Dementia Care Discussed by Bristol Care Homes

Dementia Care in care or nursing homes is for individuals who have had a diagnosis of dementia who are no longer able to live independently at home even with support from a relative, friend or paid carer. Anyone with dementia needs professional care and extra support to help them to maintain their psychological and physical well-being and it should be in a care home who specialise in dementia care. Dementia Care is very different to elderly care and needs carers and nurses who have been specially trained.

Caring for a loved one at home with dementia is often very challenging, especially as dementia progresses. People who have dementia have a progressive biological brain disorder which results in it being more and more difficult to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, and take care of themselves. Dementia can cause mood swings and often changes someone’s personality and behaviour and this is very demanding and challenging for relatives trying to care for them as well as often being quite distressing.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome or a group of related symptoms which are associated with an ongoing decline of the brain functioning. There are many different causes and types of dementia and it is often confused with Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is caused when a person’s brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not always the only one.

What is Dementia Care?

Dementia care is for people with dementia who can no longer manage at home on their own, even if they have relatives or friends at home who are caring for them. Dementia is a progressive disease and the symptoms will worsen as time progresses often making it difficult and stressful for the carers looking after them. Sometimes it gets to a stage when people with dementia living at home are no longer safe as they may wander or have mood swings that can be quite frightening both for them and their carer. Moving into a care home that offers specialist dementia care is often the last resort but the only option for dementia patients. A care home which specialises in dementia care will ensure the person maintains their psychological and physical well-being and will understand their physical and mental needs, we call this “life care”.

The changes in dementia symptoms are often small to start with but they will often get worse and become severe enough to affect theirs and their families daily lives. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing dementia.

What are the early signs of Dementia?

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it more and more difficult to carry out familiar daily tasks
  • Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right words
  • Being confused about the time and place even if they are somewhere familiar
  • Mood and behaviour changes

How can you tell if someone has Dementia?

It can be difficult to distinguish between normal forgetfulness that comes in our latter years and mild dementia or the sever decline and onset of a more serious condition.

  • They may be more vague in their everyday conversations
  • They may be suffering memory loss which is impacting their day to day life and routines
  • They may have short term memory loss and not be able to remember what they have just done or the conversation they have just had
  • They may have difficulty doing everyday tasks and take longer to do routine tasks
  • They may be losing enthusiasm or interest in regular activities
  • They may not seem themselves and become vague with familiar people and activities
  • They may have difficulty planning or solving problems, however simple they are
  • They may find it difficult to understand visual or verbal information or instructions
  • They may have problems speaking or writing
  • They may be misplacing things regularly
  • They may be showing signs of poor judgement or decision-making
  • They may be showing signs of frustration and confusion

What makes Dementia Care different from elderly care?

A care home that specialises in dementia care will have trained dementia carers who will support your loved one, with a personalised care plan, so they can continue to live as independently as possible. They will understand a person’s individual needs as well as understanding how their brain works with dementia and provide caring and supportive care that doesn’t scare them or make them feel any less independent.

What are the challenges of caring for someone with Dementia?

There are many challenges when it comes to caring for a loved one with dementia and the most difficult ones are their personality changing so you feel like they are no longer the person you once knew and spent your life with, as well as personality and behaviour changes. Being patient, and compassionate is always needed and you will need support from dementia specialists who can help you with strategies to overcome the challenges you are facing. As dementia progresses you will often need help from a carer who will come into your home who will get to know your loved one as well as rest bite care to ensure you get a break from the pressures and emotions involved with caring for them. You may also reach a time when your loved one will need to have 24/7 care in a care home which specialises in dementia to ensure both theirs and your safety and well being.

Dementia CareHow do you cope with caring for someone with Dementia?

Always set a positive mood for your daily interaction, they may not be able to remember half an hour ago but they will pick up on your mood.

Ensure you have strategies to use to get your loved one’s attention and to ensure they listen to you.

Be simple and clear with your messages.

Give them one instruction at a time to ensure they don’t get confused with multiple instructions.

Ask simple and answerable questions which don’t need them to remember something from earlier in the day or in the short term.

Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart so you can see how they are reacting to a situation and how you can reassure them and calm them if they need it.

If they get agitated, frustrated or upset try to distract and redirect their attention, often a physical touch of the hand or shoulder will also help.

Continue to be affectionate with them and reassure them with your actions and verbal responses. They may not be the person they were but they still need to know you love and care for them.

Dementia often makes someone feel confused, anxious and unsure of themselves and sometimes they will say something has happened when it hasn’t. In these situations, it’s often best to go along with them and not tell them they are wrong but give them comfort and support which will reassure them.

Hugging, holding hands, touching, and lots of praise will often get them to respond in difficult situations and will make them feel loved and reassured.

Take time to remember the past with them as this is something which is often soothing and reassuring for them. They might not remember what they have just done or said but they will often still have their memories of your past together which they will love to talk about and remember.

It will often cause them distress if you ask them questions that they need to use their short term memory for, so it’s always best to try and avoid this if you can.

Ensure you still talk and laugh together as this is great medicine for anyone with dementia and they will need this to feel comfortable and secure with you.

How does Dementia influence a person’s care needs?

The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is more than them just having the condition. Carers, friends and family will help a person with dementia to feel valued and included by being sensitive to them as an individual, and focus on promoting their well being and meeting their needs.

As dementia progresses they will feel more and more confused when they can’t make sense of something or don’t understand what is happening around them. This often results in them feeling frustrated and angry with themselves which can result in outward emotions being shown to the people around them.

What should you think about when it comes to Dementia Care?

