What Is Dementia?
Dementia itself is not a single disease. Dementia is a broad term that encompasses several types of progressive disorders. These disorders have a wide range of symptoms. Most people have heard of the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, which affects approximately 5.5 million people in the United States alone. According to the Alzheimers Association, of the estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2017, an estimated 5.3 million are age 65 and older, and approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 and have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
In addition to Alzheimer’s Disease, some other forms and types of dementia include :
- Parkinsons Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Mixed Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Dementias Are Progressive Brain Disorders
Conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and related diseases typically are progressive biological brain disorders, which means they get worse over time. Years ago, almost all of those with dementia would end up in a long-term care facility as their symptoms got worse, but now there is range of support and medical services available to help people stay in their homes.
Care At Home Vs Long Term Care Facility
While a long-term care facility option might still be the best option for many, for others, receiving dementia care at home may provide more significant benefits. This doesn’t have to mean that family members or friends need to be the only caregivers. A reputable and experienced home care program can help your loved one with dementia live at home, safely and comfortably. Because everyone’s health condition and care needs are different, this type of care may be different for each person. Some people will benefit from having a light housekeeping visit a few hours a week to help with keeping the house clean, and some may need help with shopping and meal preparation. Others may need an aide full-time to provide support for managing the seniors daily routine.
Why Is Home Care For Seniors With Dementia Needed?
Some reasons to consider in-home care for seniors with dementia include:
- People with dementia often have difficulty dealing with change. Helping them to remain at home, a familiar setting can prevent negative behaviours that may be triggered by change.
- People with dementia need help to remember to do basic self-care tasks, so it keeps them safe and healthy. A home care aide helps the person with bathing, toileting, and other hygiene needs.
- Home care aides provide respite services for family and friends, especially those who may serve as caregivers.
- People with dementia may need help outside the home, and an aide can help with additional support such as accompanying them to doctor’s appointments, recreational activities, groups.
- Help with medication reminders and make sure other medical needs get met.
Challenges of Dementia For Families
The decision to care for a loved one with dementia at home poses many challenges for families and caregivers. Having brain disorders makes it increasingly difficult for those affected to think, remember things they need to do, take care of themselves and communicate with others. Also, dementia can change a person’s personality, cause mood swings and change behaviours. Because these behaviours are new to many family members, they may not be prepared psychologically and physically to help their loved one.
Stages of Dementia And Care Needed
Early stages of dementia require help with medication management, organization, money management, keeping appointments, and developing coping strategies to maintain independence. During this stage, it is crucial to make care plans for the future as the stages progress.
Middle- stages of dementia typically last 2-10 years, and more care is generally needed than one in the early-stage of the disease. Memory is significantly affected, and the individual may not recognize familiar faces, or he or she may become lost in an area in which they know. It is vital that an individual with dementia in this stage follow a structured schedule, which can aid in reducing feelings of anxiety and stress commonly associated with dementia. Mood and behaviour at this stage can also be erratic. There may be occasional aggression or uninhibitedness because one’s ability to reason is not at a healthy level. Also, people often have difficulty with coordination and physical movements. At this stage, dementia patients may need reminders, such as what is the appropriate clothing to wear, or may require assistance with activities of daily living, such as feeding and dressing.
Late-stage of dementia typically lasts 1 – 3 or more years. For this stage, people will require intensive 24-hour-a-day care. This stage is characterized by people usually showing extreme confusion, both in present circumstances as well as past events. The ability to process information becomes impaired, and the individual will have a very difficult time communicating verbally if they can do so at all. Behavior and mood are usually extraordinarily unpredictable, and they may even experience hallucinations. Commonly, an individual in this stage will need to move to a facility, such as a Memory Care Unit to receive the extensive care that they need.
At Home Health Care For Dementias
Unlike some Home Health Care Services, our staff understand these diseases, their progression, as well as how to handle the erratic behaviour and moods. Our team also knows why it is important and how to help maintain low-stress levels for the affected individual, instead of unintentionally escalating the stress level which some untrained caregivers may do. Our At Home Care staff cater to the specific needs of individuals with dementia. They work with each to learn about and incorporate fun activities which are meant to stimulate the memory. Also, they assist with activities of daily living, such as dressing, shopping, preparing meals, room modifications, medication reminders as well as helping to provide the family with support and respite.
Need Help? Call Us
We understand that it is difficult to know when to seek outside help. Where to find quality care can be challenging, as it’s essential to see a home caregiver who’s experienced and qualified to handle the various and ever-changing challenges of people living with dementia. If you or your loved ones would like to speak with our At Home Health Care For Dementia Administrator who has experience in helping people through this challenging time manage Dementia such as Alzheimers or Parkinsons- then feel free to call us at 800-296-9962 for a free in-home consultation.