Positive Dementia Care – Making it Possible to Live Well with Dementia
Despite what you might hear in the news, it is possible to live well at home with dementia if you have the right homecare and support. At Bluebird Care Lewisham & Southwark, we're dedicated to providing positive dementia care!Dementia will affect nearly all of us at some point in our lives and is set to be one of the biggest health crises of our time, with the Alzheimer’s Society estimating that over 1 million people will have the condition by 2025. Unfortunately, the way dementia is discussed in the media often makes the future seem bleak for people with this diagnosis, but at Bluebird Care Lewisham & Southwark we know that people can live well with dementia given the right care and support. As it’s Dementia Action Week at the end of May, we thought we’d take a look at the role positive dementia care plays in helping people with the condition to live healthy, happy lives!
The Challenges of Living with Dementia
Dementia describes a range of symptoms that are brought on by conditions which cause damage to the brain and get worse over time. The type of dementia that most of us will be familiar with is Alzheimer’s disease, as this is the most common, but there are many others. As person-centred homecare providers, we understand that everyone is unique and will be affected by their dementia in a different way, although some broadly experienced symptoms include:
- communication difficulties
- memory problems
- changes in behaviour
- reduced cognitive abilities
The effects of dementia can make it harder for people to understand their environment, which often leads to them feeling higher levels of disorientation, anxiety and stress. Adjusting to these changes can be challenging, but the key is to find positive strategies that can help the person and their family cope in a way that supports everyone’s wellbeing.
Delivering Positive Dementia Care
It’s a well-used phrase but what does ‘positive dementia care’ really mean in practical terms? There’s no exhaustive list, but taking a positive approach involves:
- Trying to understand the person’s own experience - as cognitive processing abilities decline, people with dementia often rely on their senses and feelings more, so it helps to know what their individual difficulties are and how this affects the way they experience the world.
- Taking the time to build a relationship with the person – finding out about their life history, preferences and personality is vital when trying to understand behaviours and devise helpful strategies.
- Encouraging and enabling the person to maintain social relationships and continue to take part in activities and hobbies that they enjoy.
- Focussing on retained abilities and not on what the person has ‘lost’.
- Keeping to a routine and making sure the person feels they have a safe and familiar environment can really help to reduce confusion and anxiety.
- Language is important – the words we use have a big impact on how we view and treat people with dementia. For example, avoiding words like ‘victim’ and ‘sufferer’ and using more positive language goes a long way in changing attitudes and perception.
The Benefits of Person Centred Homecare for People Living with Dementia
The effects of dementia mean that people living with the condition and their families will more than likely need an increasing amount of care and support as the dementia progresses. Many people assume that this means an inevitable move into a care home which, for people who already live with confusion, can be particularly distressing and cause symptoms to get worse. Fortunately, the option of high quality care at home enables a person with dementia to remain in safe, familiar surroundings, get the tailored support they need and maintain a great quality of life!
At Bluebird Care Lewisham & Southwark, our everyday experience shows us what a positive difference a dementia-friendly environment can make. If you’d like to know how we could help you or a loved-one who is living with dementia, get in touch with our friendly homecare team. You can contact us using our online form or, if you’d prefer to talk to someone, you can give us a call on 020-7635-1930. We’re here to help!