Because everyone’s experience of dementia is different, and the symptoms vary from person to person, there simply isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan of action when it comes to care. If your only knowledge of the condition is what you’ve seen in movies and on TV then you could be forgiven for thinking that a patient’s deterioration is always rapid and all-encompassing; but that’s not always the case. In fact, with the right support system in place, many people living with dementia are able to live independently for several years
In the very early stages of dementia most people can continue to live in their own homes and enjoy life pretty much the same as they could before their diagnosis. In fact, it is encouraged that for as long as you can do so, continue to keep doing the things that are important to you. When things start to become a little more difficult you may benefit from some in-home care to assist you with things such as housework or preparing meals.
Chances are there will come a time when someone living with dementia going into a care home becomes unavoidable, but until that time, the benefits of living in their own home are undeniable.
Further reading: Caring for someone with dementia
A Familiar Environment
This is the big one isn’t it; it goes without saying that moving to a new place surrounded by new people isn’t going to be of huge benefit to someone in the earlier stages of dementia – particularly if they’re still maintaining a lot of independence. Being cared for in your own home is going to be a lot less disorienting for someone living with dementia than moving into a care home.
And it isn’t just about being in familiar walls. Those living with the early stages of dementia will want to keep their independence for as long as possible, and this will include getting out and about in the local area that they know well; walking in parks they are familiar with, popping to the shops they frequent, and going to their regular place of worship.
Further reading: Explaining dementia to children
A daily routine can be just as soothing as familiar surroundings. It’s important for someone who is living with dementia to keep to their regular pre-diagnosis schedule as much as possible in order to reduce stress and confusion. In-home care uses personalised care plans for all clients (whether they have dementia or not), but for those who are living with the condition these care plans are even more essential as patients thrive on familiarity and repetition. Chores and personal care will be performed at set times to provide clients with an ingrained routine which will help them to retain a sense of understanding of what is going on around them, even as their condition worsens.
Carers Are Trained in Dementia Care
All in-home carers are highly trained so that they are able to assist with day-to-day care and provide companionship and compassion, and when it comes to caring for those with dementia, training will also involve learning methods by which to stay engaged, manage unpredictable behaviour and communicate effectively.
Carers whose clients live with dementia will also be trained in breaking activities down into smaller steps to make it more manageable, as well as having extra safety training to reduce the risk of falls or injuries.
These skills allow an older person who has dementia to live longer in their own home, providing peace of mind to family members who might not be able to visit due to work commitments or not living near. This one-on-one individual care is a huge benefit to someone living with dementia because over time their carer will become a familiar face, which is just as important as familiar surroundings and a regular routine.
Continuing With Hobbies And Activities
Another benefit of an older person continuing to live at home after they have been diagnosed with dementia is that they can continue to enjoy past activities for as long as possible.
Even though care homes today are a far cry from the past, with residents engaged in all sorts of group activities, being cared for at home means that the individual can take part in the things that they specifically enjoy. Playing a round of golf for example, an afternoon fishing, or maybe even watching others play a sport if they are no longer physically able, can boost mental and physical health.
Sensory stimulation is important when it comes to dementia care, and an older person who is still able to live in their own home will be able to listen to music, or indulge in arts that they enjoy as often as they please. In-home care can be very beneficial in that respect as the carer can engage their client in different activities as their interests or abilities change due to dementia.
Care Can Evolve
One of the biggest advantages of in-home care, particularly for someone living with dementia, is that it is easier to customise the care to provide as much or as little as the client and their family require. This flexibility is a huge advantage when caring for those who live with dementia, because as their condition declines in-home care can adapt as necessary in order to keep providing the best possible care.
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