Specialist Alzheimer’s Care in Bristol
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease can be very difficult as you worry about the future and try and understand how the disease could impact your life and those around you as it progresses and when it comes to decisions about the Alzheimers Care they may need.
We have 4 high-quality nursing care homes in different locations around Bristol. We provide outstanding care to our residents and our aim is to support each individual to live their life as independently as possible with as much support as they need both now and in the future. Each of our 4 nursing homes specialises in different types of care and our team will help you to find the best care for you or a loved one.
We are proud of the care we provide in our family and home from home nursing homes. Our teams have the experience and knowledge to support you or your loved one as they transition with us and our on-site nurses are always on hand 24 hours a day if and when nursing care is needed.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible brain disease and the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease and the symptoms tend to worsen as time goes on and often they become severe enough that they interfere with someone carrying out often simple daily tasks. Alzheimer’s impacts the brain’s ability to function as it did and affects memory, thinking and behaviour in different forms and severity. The first signs of Alzheimer’s are often minor memory issues and confusion or problems with vision or language. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one then you should speak to your doctor who will be able to carry out tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s or possible other conditions.
What is Specialist Alzheimer’s Care?
Specialist Alzheimer’s care is provided by a nursing home that has both the facilities and staff experience to care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. They will know how to support someone both physically and mentally at the different stages and severities of the disease, ensuring they are as independent as they can be and that they feel safe and secure in their surroundings.
What is the treatment for Alzheimer’s?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease at present, however, there is lots of research and progress being made. There is medication available that can temporarily reduce and or ease the symptoms of the disease, as well as lots of support and alternative therapy for anyone living with the disease as well as support for their family and carers. Living with Alzheimer’s can be distressing for an individual and their family so support groups, advice and techniques to cope with the symptoms is really crucial for a calm and happy life.
What causes Alzheimer’s?
There is now evidence showing that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by an abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. Plaques around brain cells are formed from deposits of amyloid proteins as well as tau which is another protein that forms tangles inside brain cells. Scientists now know that the Alzheimer’s process starts long before symptoms even appear, however, they are still unsure why the protein build-up begins in and around the brains cells.
Alzheimer’s also causes a decrease in the chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters). These assist in the transmission of messages, or signals between brain cells when Alzheimer’s sets in and can impact physical movements, clear thinking and the ability to communicate.
Scientists also now know that the level of one neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, is abnormally low in the brain of those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Different parts of the brain shrink over time and the most affected areas are usually those responsible for memory but a variety of brain areas can also be affected in more unusual forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease progresses over years at different speeds for different people. Symptoms can often be misdiagnosed with other conditions or are mistaken for old age so always speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. It’s much better to be diagnosed early and be treated.
Each person’s symptoms progress at a different rate and in some cases other conditions can be responsible for symptoms worsening including:
- certain medicines can also make the symptoms of dementia worse
If your loved one’s symptoms are increasing then you should see a doctor who can advise, help and support you to manage them. There can be lots of reasons why symptoms are worsening and your doctor can establish what these are so they can be treated.
The 3 Main Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
1) Early Stages Symptoms
- Memory loss and confusion
- A disconnection from discussions or events
- Losing items or belongings
- Not remembering names of places or objects
- Finding it difficult to think of the right word
- Asking the same questions repeatedly
- Making poor decisions and, or have difficulty making decisions
- Having less flexibility and wanting and needing routine
- Hesitant of trying new things
- Signs of mood changes including anxiety, agitation or confusion
2) Middle Stages Symptoms
As Alzheimer’s progresses the early symptoms often worsen.
- Increasing difficulty in remembering names even of those ones closest to them
- Increasing confusion and disorientation (including getting lost, wandering or not knowing the day and time)
- Excessive, repetitive, impulsive, or obsessive behaviour
- Paranoia or feeling suspicious about family members or carers (believing things that are not true)
- Speech or language problems, known as aphasia
- Unsettled and disturbed sleep and erratic sleep patterns
- Depression, mood swings, and feeling increasingly anxious, frustrated, or agitated
- Inability to judge distances or perform spatial tasks
- Being able to see or hear things that others cannot (hallucinations)
- Other symptoms of vascular dementia may also be present in some people
At this stage, most people with Alzheimer’s will usually need more support both physically and mentally with everyday tasks and living, including, help with eating, washing, getting dressed and toileting. Bristol Care Homes offer specialist Alzheimer’s care and provide full time or respite care for anyone suffering from the disease.
3) Later Stages Symptoms
In the later years and stages of Alzheimer’s, the symptoms become increasingly severe and can be distressing for both the person with the condition and their caregivers, friends, and family.
Delusions and hallucinations may come and go from diagnosis onwards but often worsen as the disease progresses as well as becoming violent, demanding, and suspicious of others.
Other symptoms can also develop including:
- Dysphagia (difficulty eating and swallowing) and this often leads to weight loss\
- Severe lack of co-ordination
- Difficulty moving or changing positions without support
- Urinary or bowel incontinence
- Slurred speech and speech loss over time
- Significant long- and short-term memory problems
Often in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, people will need full-time care and assistance with eating, moving and personal care and Bristol Care Homes can support you with this on a short term basis for respite care or full-time care.
What are the tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s?
