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Dementia Live-in Care or Nursing Homes: What's the Difference?

There are many differences between dementia live-in care and nursing homes. If your loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia, this is not a signal that they have to be admitted to a nursing home. Some people can continue living with dementia in their own homes for many years, and when independent living becomes too difficult, there are ways to provide appropriate care at home.

Dementia Live-in Care

If traditional methods of home care no longer offer the appropriate support for your loved one, you may consider 24/7 care for them. Sometimes a person with dementia is at risk of hurting themselves and will need someone with them all the time to ensure their safety. Private live-in care can enable the person living with dementia to continue to enjoy life in their chosen environment for as long as possible.

Live-in care can be like living with family; the carer will be carefully matched with your loved one in areas such as interests and personality and receive the appropriate dementia support training to enable them to deliver the best care.

The plan for private care at home will detail the care your loved one requires. This could involve physical help with aspects of personal care such as washing and dressing, or it could focus more on prompting the person to carry out these tasks for themselves. The aim of this kind of care is not simply to do everything for the care recipient; it is to promote their independence and dignity as much as possible. Some people who have dementia will need assistance with taking medication correctly, help with eating and drinking or support to communicate their needs.

The live-in carer will also carry out other duties to help with the smooth running of your loved one’s home. They will help with meal planning and will shop and prepare nutritious meals for your loved one. Laundry and light domestic cleaning will also be taken care of, so you will not need to worry about your loved one’s well-being.

Increased Choice

With private dementia care, you and your loved one can choose how they want to live. If the care recipient wants to go out, the caregiver will accompany them or in some cases can drive them to appointments or social events. Your loved one will be supported to continue to do the things they enjoy; so if gardening is their favourite hobby, the carer will help them with this too.

Dementia care at home can also include social support. Being able to maintain interests and enjoyment for as long as possible gives the person with dementia a much better quality of life, and the knowledge that care is available 24 hours a day can give you much needed peace of mind.

Mikis’ care story

In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing Elder live-in care. They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time.

Nursing Home Care

Most people would prefer to remain in their own home rather than be in a care or nursing home. Research has suggested that people with dementia who are admitted to nursing homes, including elderly care nursing homes, tend not to live as long as those who remain in their own homes.

Nursing homes are different from residential care homes because the care is supervised by registered nurses. Some nursing homes only offer general elderly care and are not suitable for people whose dementia causes them to exhibit certain behaviours. Nursing homes offering dementia care will have professionals trained in Alzheimer’s care and the challenges that can be linked to this condition.

As with any care home, your loved one would have their own room and could take a limited number of possessions with them. It is a good idea to ensure that they have the things that are important to hand, such as family photographs around them, so they do not feel so isolated. Many people living with dementia react poorly to a move into a nursing home and may become more anxious and confused than they normally are.

Staff are on duty all the time in a nursing home and all the facilities needed to caring for people with complex needs should be provided. Equipment such as hospital beds, hoisting systems and special baths can all contribute to the physical care of those who have mobility problems and need more assistance than would normally be possible at home.

Some nursing homes have doors that are kept locked to prevent people who are prone to wandering from getting lost. If this kind of behaviour has become an issue with in-home care and it has not proved possible to secure your loved one’s property well enough to keep them safe, you may need to consider a move into a nursing home.

When Nursing Home Care is Needed

The longer you can provide care and support at home for your loved one, the better their quality of life will be. However, there may come a time when staying at home is impossible and they could be at serious risk of harm, so you should not feel guilty if you have to make the decision to admit your loved one to a nursing home.

If skilled nursing care is required 24 hours a day, or more than one carer to support your loved one, it may be in their best interests to go into a home where their needs can be met more fully.

If you enable your loved one to enjoy as much independence as possible before this situation arises, you know you have done your best for them.

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