I have written a lot lately about the challenges facing us when our elderly loved ones need residential care.
|Source: Flickr: Jonas Boni|
It is probably one of the most difficult, and important, decisions adult children have to make for their parents.
This decision is doubly hard when your mum or dad is suffering from a long-term illness such as Dementia.
Research carried out by Alzheimer’s Research UK in 2014 found that older people are more fearful of developing dementia than they are of cancer.
Of the 500 adults over 50 surveyed across the UK, two thirds feared they would develop Alzheimer’s while just one in 10 feared getting cancer.
There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK but as the population ages, this figure is expected to soar in coming years.
Despite this, awareness of the disease seems to receive nowhere near the amount of media coverage given to cancer.
May 15 – 21 is Dementia Awareness Week, the aim of which is to encourage everyone to confront dementia and share their own experiences and concerns in order to offer much needed support and information.
If you are faced with the dilemma of finding a care home to look after a loved one suffering from dementia, care homes provider Barchester Healthcare has homes across the country specialising in different kinds of care, including dementia.
They have a dedicated Director of Dementia Care and a team of Dementia Care Specialists who work across the homes providing further support and training.
Time is spent learning about the different types of dementia that the person may have and how they might best support each resident as an individual, as well as learning what is needed to help your loved one when they are distressed and to promote their well-being.
When my grandmother Jesse went into residential care in Plymouth back in the 80’s there was no such option as a care home offering specialist care. Nana suffered mild dementia and we would arrive to visit finding her already distressed because she couldn’t find the kettle or a table-cloth to set out tea.
It is this inability to soothe and to communicate directly to your loved one that is so hard, isn’t it? The pressure on those caring for dementia sufferers in their own home must be immense.
If you are at the stage where residential care is needed, Barchester Homes have produced a useful guide to choosing the right home for someone living with dementia.
It contains a useful set of questions and checklists to help make the process a little less stressful. For example, you are guided through issues such as the environment, the approach of the staff and whether the residents seem happy and engaged.
Although dementia cannot be cured, the current renewed focus on this distressing condition and a determination by those offering residential care to give specialist support to families and sufferers can only be a good thing.
Look out for more information about dementia from 15th May 2016. There is also the Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline which is 0300 222 1122 which provides information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.