Dementia is a term used to describe a number of illnesses that cause a progressive decline in a person’s function that can include loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and motor skills. As of February 2017 there were more than 413,000 people living with dementia in Australia and that is expected to increase to over 536,000 by 2025. (1)
Dementia can affect anybody but it is far more common in people over 65 years of age and the patterns of behaviour and rate of cognitive decline are different for every person.
The stages of dementia can be broadly put into three categories as follows:
The symptoms are often only apparent in hindsight and may include:
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Being unable to grasp ideas
- Being slow in completing routine jobs
- Repeating themselves more often
- Blaming people for stealing items
- Becoming more forgetful of recent events
The symptoms are more obvious and debilitating and may include:
- Being confused about time and place
- Forgetting names of family and friends
- Getting lost and disoriented
- Seeing or hearing things that are not there
- Poor personal hygiene
- Displays of anger and distress born of frustration
This describes the final stages of life where a person is significantly disabled and needs around the clock care and may include:
- Having no recollection of recent events
- Being unable to recognize family and friends
- Being unable to wash or make meals
- Difficulty in walking or may not be able to walk at all
- Total disability
Home Care Services for People with Dementia
The responsibility of caring for someone with dementia will often rest with family or a close friend and this can be a very traumatic time especially if the person affected was previously loving and caring and now behaves in a strange or aggressive manner.
What carers need to know is that there are services available to care for people with dementia and because each case is unique, it’s important to recognise that these services can be tailored to suit your individual needs.
What services are available:
- Personal care which includes help with getting in and out of bed, showering, help with going to the toilet, help with dressing and undressing, general grooming including application of makeup, help with taking medication and help with other everyday tasks
- Skilled Professional Nursing which includes things such as needs assessment taking into account the effectiveness of medication and therapy, behavioral management, care of wounds and sores and palliative care
- Domestic Assistance including ironing, vacuuming, dusting and wiping, laundry, shopping, meal preparation and cleaning dishes
- Companionship which includes things such as a chat over a cup of coffee or help with pursuing interests or hobbies
- Transport to and from events, to go shopping for groceries or to get to and from appointments
- Respite to allow you as the care giver to balance your personal needs with the needs of the person with dementia. Respite services can include short term hourly care to allow you to run errands, attend social events or attend to business commitments; overnight care so you can get an uninterrupted night’s sleep and longer term around the clock care so you can do things like take an extended vacation
Asking for Help
Some caregivers don’t ask for help because they put themselves last and feel underserving of a break. They may also be too tired to organise help or feel guilty because the person being cared for doesn’t want someone else to care for them and believe it’s their responsibility to provide all of the care.
You may identify with some or all of the above and therefore it is vitally important that as the caregiver, you take a break to refresh and reenergise for your own benefit and the benefit of everyone in your life. It gives you a chance to feel valued as a person in your own right and at the same time the person with dementia has a chance to get used to being cared for by other people.
Many people find the best way to get the help they need is through a Home Care Services Provider.
Colbrow Homecare-Experts in Care for People with Dementia
Colbrow Homecare have been providing quality Home Care Services for people with dementia for 60 years. We are committed to helping your loved one stay in the familiarity and comfort of their own home in order to achieve the best possible quality of life. We have specialist dementia registered nurses and our carers have undertaken specific dementia training.
We are compassionate, patient and always remember that you remain in control of the decisions regarding your loved one.
We have access to a wide range of Professional Home Care Services and can advise you on what government subsides you may be eligible for so getting the help you need may be affordable than you thought.
If you are struggling to cope with the demands of caring with someone with dementia or just need someone to give you a break every now and again, we can help you access a wide range of services so your loved one gets the care they need and you get the time you need to get your life back on track.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 33 11 03
Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane