Support for people with dementia
A dementia diagnosis can be overwhelming, but understanding what care and support is available, and how to access it, can help you through.
Managing at home
Many people in the early stages of dementia are able to live well independently. Over time, symptoms including memory loss, confusion and difficulty carrying out everyday tasks can mean a person requires additional support to stay well at home.
It is not advisable to make major changes to a familiar home environment overnight, but there are some simple things you can consider doing that may help someone with dementia to continue living independently. Click here to read The Alzheimer’s Society's guide to making your home dementia friendly.
The booklet will be useful for people with dementia who want to remain living at home, and for friends and family members who are supporting them. It’s based on research, and the personal experiences of people with dementia and the people who support them (family, friends and care professionals). If you have dementia, living at home can give you more independence. By making some changes to your home, you can continue to enjoy it, and keep up routines and activities that are familiar to you. These changes can help you to stay safe, physically active, mentally stimulated and in touch with friends and family.
Care and support
Accepting the need for some care and support
Many older people are very reluctant to complain or to admit that they are finding life difficult: they resign themselves to struggling on, often to the further detriment of their health and well-being. But help and support is available, and it is important to act before a crisis hits so that they can stay as independent as possible and keep control over decisions about where and how they live.
Are you living in the right place?
The most important thing to remember is that your physical environment can have a dramatic effect on both your physical and mental health and well-being. Living in the right place with the right support may allow you to retain your independence and enable you to stay in your own home for longer. That might mean taking the big decision to move to somewhere more manageable before health deteriorates or a crisis occurs.
Care at home
Most people say they would prefer to be cared for in their own home and there are some excellent domiciliary care companies who provide home visits. It is important to find a care company that provides person-centred rather than task-based care and that provides companionship alongside care. Fifteen-minute care visits should be a thing of the past!
Live-in care is also an option and can be very cost-effective particularly if a couple needs some care and support. If you are having care at home, you should have a written care plan which is reviewed regularly. Good care at home will liaise with your GP and, if needed, with district palliative care teams so that you can stay at home for the rest of your life.
The right care or nursing home can provide wonderful care, with fantastic food - and the ability to mix whenever one chooses with other people can alleviate the desperate loneliness and isolation many older people suffer living alone in their own home.
Whatever care option you choose it is important to do your research BEFORE a crisis hits. This means that you will be able to make informed decisions in tranquillity and reduce the risks which may lead to a crisis.
Credit for this section: Alison Hesketh at Timefinders
Care homes in Reading
Reading Borough Council have put together a list of local housing options and care homes on their website. There are plenty to choose from, just click the link below. If you are struggling and thinking about moving to a care home, you can speak with a member of their team by calling: 0118 937 3747 for advice.
Choosing a care home
Making the decision to consider residential or nursing care for yourself or a loved one can be difficult. One of the most important things to check when choosing a care home is the most recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.
It is a good idea to visit a number of care homes if possible to see which one is the best fit for you and your loved ones. Take time to look around and talk to staff and residents as well as the manager. It can be helpful to have a check list of things to consider before your visit such as:
You may already know of a care home through personal recommendation or from social services:
Is the care home near family and friends?
Are there good transport links?
Are there shops, leisure facilities and cafes nearby?
Check if the manager of the home arranges a care assessment of potential residents to make sure it can meet their needs:
Are all the staff trained in dementia care?
Do staff seem interested and caring?
Is there a full-time activity coordinator specialising in dementia-friendly activities?
Do the staff hold regular relatives' meetings?
Is the home accredited under the Gold Standards Framework for end-of-life care?
It is a good idea to ask to see a couple of bedrooms, as long as current residents are happy with this:
Can residents have their own room, with space for their own furniture and possessions?
Are there enough toilets within easy reach of bedrooms and living space?
Is there a garden for walking safely?
Are chairs arranged in groups in living areas to encourage socialising?
Will the home meet specific religious, ethnic or cultural needs?
Are residents’ food preferences catered for?
A good sign of a well-run care home is residents who appear happy and responsive:
Are residents treated with dignity and respect by staff?
Can they have visitors whenever they want?
Are there regular residents’ meetings?
Is there access to community health services, such as chiropodists and opticians?
Can you continue to help care for your relative in some way, perhaps helping with an activity?
Social prescribers in Reading
Social prescribing is a way of working with people in a holistic way to address their non-medical needs and enable them to take greater control of their health and well-being. It’s about recognising that non-clinical issues can affect people’s physical health. By supporting people to improve their own health and well-being it can reduce the NHS demand and offer support to other local services.
What can a social prescriber help with?
Improving your general health and wellbeing and reducing feelings of isolation
Discovering social groups or local self-help groups, clubs and befriending agencies
Finding bereavement support
Exploring support for housing, employment, benefits, debt & legal advice
Getting involved in your local community