Caring for someone with Dementia

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More than 47,000,000 people in the world are living with dementia. Numbers are expected to increase by 300% over the next thirty years.

Dementia – of which Alzheimer’s is a form – is a horrible disease that takes away mental faculties and even a personality; it is not just sufferers that are affected. There are millions of people providing billion of hours of care for loved ones suffering from dementia. Caring for someone with dementia can become a full-time job and many caregivers admit the burden of care has affected their own health.

Providing care for dementia patients is by no means easy. If you find yourself in this position, effective strategies for communication and care can make things a bit easier.

Helping People with Dementia

Communication

As your loved one moves through the stages of dementia, their ability to communicate is going to get worse. Keeping communication effective for as long as possible is essential for their mental well-being.

You will have to learn how to communicate effectively throughout the stages of dementia.

  • Turning off the TV or radio. Close curtains or blinds and shut the door. This will help your loved one focus. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
  • Don’t start talking until you have your loved one’s attention. Ensure they are listening. Address them by name, remind them who you are if necessary, and use gentle touches to keep them focused.
  • Remain positive in attitude and body language. Although your loved one may have experienced some mental decline, they will pick up on body language. Try to keep open, don’t fold your arms, keep your tone upbeat, and your mood positive.
  • Speak clearly and slowly but don’t dumb things down – this may only cause more frustration. Repeat things if necessary.
  • Remember to listen – spend as much time listening as speaking. You;ll need to be patient and may need to ask them to repeat things. Don’t get frustrated!
  • As you chat with your friend, client or loved one, there may come a point when they cannot remember certain words, or they lose track of their thoughts. They may become agitated. Acknowledge their feelings and offer a distraction to avoid further distress.

In the early to middle stages of dementia, your friend, client or loved one will have some awareness that their mental ability is getting worse. This can be frustrating and scary, which is why it is so important for you to be patient and understanding in the moments when they are really struggling to communicate. Just be patient, ask questions, and make sure to listen intently.

Keeping Dementia Sufferers Safe

In the early stages of dementia, they may still be able to care for themselves, albeit with a little help. As things progresses, your loved one may struggle with daily tasks such as preparing meals, bathing, and getting dressed. Part of your job as a caregiver is to make adaptations in the home to ensure safety.

  • Take an objective look around the house to spot potential danger zones, such as the garage, storage room, or basement, and install new locks or other safety devices where needed.
  • Disable the cooker so your loved one cannot use the it without supervision – you may need to make adaptations to the sink and bath, as well.
  • Double smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Install locks to keep your loved one from wandering outside – make sure the locks are hidden or out of reach.
  • Add extra lighting to keep stairwells, hallways, bathrooms, and doorways well-lit to prevent accidents.
  • Put medications and cleaning products in a locked drawer or cabinet – if your loved one can still be trusted with medication, make sure they have a pill organizer that you refill for them.
  • Install safety measures in the bathroom, such as grab bars and non-slip mats. Avoid using rugs that might slip out of place.
  • When you start to become concerned for their safety at home, you might consider installing a camera or smart speaker so you can see / talk to them easily.

Handling Difficult Behaviors

It is common for those with dementia to wander off, often without any destination in mind. Try taking your loved one for short walks to reduce restlessness. You may also need to install new door locks or create physical barriers so they can’t leave without your knowledge. Technology can also help here with sensors, smart locks and cameras.

Personality changes are also not uncommon. Your loved one may become combative, impatient or agitated at times, sometime even to the point of aggression. Try to remember that they have no control over their behavior and don’t mean to hurt you. These behaviors typically have a trigger – fear, confusion or environmental factors can cause unpredictable behaviour. If you can identify the trigger, you may be able to avoid problems.

In due course, cognitive ability and awareness will decline to the point that the patient does not react or communicate in any way. Before reaching that stage, however, they may develop repetitive speech or paranoia.

Actions, and behavior may worsen at the end of each day. This is known as “sundowning.” Try to remain patient and identify and understand the triggers and underlying factors that may be contributing to these actions. You may also need to develop distraction tactics if they become fixated on something.

Think About Professional Help

It could be a full 10 years or more from diagnosis to needing full-time care. That is a long time for carers to be putting someone else’s needs before their own. At a point, you are going to have to ask yourself some difficult questions – is it time to seek professional dementia care help?

24 hour care for Alzheimer’s patients is very expensive, but your loved one may be more comfortable in their own home and that might mitigate some of the other challenges as their dementia progresses.

