How Can Live-in Home Care Help With Alzheimer's?
Live-in home care can help with Alzheimer’s by:
- Offering companionship
- Keeping a watchful eye to prevent wandering
- Providing medical assistance
- Performing household chores
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. In the UK alone, over half a million people are affected by this progressive condition. Over time their support needs grow as their faculties decline.
Many professionals believe that enabling people who have dementia to remain in their own home offers many benefits compared to placing them in a residential elderly care facility. If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s disease, consider how their quality of life could be improved by live-in care at home.
About Alzheimer’s disease
Many years before any symptoms become apparent, changes in the brain in the form of abnormal structures known as plaques and tangles develop. Plaques are protein deposits that are built up in spaces between the nerve cells and tangles are fibres of a different protein inside the cells. Over time these plaques and tangles can damage and kill the brain’s nerve cells.
As people grow older they will likely develop some plaques and tangles, but the quantity in those with Alzheimer’s disease will be significantly higher. The plaques and tangles are believed to block communication between the nerve cells and cause memory loss and other symptoms of the disease. It is usually those close to the person with signs of Alzheimer’s disease rather than the older person who notice the changes first.
Common problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease
One of the most well-known symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is a decline in memory, particularly for recent events and new information, but there are many other aspects that make day-to-day living more difficult.
Your loved one may become confused and disorientated so that they are not sure of the time and place they are in. They may be unable to complete simple tasks that were once easy for them, and their behaviour and mood can change, often becoming strange or difficult to understand.
As the disease progresses a person with Alzheimer’s disease may experience unfounded suspicions regarding family members, friends or carers. Their behaviour can change further, and their memory loss can be more severe. Eventually they can have difficulty in mobilising, speaking and swallowing.
Dementia care at home
Specially trained live-in carers can support your loved one in their own home, enabling them to live the most fulfilled life they can. People living with Alzheimer’s disease benefit from consistency in their care, so moving into a residential care home can cause them a great deal of distress and make them more confused and anxious.
Live-in care from care providers such as Elder means that there is no disruption in their life and they can remain in the place they know and love best, with all their precious possessions around them.
Because a live-in carer will be in the home 24/7 for up to two weeks at a time and will usually alternate with just one other carer, your loved one can get to know them well, and the carer will be familiar with all your loved one’s needs and preferences. They will try to maintain any existing routines so that there are no major changes to contend with.
Dulcie’s Care Story
In this short video, Mary and Colin explain how Dulcie’s live-in Elder carer, Sarah, has become part of the family.
They discuss how live-in care has allowed Dulcie to stay independent in her own home, while making a new friend at the same time.
How will the live-in carer support my loved one?
In addition to helping with all your loved one’s personal care needs, a live-in carer can help stimulate memories. Reminiscence therapy is an important part of dementia care and the carer can help your loved one to create a scrapbook or memory box containing sentimental items and photographs. By getting to know all about their life, the carer will be able to chat about past times and things that are important to your loved one.
An important part of companion care is to help the person who is living with dementia to orient themselves to time and place. By helping your loved one to attend appointments, remember important dates and reassuring them when they are worried, a live-in carer will make life generally pleasanter for them.
Live-in carers can also enable your loved one to maintain social activities outside the home, help with entertaining friends and family who may visit, and will be there to have a chat at any time.
Because the carer is in the house 24/7 you will not have to worry that your parent may have an accident if they leave the gas on or decide to go out for a walk in the middle of the night.
There are various domestic tasks that your loved one may no longer be able to cope with and a live-in carer will be able to carry out all the domestic tasks necessary for the smooth running of the home. Shopping and food preparation, laundry and housework can all be taken care of and your loved one will be able to help as much as they wish to. Because the carer will be selected with the care recipient’s needs in mind, if assistance is needed with something such as gardening or pet care, this will be taken into account when choosing the live-in carer.
A live-in carer will be able to help your loved one to comply with any medical recommendations and ensure that any prescribed medication is taken appropriately. Because they will have training and experience in dementia care, they will know how to react to strange behaviour and will not be shocked or angry if your loved one becomes unsettled or aggressive.
An experienced carer will know when and how much assistance to offer and will help to keep your loved one as independent as they can be while ensuring that their needs are met, and they are safe in their environment. When your loved one’s needs increase, they may also require assistance with feeding, moving about and communicating.
Keeping Seniors Active: How to Care for Ageing Parents
As people age, it’s inevitable that they begin to slow down, but this shouldn’t mean they cease to be active. Keeping fit and healthy in old age is important, for both physical health and emotional wellbeing, and finding ways to keep your loved ones active is a positive step in caring for them. Staying active can help preserve a sense of independence too, as well as helping to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression or dementia - all conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
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Home Help: What's the Cost?
There are various cost options to consider and some help towards fees may be available from your loved one’s local authority or through NHS continuing healthcare funding, depending on the individual circumstances
How Do I Choose the Right Home Help?
If you have an ageing parent or relative who is no longer as able they once were, it’s important to understand the different types of help available before deciding on the type that they need.