How to know when it’s time to access dementia support

December 11, 2023
December 10, 2023

Dementia is a threat to the way things should be. It’s confusing, disruptive, frightening and more. And all that makes it hard to know when it’s time for a transition in someone’s life.

BlueCare dementia care consultant Nerida Pankhurst answers some common questions.

Q: How do you know if your loved one has dementia?

It’s different for everyone, but common changes include:

  • Memory loss.
  • Problems with logic and planning.
  • Confusion about time and place.
  • Problems communicating.
  • Issues with sight.
  • Withdrawal.

To get an accurate diagnosis, start with a visit to your GP. They may refer you to specialists for tests.

Q: How do you know if someone living with dementia can remain at home?

Many people with dementia do live independently in their own home. Consider if your loved one can:

  • Still eat well.
  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • Stay on top of health or medical conditions.

Emotional needs have to be considered too:

  • Are they still engaging with the world?
  • Do they feel confused or distressed?
  • Are they safe?

Whether a loved one is staying in their home or moving into yours, there are options for dementia home care support – including visits from specially trained dementia carers, and day respite centres.

Q: When do you decide it’s time to move into a residential aged care option?

Moving into an aged care home can be a hard and emotional decision to make. Here are some tips:

  • Get support for the decision by talking with your family, GP, and any others who have a good understanding of dementia.
  • Think about the wellbeing of your loved one and ask if they would benefit from the social opportunities that residential care can offer, an environment designed to reduce falls and other physical risks, and trained carers to look after things like personal hygiene and medication management.

With a team taking care of the fundamentals, you might be better resourced to connect with your loved one, make memories, and enrich their quality of life.

Q: How do you choose a good aged care facility for your loved one?

Start by finding the options close to where your loved one has family and connections to community, then book a visit. Here are some things to consider:

  • How does it ‘feel’ when you first walk in?
  • How are residents and staff engaging with each other?
  • Is there a schedule of regular on and off-site activities?
  • Are meals cooked fresh onsite?
  • Can family members stay for lunch or dinner, or book an area for a celebration or a gathering?
  • What’s the security like?

Also ask about specialist dementia support:

  • Do staff have specialist dementia care training?
  • Are there other resources to support residents with dementia?

Most importantly, look for a place where your loved one with dementia will feel at home – a place where they’ll be comfortable, happy and settled. Read BlueCare’s helpful guide to choosing a residential care home.

More Australian families than ever are dealing with dementia. By donating to BlueCare today, you can help them – no matter where they are on their dementia journey. Learn more about BlueCare’s dementia support here.

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