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A Word of Advice for Dementia Caregivers – Choosing the Right Living Facility For Your Dear One

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People who play the role of a caregiver often find it intimidating to think about the time when their near and dear ones forget all their age-old memories or become incapable of recognizing people who are close to them. However, the chance of dementia at an old age is something that we can’t ignore. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their study in 2018, 45% of the caregivers for seniors who are above 50 years of age are all taking care of someone who is suffering from cognitive decline due to dementia. Though the aforementioned data is a rather sobering statistic, there is still positive hope regarding the way in which dementia is dealt with in the majority of the biggest nations. 

Are you someone who is dealing with a near or dear one who suffers for dementia at a regular level? If answered yes, you must be playing the role of an unprofessional caregiver without having a choice to opt-out of this role. Read on the concerns of this post to know more about dealing with dementia and the dementia care services that are available. 

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Possible causes of the disease – What do the doctors reveal?

GENETIC LINKS

There are times when we think what those things which could have been done in a different way so that they could avoid the early onset of dementia and consequential memory loss. However, it is vital for you to know that dementia is most often influenced by several other innate factors on which we have very little control. There are few common forms of dementia which are related to conditions or diseases that have genetic component. There are recent studies which have found out that there are too many risk factors (based on genes) which can play a role in causing Alzheimer’s disease. Few other reasons behind dementia that are associated to genetics are frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body disease, Huntington’s disease and Pick’s disease. Whatsoever it may be, you need to remember the fact that genes never cause dementia but they just boost the chances of being attacked with the condition. 

HEAD INJURY LINKS

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There are several other physical injuries like tumors, brain injury, and deprivation of oxygen and constant heavy metal exposure which can lead to dementia. Have you ever heard of boxer’s dementia or dementia pugilistica which is caused due to continuous hit to a person’s head? There is post-traumatic dementia which can occur after just after your brain goes through a single injury. 

However, the only positive news is that in few of the aforementioned cases, the procedure of cognitive decline can be halted or reversed as well provided the signs and symptoms are addressed very soon. The caregivers can assist their patients by making them alert of the reasons that lead to dementia and allow them to get help as soon as possible. Dementia care Tweed Heads or assisted living are both be great ways of avoiding environmental hazards. 

The List of diseases which can cause dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is the most widely known reason for cognitive decline leading to dementia. However, there are many other factors which can consequentially lead to dementia. Here is a description and analysis of the other unique issues. 

  • AD or Alzheimer’s Disease: This is the most common form which accounts for 3/4th of all dementia cases though the ultimate cause is still unknown. Tangles of protein is said to accumulate in the brain cells which interfere with the proper functioning of the brain. This malfunction starts off in the reasoning and memory centers of the human brain and later on progresses to the cerebral cortex region of the brain which is said to be the ‘thinking part’ of the human brain. Currently, this form of dementia is incurable. 
  • Vascular dementia: When there is damage to the brain due to clogged or narrow arteries, this can cause this condition which is often also caused due to stroke. Though this damage is incurable, if the underlying disease is treated properly, this could stop the progression and spread of the disease. The signs of this specific form of dementia will be different in accordance with the portions of the person’s brain that were impacted by stroke. 
  • LBD or Lew Body Dementia: Lewy bodies are round-shaped protein structures which develop within the cells of the brain thereby disrupting the proper functioning of the brain. The main cause behind the development of cells is still unknown. LBD is said to be the second-most common cause of dementia and it accounts for 20-35% of the cases. 
  • Frontotemporal dementia:  This is yet another type of dementia where the frontal lobes of the brain degenerate gradually thereby affecting the judgmental capabilities of a person and also brings about a change in his social behavior. Among people who are less than 65 years of age, this is one among the most vital causes of dementia. 

Apart from the above-mentioned names, there are few other mental health disorders which lead to dementia but they occur rarely as compared to the ones already mentioned. 

STROKE AND DEMENTIA LINKS

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Dementia can also occur due to different kinds of strokes or other physical health conditions which tarnish or clog down the blood vessels and bar the required level of oxygen to enter the brain. As this is called the third-most relevant cause of this disease, the caregivers need to stay alert about the symptoms of stroke or vascular dementia. 

Dementia care – What are the options available?

When a person is suffering from other forms of dementia or Alzheimer’s and he prefers a communal environment for living, you may have to opt for a residential care facility which is considered as the best option out there. Depending on the needs of a person, there are different facilities which offer different levels of care. 

RESIDENTIAL CARE – The types

In order to know which one fits the needs of your patient, you need to educate yourself on each of the types of residential care facilities. 

