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Living with dementia
We know how worrying and stressful it can be when faced with the reality that a loved one is living with dementia or increasing memory loss and are struggling to cope alone. Watching someone close whose life is impacted by the varying symptoms presented by dementia can be upsetting. Many family carers will feel guilty that they themselves are struggling to cope and provide the care and support their loved one needs. Where can I get the best care? How can my loved one continue to enjoy life? How can I better manage their changing needs? These are some of the questions you may have asked yourself.
Whilst a dementia diagnosis can be upsetting for not just the person receiving the diagnosis but for all their family, an early diagnosis can mean the person can live well with dementia with the right dementia care and support in place. Planning and taking the right steps early can mean the person living with dementia has improved health outcomes, avoiding a crisis later, which results in care being organised urgently and potentially in an emergency. This will of course be very stressful and upsetting for a person living with dementia.
Living with dementia at home
We know receiving care in the comfort, safety and familiarity of your own home has far reaching benefits in improving overall health and well-being for a person living with dementia. Moving at any stage in life can be disruptive and stressful. When an individual is living with dementia the process of moving to a care home, away from their much-loved home full if its treasured possessions and memories can be really heart-wrenching and daunting, affecting their ability to live well with dementia. We know that staying at home and receiving compassionate, one-to-one care from a highly trained and well matched professional carer improves quality of life and health outcomes for an individual living with dementia. Our personalised approach to providing high-quality live-in care for a person living with dementia, with a fully managed and flexible service that families can rely on is setting the standards in live-in care.
"My father has dementia and was in a care home, very unhappy. I watched him decline with much sadness. The move back home with a live-in carer from The Good Care Group has been seamless. He is now visibly happier and relaxed. It is so much nicer for the family to visit him at home once again."
Dementia facts and stats
What is dementia?
Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. These conditions are all usually progressive and eventually severe.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50-75% of those diagnosed.
Other types of dementia include vascular dementia affecting up to 20% of those diagnosed, frontotemporal dementia affecting 2% and dementia with Lewy bodies between 10-15%.
Who is affected?
- There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. This is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
- 209,600 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes.
- 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia.
- 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.
- There are over 42,000 people under 65 living with dementia in the UK.
- More than 25,000 people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are affected.
What are the symptoms of dementia?
Living well with dementia is possible if the right care and support is put in place to help manage the symptoms of dementia. Symptoms will vary from person to person and will be determined by the type of dementia a person is living with. Many symptoms will get worse over time. The most common symptoms are:
- Memory loss
- Lack of concentration
- Unable to learn new things
- Problems with planning, organising and making decisions
- Problems with language and speech
- Orientation problems, for example losing track of time or getting lost
- Problems with judgement and visual perception
- Changes in behaviour and personality, including issues with controlling emotions
As the disease progress, the person living with dementia may experience problems with weight loss, swallowing, continence and mobility. Those living with Lewy bodies dementia may also experience hallucinations or delusions in later stage dementia.
Living with dementia with specialist care from expert carers
We have been innovating dementia care for over 10 years. All our professional carers are trained in how to care for someone living with dementia and use a range of best practice techniques proven to provide reassurance, reduce anxiety and calm behaviours, whilst reducing the need to use antipsychotic drugs used widely in many care home settings.
This means the person with dementia can live well, despite the challenges dementia can present with the gentle encouragement and compassionate care provided by our dementia carers. The high-quality care provided by our carers has seen a 66% reduction in the use of antipsychotic medications compared with the average care home.
Our collaborative approach to working with leading medical experts, academic bodies and leading charities ensure our care is of the very highest standards.
Our work with the Contented Dementia Trust to introduce the SPECAL approach to dementia care helps us to understand and discover what is important to the person living with dementia, enabling us to develop a purposeful and meaningful programme of care.
We adopt a blended approach to delivery of dementia care, led and supported by our own Consultant Admiral Nurse. The support from an Admiral Nurse, working with leading dementia charity, Dementia UK means we can offer unrivalled levels of emotional and practical support based on best practice dementia care to those living with dementia and their families.
All of our professional carers are trained in the SPECAL approach to dementia care and our management team complete a higher-level dementia care training programme. It does not stop there. Our care teams receive on-going coaching, mentoring and support based on latest thinking and research that ensure they have the knowledge, skills and aptitude to deliver positive dementia care.
