Community Blog

Dementia: Help is on the Way

By Our Care Coordinator, John Heyworth

Dementia - Help Is on the Way

 

Dementia is a loss of brain function that affects memory, thinking, and behavior.  The memories thoughts and behaviors will probably not be lost at once like the effects of a stroke, but are more profound over time as the brain becomes less efficient at sorting things out.  Even those with other serious illnesses may have or develop dementia which would complicate recovery.  This article addresses the needs that a companion gives, if the caregiver team agrees that home care is the best option for the present time.

 

Expenses may be a factor, the care receiver’s or family’s wishes, and or a doctor’s recommendation may indicate that a home care companion is the best option.  In-home care includes a wide range of services provided in the home, rather than in a hospital, rehabilitation, nursing or assisted living facility where more concentrated medical care is called for.

 

Traditionally, the at-home dementia care giver was, and still is in most cases to begin with, a family member.  As time and circumstances change, the family member needs help with activities not suited for the long term.  These activities can be handled by caring people that can be trusted to care in the way the care receiver deserves – with respect and love. 

 

Companion care is at the level that is closest to what a family member can offer.  Once medical and professional physical therapy care is established, if needed, the companion provides the direct minute-to-minute home and house care.  Safety is the main concern, followed closely with keeping established routine and companionship.  Trust and contentment soon return in familiar surroundings.  A companion caregiver can be on the spot when Dad thinks he can walk unaided, to the bathroom alone and has not faced the reality that a fall would probably happen.  Or the microwave set accidently on 15 minutes or 15 seconds for popcorn.  On the upside, conversations about the old times can give the family member a boost in morale and attitude. 

 

Here are a few things that companions are good at.  Mom is not the person she used to be.  Inhibitions and patience reserves are not the same.  Questions are repetitive.  You answered the same question minutes ago.  The companion will answer the question again as if it were the first time it was asked.  Mom is stuck on something in her mind.  After a while, companions do what they are expert at:  Calm redirection, changing the subject or starting another simple activity with Mom. 

 

There is much more to be given to you, the caring family member to help with the dementia problem.  The care giving team is able to help you through the uncertainties of this disease.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault that your family member got this way and no one taught you what to do.  Let us help.  We at Home Helpers Home Care can provide assistance that you can trust that will help in their twilight years to be safe and comfortable as can be.