It can be difficult for families with people who have been diagnosed with dementia, particularly those who previously lived alone. Once a diagnosis of dementia has been made, the patient’s family will naturally become concerned for the loved one with the diagnosis, and their ability to remain at the home that, in many cases, they have lived in for many years. This can seem like a cruel decision; take the person with the diagnosis away from their home, while they are still fully cognizant that they are losing their homes and lifestyle, or the family needs to commit time they might not have to manage full time home care themselves.
However, a person who has been diagnosed with dementia is not immediately incapable of caring for themselves, or living along for the most part. They’ll need assistance, but not full-time care, and with the right assistance, can continue to remain comfortably in the familiar surroundings of their home for a long time after the initial diagnosis.
Enabling them to do that is the best result for the patient. However, families often struggle to provide and to fully understand what they need to enable dementia care in the home. This is where Nextt comes in; both in providing the care itself, and helping to advise families on the best course of action for the patient.
What are the risks of people with dementia staying at home?
There are a couple of critical health and safety risks that people suffering from dementia face:
- They might forget to take prescribed medication
- They may forget basic hygiene, like bathing or changing clothes
- They may lose the awareness of the dangers involved with electrical appliances or fire (for example, when cooking)
- They may forget to feed or care for pets
- They lose the ability to make judgements about people – for example they may let the wrong people into the house, or cause trouble with neighbours.
The solution to many of these challenges is to ensure that the person with dementia is monitored as much as possible by visits from family and friends. It can also be a good idea to let neighbours know of the situation, so that they can keep a neighbourly look out to make sure the patient is getting by okay when no one else is around.
Most effectively of all, however, is the provision of specialised care though an organisation such as Nextt. In addition to giving the patient company (which is often appreciated among those that suffer from dementia), it is then possible to monitor the condition of the patient closely, as well as the risk profile of the various objects in the house. Having an expert eye look over the house for ways to make it safer is also a really good idea. For example, your Nextt healthcare professional will help you to install hand rails through the house where it’s needed, place clocks and calendars through the house in optimal positions (orientation to time is a key challenge for people with dementia), and recommend whether personal alarms or monitoring systems are worth installing.
Working with the Nextt healthcare professionals gives the family peace of mind that, not only can the loved one with dementia remain at home where it is comfortable, they are also able to do so as safely as possible. In turn, the pressure comes off the family – who are often busy trying to get by in the modern world themselves – and the patient can remain home for the maximum length of time possible before a move to more permanent care becomes essential.
For enquiries on home dementia care, what it involves, and how we can help with your family, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 369 568.