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Elderly Care at Home: How Do I Find an Alzheimer's Carer?

When a loved one receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease it can be frightening and distressing time. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone - there are three-quarters of a million sufferers in the UK today, and this number is set to increase over the coming years.

First Steps

Straight after the diagnosis, you should start to consider ways of making your loved one’s home safe, so that he or she can continue to live in their familiar surroundings. Look for hazards around the home to minimise the risk of accidents. Stairways, halls and landings should be well lit, smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors installed and the hot water thermostat should be turned down to avoid the risk of scalding.

Talk to your loved one about his or her wishes, so that you gain a good understanding of how they would like to be cared for as the condition progresses. Create a care plan if possible, so that family members, friends and care workers know the daily routine along with your relative’s likes and dislikes. A familiar routine is helpful in reassuring your loved one that all is well, and helps to avoid stress.

Making Decisions

One of the most useful things you can do is arrange Power of Attorney while your relative can sanction this, as it enables you to take charge of their financial affairs when it becomes necessary. Even eary on in dementia, the ability to cope with money is often compromised, so taking charge can avoid the distress of your loved one falling prey to scams, or simply losing track of their finances.

Discuss care options with everyone concerned, including friends and family. In the early stages of the condition, your loved one may only require a little assistance with household tasks, and perhaps company and transport for shopping and social excursions. Some families can rally around and offer support practically, but every case is unique, so take the time to work out a rota of help or to decide on a care plan.

Choosing a Care Provider

Over time, some form of care will be needed. Local authorities can provide limited assistance, but there will almost certainly be no continuity of care, something that is particularly important for anyone with a compromised memory.

Fortunately, there are an increasing number of private care options for in-home care, where a regular caregiver comes to your loved one’s home on a daily basis to carry out a variety of tasks according to their needs. Many families find that opting for care at home in this way provides peace of mind, along with a higher quality of life for the person living with Alzheimer’s, who can continue to have a degree of independence with this kind of support.

Make sure you approach the care provider company with a comprehensive list of questions to satisfy yourself that any caregiver they supply will be skilled in Alzheimer’s care. Dementia care is not straightforward and a good care provider will be able to offer evidence of ongoing training to ensure that the service it offers is of a high quality.

Along with a good understanding of elderly care, the caregiver should have a patient and understanding nature. Alzheimer’s can cause behavioural changes as it progresses, including aggressive or inappropriate behaviour which can sometimes be challenging. The caregiver needs to have an understanding of how to ensure that the environment is safe, as well as be able to provide nutritious home-cooked meals. He or she should be capable of supervising daily activities, providing mental stimulation and fostering social interaction.

Ideally, your care provider will allocate just one or two individuals to be caregivers. This keeps disruption and change to the absolute minimum, something that is crucial for anyone suffering from a deteriorating memory.

Dulcie’s care story

Duclie is one of our longest serving customers. In this video her and her family talk through their decision to arrange care in the home rather than the care home.

Live-in Care

As dementia progresses, the amount of care required by an individual will increase. Arranging private live-in care is a realistic alternative to a nursing home. A live-in carer provides 24/7 assistance with all the care recipient’s needs, including bathing and toileting. The elderly care role is often shared between two trained and experienced caregivers who alternate shifts to provide a high level of round-the-clock assistance. You can rest assured that your loved one is being well looked after in familiar surroundings, surrounded by evidence and mementoes of their past.

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