Dementia is a life changing illness that causes neurological problems such as memory loss and difficulty with problem solving and reasoning. In later stages, it can also affect your ability to coordinate your movements and recognise people – even your loved ones.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, “Dementia is a word used to describe a group of symptoms including memory loss, confusion, mood changes and difficulty with day-to-day tasks”.
Although dementia mostly affects older people, it is not a natural part of aging. It’s most common cause is a build-up of proteins in the brain, which results in nerve cells dying, causing the brain to shrink. Dementia also affects many people under the age of 65 and is referred to as ‘early-onset or young-onset dementia’.
It is also worth noting that there are many different types of dementia. The most commonly diagnosed are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia. Many people also have more than one type of dementia at the same time – referred to as ‘mixed dementia’.
For people living with this illness, it is vital to maintain stability in their lives. Essential to achieving this, is a regular routine and familiar environment. In fact, the best place to care for someone with dementia is in their own home. Over their lifetime, people accumulate memories and form attachments to their possessions and environment. A dementia symptom such as memory loss often causes the individual to forget where he/she is. Being in a familiar environment helps with orientation and reduces anxiety.
We provide support for people suffering from dementia. Because of the need for consistency and familiarity, we will always try as best as we can to allocate as few Support Workers as possible, depending on the level of support required – whether it is a few hours a day / week or 24/7. This way, the Support Worker(s) will always be someone with whom the individual is familiar and can develop a relationship based on trust. Support Workers will provide emotional support and mental stimulation.
We can support people with dementia at any stage of the illness (early, middle or late stage) who live alone, as well as those living with a loved one (a carer). Quite often, we provide companionship support to allow carers to have some respite. We must not forget that this illness does take a toll on carers and relatives as well.
During the care needs assessment, the services required and level of support will be explored. A personalised care plan will then be developed to support the person with his/her required needs so that positive outcomes can be achieved. Friendly Homecare is registered with Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative. It encourages people to learn about Dementia and to put their understanding into practice.