One option could be regular 1 or 2 hour care visits to give relatives some respite. Allow them to get out to the shops or to socialise. Domiciliary care companies are experienced at looking after dementia suffers and can be a great support.

If in-home care is not an option, moving them into a care facility may be a better choice. Caring for a loved one suffering from dementia is exhausting, both physically and mentally. Remember, your loved one has no control over what is happening to them. While you can empathize with them and offer love and support, you need to remain realistic about what is and is not possible.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

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Global initiative to use wearables detect Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched an initiative to revolutionise the early detection of diseases like Alzheimer’s. The project will harness and analyse a wealth of digital data to develop signatures of disease – or “fingerprints” – that can be then detected using wearable technologies, such as smart watches.

The collaboration aims to raise up to £100m of investment by 2030 to build and trial its diagnostic device on a large scale. Bill Gates and Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, are early investors.

Diseases like Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, start to develop in the brain up to two decades before symptoms of dementia begin to show. Researchers worldwide now agree that future treatments and preventions will have greatest benefit when given as early as possible in the disease.

Find out more on the Alzheimer Research UK website.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

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NHS Trusts trialing video conferencing

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The chief information officer for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, is championing the use of technology to improve the patient journey and enrich the experience of their staff.

An IT strategy runs from 2018 to 2021, that is largely around the programme of work agreed with NHS Digital.

One pilot scheme is being tested with a care home in the region.

The reason for the pilot is that the hospital sees 180 patients a year that didn’t actually need to attend the hospital – with many of them coming from a care home setting.

The pilot means we providing a small plastic suitcase with a tablet computer and a small number of Bluetooth devices that allow the care home staff, under the guidance of clinical staff at the hospital, to check the patient’s temperature and blood pressure and feed that into a virtual triage of the patient.

They can then add other clinical parties to the conversation – including an on-call GP, mental health and social care staff, or other clinicians, in order to reach a decision about what the best course of action is for a particular patient.

Apart from offering a fast, more efficient service, it eliminates the need for some patients to go to hospital and generate a saving in excess of £150,000.

NHS Foundation Trusts should continue to innovate so they can generate a return on investment through better patient care, diagnoses, staff experience and an increase in efficiency.

Read more about the work being done here.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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Ofcom Tackles Broadband Pricing for the Elderly

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New measures have been designed to protect elderly customers from high broadband prices.

Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has announced a number of measures associated with broadband contracts and Internet Service Providers.

The new measures are designed to protect the elderly from high prices and ensure they are treated fairly. Additionally, internet service providers are now required to cut prices for out-of-contract customers.

Ofcom is seeking to ensure vunerable customers don’t end up paying more money for their loyalty to a particular service provider.

Ofcom found that around 40 percent of broadband customers (8.8 million) are out of contract, and that significant savings are available to those who sign up to a new deal with their current provider.

As a result, the UK’s largest service providers (including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, EE and Plusnet) have made a number of commitments to protect customers and cut prices for those who are out of contract, from March 2020.

TalkTalk and Virgin Media will carry out annual price reviews with their vulnerable customers. While BT, EE, Plusnet and TalkTalk will protect out-of-contract customers from above-inflation price rises.

On 15 February 2020 broadband customers must also be told when their contract is coming to an end, and shown the best deals available.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

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VR to Help People with Dementia

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A new trial by the NHS is researching whether Virtual Reality (VR) technology can help people that are suffering with dementia.

Watch the video from the BBC below, or visit the original BBC page

About Deckchair Care

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Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

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New Technology to help people with dementia.

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Technology is increasingly being used to help people live for as long as possible in their own home.

The expanding tech research programme aims to improve care for the increasing numbers of people living with dementia.

Recent Tech Developments

  • The Care Research and Technology Centre lauched.
  • A project to use self-driving car tech (Lidar) to help look after people at home.
  • A smartphone app to remind people with dementia how to carry out everyday tasks.
  • An experiment to personalise live radio.

The aim is that sensors around the house or on the body to track signals such as heartbeat, blood pressure and body temperature, gait, brain activity and sleep.

Using AI (artificial intelligence) this information can alert familiy or carers of any risks or changes. For example illness or fall risk. Catching illness early can avoid hospital stays.

Memory and cognitive function are also being researched and monitored. This can then be used to intervene early to assist them if they are showing signs of being agitated.

Dementia also causes problems with sleep. Motion sensors in beds and sheets can track problems. Sensors can also alert if a cooker is left on or if there is liquid on the floor.

