A GUIDE TO DEMENTIA NURSING CARE
What is dementia?
Dementia is one of the most devastating conditions of the mind for both patients and their families. Rather than being a specific disease, the term is an overarching label for a band of symptoms that are associated with a decline in cognitive ability and, in particular, a loss of memory.
If dementia becomes severe enough, then it can even lead to the inability to perform basic day-to-day functions, due to a lack of visual perception, reasoning and judgement. Essential things like remembering to pay for bills, planning meals and communicating with people become far more difficult as time progresses, which can put stress on both the patient and their family.
Currently, 850,000 people live with dementia in the UK; a figure which is expected to rise drastically to over one million in less than 10 years. If you count the families of those patients, too, there are currently millions of people impacted by dementia in some way currently in the UK.
THE EARLY SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA
If you’ve noticed that a loved one seems confused and is finding it difficult to perform normal tasks, like putting on their clothes properly, or there seems to have been a marked change in their personality, these may be the early stages of dementia. Drastic mood swings, anxiety and poor judgement in older people are symptoms that should certainly be investigated further by a doctor. If, unfortunately, your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, then it’s important that they get the best help possible to ensure that they retain their quality of life.
As well as having a profound effect on the person living with dementia, the condition also impacts the close members of the family through a variety of ways. First of all, as the symptoms of dementia worsen over time, the sufferer will need more and more assistance with daily tasks, which can put pressure on the other members of the family as well as foster resentment and anger in both the family and the patient.
At the same time, people with dementia may begin to become more and more impatient and irritable, which can be hard for those caring for them to deal with and understand. Similarly, people living with dementia may start forgetting the close people in their life, even their own children, and if their child has become their carer this can be very hard to deal with.
The slow deterioration of a mother, father, brother, sister or other relative can be very difficult for a carer to deal with. It can be stressful enough having to care for the patient, but also dealing with the trauma of them forgetting you and seeming like a different person can be very distressing.
With that all in mind, it’s often suggested that people with dementia – especially as it progresses in severity – should be moved into a care home where they can be looked after properly and provide the family with a break. Although this comes with its own feelings of guilt for the family, knowing that their loved one is being looked after by professionals who know how to treat the patient can provide peace of mind.
WHY DEMENTIA NURSING CARE IS SO IMPORTANT
Caring for someone living with dementia can be a very difficult and distressing experience, as already described. There is a constant worry that they might have a fall or leave the oven on and cause a fire. Memory loss and confusion can be a dangerous combination when unsupervised all of the time.
In a nursing home for dementia, there will always be a professional nurse nearby to make sure that these sorts of things don’t occur and to provide medical assistance if needed. However, care in a dementia nursing home goes much further than that.
Although people with dementia have short term memory problems, they tend to have very strong long term memories and enjoy reminiscing about their early years. Many nursing homes will have facilities that encourage this, like rooms which are full of objects and images from the past which can trigger happy memories. In turn, this can help the person suffering to remember their family members who they may have found it difficult to remember without a little stimulation.
Similarly, dementia nursing homes are laid out in a simple to navigate way, with plenty of clear signs and colour coded walls to ensure that the residents can get around as independently as possible, which could prove difficult if living in a large home. The nursing staff are, of course, always on hand to help when things do get a little too confusing and can also sit down with residents for a chat at night to help them relax and forge close relationships with them.
The risk of dangerous falls is significantly lessened when living in a nursing home and, if and when medical problems do arise, they can be dealt with straight away, professionally and with care by the staff. From the little things like communication and care to medical treatment, dementia nursing homes always provide the best dementia care possible.
YOU SHOULD CHOOSE A NURSING HOME FOR DEMENTIA PATIENTS FOR YOUR LOVED ONE
Wanting to have your loved one by your side when they are unwell is a natural human urge and why many people prefer to have their loved one move in with them. However, not knowing exactly how to talk to them and treat a medical situation properly can sometimes have an adverse impact on the person living with dementia.
Similarly, a lot of pressure and feelings of guilt can be felt by families as they try to care for their loved one. Feeling that they cannot do what’s best and getting frustrated can often lead to resentment. However, nursing homes often have very flexible visiting hours which means that the family are still free to have strong connections with their loved one whilst also knowing they’re being properly looked after. It’s likely that you’ll still be working and this can put financial pressure on too, which a nursing home would help to alleviate.
Although feelings of loneliness are, unfortunately, a reality we all have to live with as we enter old age, these feelings can be exacerbated with dementia. However, by entering a nursing home environment, the residents will be free to chat to each other as well as the staff and have a number of outings and activities available to help stimulate the mind. As well as this social interaction, the regularity of meal times can help to provide someone who is living with dementia a structure that they may forget without guidance.
Adding all of these elements together, although it may be a difficult choice to place your loved one in a home, on the whole, doing so is often the most practical and caring option. When it comes to their safety, medical attention and the little things that can go along way, nursing homes and their staff are experts at making sure that every resident gets the best dementia care possible.
RANDOLPH HILL NURSING HOME PROVIDES DEMENTIA CARE FOR OUR RESIDENTS
At Randolph Hill Nursing Home Group, we’ve been providing empathetic, professional and skilled care to elderly residents in Scotland for well over three decades. A major part of our service is the high-quality accommodation that we provide to our residents as well as making sure that every resident is looked after as well as possible. This combination has given us a great reputation amongst the communities we serve.
As a dementia nursing home, we provide person-centred care which puts our residents at the centre of everything that we do. If a loved one requires dementia care in Edinburgh, look no further than Randolph Nursing Home Group when choosing between dementia care homes.
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