Caring for someone with dementia brings its own unique challenges. There are several different types of dementia, with many different causes and symptoms, so it can be difficult to decide how best to care for your loved one. Dementia care at home offers lots of benefits; your loved one will be able to stay in familiar surroundings and stick to existing routines.
This is our ultimate guide to dementia care at home. We’ll share practical tips, advice, and support services for carers.
Dementia progresses differently for each person. Some people develop symptoms very gradually and are able to stay independent for a long time. Others may need more support relatively quickly after diagnosis. Despite what you may believe, it is often possible to care for someone with dementia at home. In fact, more and more people are choosing to do so, wanting to avoid residential care homes if possible. According to Carers UK, around 6.5 million people in the UK are carers – that’s 1 in 8 adults.
You may not see yourself as a carer, especially if the person you are caring for is a partner, relative, or friend. In fact, according to the NHS, it takes an average of two years to acknowledge your role as a carer. A carer is anyone who looks after a relative, partner, or friend who needs help due to illness or disability.
When you’re caring for somebody with dementia, it’s easy to put your own needs to one side. Remember that carers need support too. There are lots of useful resources for carers – make sure you’re making the most of them. See if you qualify for carer’s allowance and other benefits. Apply for a carer’s assessment via your local council’s adult social services team. You may also wish to look for training courses that could help you learn more about looking after someone with dementia.
It’s only natural to want to stay at home in familiar surroundings. However, after a dementia diagnosis, you may need to make some changes around the house. While it isn’t advisable to make major changes overnight, it’s important to make your home as safe as possible. Here are the most important things to consider:
A well-lit home can reduce the risk of falls and minimise confusion while moving around the house. Make sure curtains are open during the daytime to maximise natural light.
It may be a good idea to install automatic light sensors, especially in the bathroom and on the stairs. This way, the lights will turn on automatically as someone passes, with no need to fumble for a light switch in the dark. These steps can also help prevent sundowning.
Reducing noise can help with concentration. If no one is watching the television or listening to the radio, switch them off. This can minimise distractions and help someone with dementia to focus on a task or conversation. In addition, background noise can become irritating or uncomfortable, particularly for those who wear hearing aids.
It’s very important to remove trip hazards such as rugs and loose cables. Furthermore, it’s best to avoid flooring that is shiny or a similar colour to the walls, as this can cause some confusion. If in doubt, go for plain, matte flooring. Where carpeting or rugs cannot be moved or replaced, tape down the edges where necessary to eliminate trip hazards.
Memory issues are one of dementia’s main symptoms. As the condition progresses, your loved one may struggle to remember where things are or how to use them. Visual reminders can be incredibly helpful. You can create useful signs using a combination of pictures and words. Place them on doors and cupboards so it’s easy to tell what’s inside.
For more advice on making your home dementia-friendly, read the Alzheimer’s Society guide.
Caring for someone you love who has dementia can be demanding and stressful. Your instinct may be to put your own needs aside and focus solely on the person you’re caring for, but this isn’t helpful for either of you. Taking time to look after yourself will help you cope better with your role as a carer. On the other hand, neglecting your own needs can quickly lead to exhaustion and burnout. Be sure to ask for support where you need it and take a break when you can.
Caring can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s also a lot of hard work. We all need a break from time to time. Respite care is a great way to ensure that your loved one is looked after while you take some time to recharge. This could be for as little as a few hours – allowing you to put your feet up for an afternoon or meet up with friends. Alternatively, it could last for a week or more, giving you time to go on a proper break. Without respite care, your loved one may need to stay in a care home while you take time to rest. For people with dementia, this change of surroundings can be confusing and stressful. Respite Care at home is the ideal solution.
Respite care from Abing Homecare is available for as little as £19 per visit.
To find out more, call our friendly team today on 0800 008 7000.
Remember it is always okay to ask for help. Family and friends will often be eager to help care for your loved one too. There are also several charitable organisations that can provide support and advice.
There are also ways to talk to other carers online. You can share tips and advice with people who understand what you and your loved one are going through.
You may be able to provide dementia care at home for a long time without extra support. Alternatively, your loved one may have new and complex needs which you need some help to meet. Before homecare services became widely available, this might have meant moving your loved one into a care home, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Dementia care at home can include help from professional carers too.
Here at Abing Homecare, we offer professional, affordable care at home for people with a variety of medical conditions.
With domiciliary care, a trained carer can visit your loved one at home as often as is needed. They can provide support with tasks such as eating, dressing, personal hygiene, and more. This allows your loved one to receive professional care from the comfort of their own home. It also takes some of the pressure off you as a carer, helping you to support your loved one at home, where they feel most comfortable.
Domiciliary care is totally flexible, so you can tailor your plan to match your loved one’s exact needs. Whether you need someone to help them out of bed in the morning or check in on them at mealtimes, dementia care at home can help.
As your loved one’s condition progresses, they may require full-time care and support. At this point, many people feel as though they have no choice but to find a care home. However, there is an alternative. Live-in care for people with dementia is an increasingly popular option.
A professional carer will move into the home and provide round-the-clock support. They can assist your loved one with medication, mobility, household tasks, and meal preparation.
Arranging homecare for someone with dementia is simple. The first step is to give our friendly team a call or get in touch online. We’ll be able to conduct a full, detailed Needs Assessment free of charge. We’ll work closely with you to find the best care plan for your loved one’s needs and match them with a professional carer. You’ll be able to request a carer with certain skills or traits if necessary, such as someone who can drive or someone who likes pets, for example.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 22nd March 2022 to reflect current information.