  • Retirement housing

Retirement housing can be an appropriate option for people who are going through an early stage of dementia where they can still take care of themselves and perform things independently. The individual might find it easy to live alone but might find it difficult to handle or look after the entire house. This kind of senior housing can offer restrained supervision and can provide opportunities for transportation, social activities, and other services. 

  • Nursing homes

Nursing homes are the facilities which offer round-the-clock care along with long term medical treatment. Majority of the nursing homes have specific staffs to address issues like care planning, nutrition, medical care and spirituality. Nursing homes usually have various staff-to- resident ratios. Nursing homes are licensed and regulated by the federal government. 

  • Assisted Living

Assisted living can bridge the gap between living in a nursing home and independent living. It offers a combination of meals, housing health care and supportive services. Assisted living isn’t regulated by the government and the definitions vary from one state to another. All assisted living facilities don’t provide services which are specifically tailored for people with dementia and hence it is tough to ask. 

  • Special Care Units (SCU)

SCUs or Special Care Units are created to meet the specific requirements of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. They can usually take many forms and exist within different types of residential care. These special care units are cluster settings where the patients are grouped in a unit which lies within a residential care facility. The staffs are trained and there are specialized activities which take care for residents with specific needs. 

  • CCRC or Continuing care retirement communities

CCRCs offer a different level of care based on the personal needs of the person. Here, a resident can move throughout various levels of care within the community which also include disability support services Sydney. In case of payment for this type of facility, it includes an initial entry fee and later on, you will require paying monthly fees based on the total amount that is demanded from you. 

Is living at home becoming tougher day by day?

Gradually as the disease progresses with time, there might arise a time when the person suffering from the disease finds it difficult to do things on his own. He will then need more care than what you were so long offering. When he goes through the middle stage of dementia, it gets necessary to offer 24-hour supervision to make sure the person remains safe. However, with the further progress of the disease, the requirements begin to get more and more intensive. 

Making the final decision of shifting the patient into a residential care facility can get extremely difficult but still providing optimum care during the later stages of dementia is often not possible. If you’re still confused about whether or not you should move your patient to a residential care facility, here are a few questions that you may ask yourself:

  • Is the patient gradually deteriorating into an unsafe environment?
  • Are the care requirements of the person beyond a person’s physical abilities?
  • Is the health of the caregiver or the person with dementia at risk?
  • Is the caregiver becoming too stressed, impatient or irritable with the patient?
  • Am I being forced to neglect all other work responsibilities so that I could only look after the dementia patient?
  • Would the social interaction at a residential care facility help build his confidence in himself?

Even though you might have planned ahead of time about the move, when the time comes, things can get stressful. You’ll feel guilty about whether or not you’re doing the right thing. Families which have been through this entire process will tell you that it is best to do your homework and research before you move forward. 

Things to keep in mind while visiting a dementia care home

Now that you’ve decided to shift your patient to a dementia care home, you need to spend some time and do some research to shop around several homes. You need to talk to the people in charge, the residents and the other staff so that you can be sure that the care home where you’re going to keep your loved one is the best one. Never hesitate to ask questions as that is the only way you can get to know more on the facility. Here is a checklist of the few things that you should watch out for while choosing a care home. 

#1: First impression is the first clue

The first impression that you have on the care home is certainly the most vital clue that you’ll get on the way the home is run. For instance, when you visit the care home, you can check the way you’re greeted at the door. Do you find the environment welcoming and homely or is it dirty and not home-like? Is it well-furnished and properly decorated? Do you find any kind of filthy and unpleasant odor which can imply lack of cleanliness? These are the few things to keep in mind which making your first impression. 

#2: The residents are the best indication of the home

Once you take a look at the residents who have inhabited the home, you can get a proper idea of the kind of home you’re visiting. Do the residents look responsive and happy? Do you feel that they’re always treated with respect and dignity? Do the staffs speak to the patients in a manner that is liked and preferred by the residents? Are the residents dressed properly and groomed in a pleasant manner? Are the residents busy chatting or engaged in activities? Do they seem interested and alert? 

#3: Access to equipment

What if the person who is suffering from dementia is most likely to need adaptations or other dementia-friendly equipments or tools? Are the toilets and corridors wide enough so that they can walk freely in their wheelchairs? Are the baths and toilets appropriately suited? Are there lifts or ramp? Check these before finalizing. 

#4: Location of the care home

No matter how pleasant the care home is, you have to ask yourself whether or not visitors will find it easy to reach the care home. Will there be facilities like a park, stationery shops or a pub nearby so that the residents can enjoy whenever they feel like? 

Now that you get proper answers to all the above-mentioned questions, you can choose that care home for your loved one. Make sure you keep visiting them so that they don’t feel abandoned. 

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TUT Staff
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