. This will allow you to determine whether a change in care is required. The following questions may help to facilitate the process:
- Is the person with dementia becoming unsafe in their current home?
- Is the health of the person with dementia or my health as a caregiver at risk?
- Are the person’s care needs beyond my physical abilities?
- Am I becoming a stressed, irritable and impatient caregiver?
- Am I neglecting work responsibilities, my family and myself?
- Would the structure and social interaction at a care facility benefit the person with dementia?
Even if you planned ahead with the person for a move, making this transition can be a stressful experience. You may feel guilty and wonder if you are doing the right thing. It is important to remember that these feelings are common. Families who have been through the process feel it is best to gather as much information as possible and do their best to move forward. It is important to note that, regardless of where the care takes place, the decision is about making sure the person receives the care needed.
Level of Care
In order to ensure that the person in question is cared for appropriately, it is necessary to decide on the level of care required and assistance required. If the person is moved into a care setting that does not meet their needs and causes stress, they will not be able to adapt to their new living arrangements and their condition could even worsen. There are various long-term care options to consider, it is important that there are open discussions with the person in question. Although they may struggle to understand the details of the transition, they will still be able to communicate their preferences. Below is a list outlining the types of care homes available and the assistance levels that each offers:
- Residential– Provide 24 hours a day support in a ‘home style’ environment. Activities and community events are an important part of daily life.
- Nursing homes– Have registered nursing staff on duty and manage nursing and medical needs. For example, End of life care, pain relief.
- Care homes specialising in dementia – Have staff specially trained in Dementia care and often a dedicated dementia wing or floor for residents living with dementia.
When making this transition, it is important to pay attention to the details involved. There are numerous aspects that you may want to consider when finalising the necessary arrangements. Giving thought to these areas will help to increase the satisfaction felt by both the person in question and their significant others:
Programs and Services
Consider whether there are a lot of opportunities for the person to engage at the new care accommodation. It may be the individual’s preference to socialise with others and integrate themselves into the environment. Therefore, it is important to assess what the culture at the care home is like and judge whether it suits the preference of the person.
It is also important to consider the food options that are provided by the care home and the commodities that are supplied. If the person enjoys making their own food and is currently capable of doing so, it may be best to relocate them to a place that offers personal kitchen facilities such as an oven, microwave, toaster etc.
Policies and Procedures
This is another important area to assess when relocating, as the rules of the care home may not align with the preferences of the person in question. For example, the routine offered by the accommodation may be more regimented than the person would like, resulting in a compromised quality of life.
Naturally, you will want to home the person in the best accommodation possible. Unfortunately, however, this is not always possible due to the available finances. Before committing to a selected care home, it is important to make sure that you will be able to make the payments comfortably.
Overall, the objective is to make the person in question as comfortable and secure as possible with their new accommodation. Therefore, it is important to make sure that their circumstances are as tailored to their preference as possible.
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