Light detection and ranging – Lidar – uses safe low-power laser pulses to build up a three-dimensional scan of objects and people moving around a room. This information can be used to spot deviations in diet, toilet habits, sleep or mobility. It could also activate an alarm if there is an emergency, such as a fall.

Sensors in the home can be better because people with dementia either forget to wear them, or just don’t want to. It also avoids privacy concerns that cameras present.

Monitoring consumption of electricity and water can alert carers if there is an unusual deviation from the normal pattern.

The Alzheimer’s Society is looking for new ways to improve the lives of people with dementia. It helps start-ups with funding from its crowdsourcing programme.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

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6 Ways A Smart Speaker Can Help Elderly Parents.

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Don’t write off the idea of getting a smart speaker for the elderly, just because they traditionally shun new technology, or struggle with the latest devices.

Google Home or Amazon aren’t just for the millennials or generation X. Because they are easy to set up and use, they are a great addition to anyone’s home, including elderly parent’s.

Hands-free voice activated.

Smart speakers have a great interface – straightforward, natural voice commands.

What’s better is that you only need your voice to activate a smart speaker features. This is especially helpful for anyone with mobility issues, vision loss, or reduced dexterity.

Once the speaker is set up, anyone can ask it to set timers and alarms, play music, add items to a to-do list and much more.

Search the internet without a screen

For the elderly who haven’t yet interacted with the internet through a tablet, computer or smart phone, a smart speakers provides an easy entry.

There’s no fuss struggling with an app on a mobile device. Anyone, young or old, can use a smart speaker to hear the latest news, get weather updates and sports scores, search the web for anything and even buy things.

Stay connected

Google home is especially good at keeping the elderly connected. Although it cannot call 999 during an emergency, it can call any other UK phone number. In the event that they need help but cannot get to the phone, this can be really useful, they can just say “OK GOOGLE, CALL JANNET”.

Even if the situation isn’t an emergency, smart speakers also work as a great speaker phone to chat with family and friends.

Home Automation

A smart speaker can be the control centre for a growing array of home devices, from turning on the lights to controlling the heating. With a smart speaker and a power socket or smart lighblub, people will be able to speak a simple command, like “OK Google, turn off the lights” to control their lamps hands-free.

A personal assistant

Most smart speakers have assistants to promt reminders and important information.

For example, “OK Google, remember that Deckchair Care are coming tomorrow at 9am” (Deckchair can even send these reminders to anyones personal assistant! Other reminders might be for medication or birthdays.

Entertainment

A smart speaker is a great device for staying entertained.

First, there are hundreds games you can play with your voice to engage the mind. There are classic options like Blackjack and Tic Tac Toe, and even popular real-world games like Jeopardy.

For the elderly struggling with vision loss, audio books can be purchased and then streamed through the speaker.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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Virtual Cycling System Helping Dementia Patients

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Residents in a Liverpool care home have been trialling an exercise bike connected to a virtual reality screen to go on virtual bike rides across the world.

The system from Norway enables dementia patients to feel a sense of independence.

It’s also obviously great exercise, so helps with general wellbeing. There is also some evidence that exercise slows down cognitive decline.

Residents in a Liverpool care home have been trying the system out. Watch the video below.

 

See the original article on the BBC website here

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service on our website here.

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Example of a National Social Care Funding System

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Every rich country has a problem with social care, and two of them have come up with potential solutions.

Long Term Social Care Solutions

Germany and Japan have developed comprehensive responses to an ageing population.

Germany introduced a mandatory long-term care insurance system in 1995. The scheme was designed to ensure that everyone got something, no one gets something for nothing and everyone puts something in. A compulsory levy is paid by workers with employers contributing 50%. Retired people pay in full.

Japan started a similar system in 2000. A national tax is paid by workers over 40.

Both solutions centralise funding and revenue, then pay out funds to be delivered locally.

Read more about these solutions here (pay wall may apply).

 

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service on our website here.

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New BBC Website to Help Dementia Sufferers

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A new website https://musicmemories.bbcrewind.co.uk/ aims to help dementia sufferers by connecting them with the songs they remember and love.

A phenomenon known as the “memory bump” means the music we hear between the ages of 10 and 30 – when we become independent – carries more emotional resonance than any other.

Music therapy has been shown to alleviate depression, anxiety, hallucinations and mobility problems in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

The website, which launched recently, allows people to browse nearly 2000 songs, classical works and TV theme tunes from the last 100 years. Creating a playlist of personally meaningful music.

Read more about the benefits of music in a BBC article here
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-45664458

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester. Read more about our independent care service on our website here.

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