You should always seek support from dementia specialists when you start to care for someone with dementia. They will help you to understand the disease, what is happening at different stages and how to cope with everyday life. Don’t ever try to do it on your own, there is lots of support and advice available for you which will help you understand and implement strategies which will help your loved one as well as you. It is very demanding caring for someone with dementia and unfortunately, it will often progress and the symptoms will worsen and there may be a time that you have to think about 24/7 care in a specialist care home to keep you and your loved one safe and in good mental health, as well as caring for your own mental well being.

How do you know when a loved one would be better cared for in a care home?

Many people know when it is time for their loved one to move into a care home, they may be getting more and more distressed with daily activities and life and you may be finding it more and more difficult to cope. Many carers, family members or friends will have an idea about what the person with dementia would want and it’s always a good idea to talk to your spouse, partner mum or dad early on about what they would want to happen and where they would want to go if full-time care is needed. This is often a difficult conversation to have but it’s better to have it before anyone becomes unwell and will give you peace of mind that what you are doing is what they would want.

Always plan any changes in care with the person themselves, they may not fully understand it but involving them is the right thing to do and ensures they have an input and remain involved in the next stage in their life.

Always be positive about any changes or a move into a care setting, talk about the benefits it will have for them, giving them as much choice as possible, and ensure they feel that they still have some control in the decisions made.

It will be a very difficult time for you when you are making these decisions and you will often feel a huge amount of guilt so you will need support from family, friends and professionals throughout any changes in care.

What should you look for in a Care Home when it comes to Dementia Care?

Dementia UK offers a huge amount of support, guidance and information when you are caring for someone with dementia including:

Finding the right home
Choosing the right residential care home can be daunting for families. It is possible to get a list of local care homes from Social Services or The Elderly Accommodation Counsel which helps people to make informed choices about their housing and care needs. It also runs a housing and care database that has over 40,000 care providers on it.

Age UK provides some great advice on what to look for when considering a care home. They have a detailed guide, which includes a checklist of what you should think about when shortlisting and viewing care homes. Age UK has also produced a video which will provide you with some guidance.

The Residents and Relatives Association provides support and help regarding choosing and moving a relative into a care home and if you have concerns about a care home. They also have a helpline (020 7359 8136), which operates Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm, and provides advice on what to look for when choosing a care home and how to pay for it. Age UK also has a fact sheet on how to pay for care.

Make sure to check each care home’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report to see in advance what they do well.

This is a very personal thing. Call and arrange visits at the homes to get a feel for how they care for people and see for yourself whether your relative would be happy there. You could arrive earlier than your appointed time to observe the daily life of the home and get a true feel for it. Consider things like: do the staff make you feel welcome? Do they seem interested in your relative? Do they ask questions about their background and interests? Is there a garden or activities, such as music therapy, that your relative would enjoy? Do they mention care assessment and applying professional life care?

Bristol Care Homes

Bristol Care Homes offer personal dementia care at all 4 care homes in Bristol. We are specialists in dementia care and each of our homes offers different types of care which we will guide you through to help you decide which one will be best for your loved one.

We have specialist Dementia Carers and Nurses in all of our homes who understand the physical and mental needs of anyone suffering from dementia and how their needs will change as their condition progresses.

Glebe House – Offers residential dementia care in a specific unit adapted to support residents suffering from dementia. Residents at Glebe House generally only have dementia as their primary health need, there may be some other underlying conditions, however, dementia would be the core reason for their care home requirements.

Beech House – Offers residential dementia care in a specific unit adapted to support residents with dementia as a primary need.

Field House – Offers Nursing Dementia in a specific unit adapted to support residents with more complex dementia needs as well as any nursing needs.

Quarry House – Offers both residential and nursing dementia care and has the ability to support complex dementia and health needs.

At Bristol Care Homes we understand that it is a harrowing time for everyone when you feel you are at the stage when your loved one needs full-time care and our compassionate team will help and support you decide which of our homes is best suited to their needs.

About Bristol Care Homes

Bristol Care Homes are an independently owned group of 4 high-quality care homes in different locations around Bristol. Our dedicated team provides quality and caring services every day and our founding vision is to provide excellence in all aspects of care for all our residents.

Our service leads the way in care home provision and this shows in our Care Quality Commission Ratings:

Glebe House – Outstanding Glebe House Care Home Bristol CQC 

Beech House – Outstanding Beech House Care Home Bristol CQC 

Field House – Good Field House Care Home Bristol CQC 

Quarry House – Good Quarry House Care Home Bristol CQC 

We are always looking to be innovative in our services and we offer many features which will help you or your loved one to maintain a high level of fulfilment and independence in life. Many of our services are unique to Bristol Care Homes and include:

  • Beautiful gardens with plenty of greenery, trees and flowers
  • Environmentally designed buildings with 24/7 air circulation always keeping the atmosphere fresh and airy
  • Spacious rooms with increased ceiling height which gives the feel of openness
  • Wide corridors for ease of access
  • Television, DVD Player and direct line telephones in each room
  • Internet access in residents rooms
  • Customised top quality wheelchairs provided when needed
  • High technology baths and walk-in showers
  • Minibus services with a regular schedule of trips
  • Regular maintenance and replacement cycles of new carpets and decoration
  • Top Quality chefs producing tasty, varied and nutritious meals
  • Programme of interesting and stimulating social activities for all our residents including Animal Therapy
  • Warm, friendly and caring staff who get to know each resident and take time with them every day to ensure they are happy and fulfilled

Contact us today to find out more about us, the services we offer and how we can help you find the Best Dementia Care Home in Bristol.