Living well with dementia throughout your journey
There are three main stages in a persons’ dementia journey; early stage (sometimes referred to as early-onset dementia), mid stage and later stage dementia. It is possible for a person to live well with dementia at home with the right care in place. At The Good Care Group our carers are trained to understand the effects of dementia throughout all the stages of dementia.
Early stage dementia
At this stage our carers will focus on ensuring the person living with dementia is able to live as independently as possible with the support they require, which will be provided in a way that looks to enhance their well-being.
Living well with dementia strategies can be put in place to support memory loss – writing to do lists, settling on one place to keep certain items, like your wallet and keys, having a pad close by to take notes.
Lifestyle choices will be encouraged and actively promoted by our carer. Eating well and exercising regularly, as well as keeping the brain active through puzzles, reading and socialising are all proven to have a positive impact on well-being.
A person in the early stages of dementia is likely to experience changes in their mood and easily become anxious, depressed or more easily annoyed and some will lose interest in their life. Our carers are trained to work with this situation and encourage and stimulate positive attitude and thinking to lift spirits and enhance well-being.
Mid stage dementia
While everyone’s journey with dementia is different, the signs of the middle stage of the disease can mark the moment when changes to the care arrangements are necessary. The middle stage can be the longest and sometimes the most challenging for the person living with dementia and those that care for them.
Our professional carers are trained to identify changing care needs and move at your pace, adapting their approach as needs increase. They can offer the physical support needed for example help with bathing, dress and eating, as well as encouraging gentle exercise that maintains strength and mobility.
The carers employed by The Good Care Group are sensitive to emotions and respond positively to any signs of distress, finding shared, simplified language that enables the person living with dementia to communicate and express feelings.
Late stage dementia
Dementia in all forms is a progressive condition and by the time it reaches later stages it is very likely that you will need 24-hour care and support. During this stage the person living with dementia is likely to have become extremely frail, with severe memory loss and may well have trouble with communicating, eating and even swallowing. They may also spend long periods of time inactive and become prone to infections.
Communication is key at this stage. All our carers are trained to have meaningful interactions with those they are caring for when speech is limited – eye contact, gestures or shared experiences all provide ways to make a connection. Listening to a piece of music together can help someone feel safe, connected and loved.
During late stage dementia more specialist medical care may be needed. At The Good Care Group our care teams are supported by leading clinical experts in the field of dementia care who guide our approach to ensure a person can live well with dementia at home. Carers can draw on the expertise of our in-house Consultant Admiral Nurse and Occupational Therapist. Carers proactively use techniques required for safe moving, pre-empting medical issues, identifying infections that reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. For many our care is life changing with fewer falls, less infections and reliance on antipsychotic drugs.
"My parents who are living with dementia are now able to live a peaceful life thanks to the carers provided by The Good Care Group, despite the dementia and physical issues of older age."
Treatments for dementia
The use of antipsychotic medication to treat dementia symptoms has been increasingly challenged over the last ten years, as they have been shown to be harmful for people living with dementia and are at times prescribed unnecessarily. Through our approach to professional and specialist one-to-one care for those living with dementia, our clients are four times less likely to be prescribed antipsychotic medication than residents of care homes.
Dementia live-in care, short term care or respite care
With a full time, live-in care arrangement a professional carer will live with you in your home providing around the clock care and support, focused on improving your health and well-being, whilst enhancing the quality of your life.
There are many benefits of 24 hour care, not least that the carer will truly get to know you as a person, not just your care needs but they will be on hand to support you to live life the way you wish, with as much independence as possible.
Respite care or a short term arrangement provide an opportunity for a family carer to take a much needed break from caring for someone living with dementia, or for you to try live-in care for the first time to see how live-in care works and whether it is the right choice for you in the future.
To support you and your family we have created a useful Dementia Care Guide which provides you with information and advice on how to provide person-centred dementia care following a diagnosis of dementia. There is also a number of dementia charities across the UK who provide families with help, advice and support when they need it most, including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.
The NHS has a useful living well with dementia guide that provides practical tips and guidance so people living with dementia can live a fulfilling life.