Your own doctor can carry out some simple checks to try and diagnose the cause of any symptoms. Your doctor will ask lots of questions and carry out some memory and thinking tasks to determine if your brain is functioning in different areas.
Tests can include:
- short- and long-term memory
- concentration and attention span
- language and communication skills
- awareness of time and place (orientation)
- abilities related to vision (visuospatial abilities)
They may also take some blood and ask about any medication being taken to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
These tests will help your doctor decide if you need to be referred to a specialist for further assessments.
A specialist may recommend having a brain scan to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and check for signs of damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
These could be:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
Care after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
Your doctor or specialist will develop a care plan if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
A care plan sets out the care and support you will need and will include:
- How you can continue to do what is important to you for as long as possible
- Services you can access and information about where to find them
- Health conditions that need regular monitoring
- An individual who will coordinate the different kinds of support you may need from health or social services
- Any medication prescribed for your condition
- A care plan should be reviewed every 12 months or if there is a significant change in health
You can find useful information and advice from the Alzheimer’s Society here.
Signing up for the NHS Dementia Information Service can also help you through the often difficult time following a dementia diagnosis. You will receive an email every week for 6 weeks covering a different need-to-know topic.
What are the challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s?
There are many challenges associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s in both the early and later stages.
Most people say the most difficult one is the changes to the personality of a loved one and they feel like they have lost the person they once knew and loved. The behaviour changes as the disease progress are also challenging and distressing for both the person and the carer.
Patience and compassion are needed in abundance as well as a lot of support from family and friends. Specialist dementia units and support groups are also a great support as they understand and can help you with advice and strategies to overcome the challenges you are facing.
As Alzheimer’s progresses often outside help from a carer or a specialist unit is required as well as a regular respite as a family member carer is caring 24/7 with little or no break.
You may get to a stage when your loved one needs 24/7 care for a specialist nursing home like Bristol Care Homes. As symptoms worsen they will find everyday tasks more and more difficult. Our team has the skills and experience to ensure they have the routine they need, the physical movement t as well as the skills and strategies to deal with often challenging behaviour and mood swings. We understand this is an extremely difficult decision and our team is dedicated to supporting you through this decision when the time comes.
Always be positive and reassuring when discussing changes in routine or the move into a care setting, talk about the benefits it will bring to them, and give them as much choice as possible so they feel in control and understand what’s happening.
When a person has Alzheimer’s they will feel and experience everything around them differently. Being patient and sensitive to them as an individual, focusing on their well-being and meeting their changing needs will help them feel valued and loved.
Dementia patients will start to feel more confused as they lose the ability to comprehend what is happening around them or when trying to make sense of something. Often, this makes them feeling frustrated and angry which can result in outbursts of emotions which can be very challenging and upsetting to them and their carers.
Bristol Care Homes team are specialists in Alzheimer’s care and will take time to get to know your loved one so they can understand their needs and what they enjoy doing every day.
What are the aims of the Bristol Care Homes Specialist Alzheimer’s Care Unit?
The aim of our specialist Alzheimer’s care at Bristol Care Homes is to alleviate the symptoms of the disease and to support an individual to live their life in the best possible way whilst feeling fulfilled.
Our specialist nurses in each of our homes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are always on hand to support and relieve the symptoms of the disease. Our team can provide enhanced care throughout the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in collaboration with your GP and specialist team. We provide expertise and experience to support the various Alzheimer’s care options.
If swallowing becomes difficult, our on-site chefs will modify meals and snacks and accommodate each person’s individual needs.
If you are considering a nursing home for your loved one it 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 you feel they would be happy there. Before you visit, read each care home’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report to see in advance what they do well.
Bristol Care Homes team are here to support and help you and your family to decide if full-time care or if respite care would suit you and your loved one. Our experienced nursing team will spend time with you to help you decide which of our homes is best suited to your needs and we are committed to supporting you through the difficult decisions you need to make about care and the options available.
Why Choose Bristol Care Homes?
Bristol Care Homes Registered Care Categories with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) include:
- Old Age
- Physical Disability
- Sensory Impairment
Bristol Care Homes Specialist Care Categories
- Bariatric Care/Obesity
- Cancer Care
- Challenging Behaviour
- Colitis & Crohn’s Disease
- Head/Brain Injury
- Hearing Impairment
- Huntington’s Disease
- Motor Neurone Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Speech Impairment
- Visual Impairment
Other Care Provided
- Convalescent Care
- Day Care
- Own GP if required
- Palliative Care
- Respite Care
- Separate Specialist Dementia Care Unit
About Bristol Care Homes
We are a group of 4 high-quality nursing homes located in different locations around Bristol. Our team members are all committed to providing professional, compassionate and excellent care to all of our residents.
- Beautiful gardens with plenty of greenery, trees and flowers
- Environmentally designed buildings with 24/7 air circulation always keeping the atmosphere fresh and airy
- Different social areas
- Communal dining rooms
- Spacious bedrooms with increased ceiling height giving a sense of spaciousness
- Wide corridors for easy access
- Television, DVD Player and direct line telephones in each bedroom Internet access across all of our homes
- Customised top-of-the-range wheelchairs
- Cutting-edge technology in showers and baths
- Minibus services with a schedule of trips
- Regular maintenance and replacement cycles for new carpets and decoration
- Delicious, nutritious and varied meals prepared by our highly qualified chefs
- Interesting and varied social activities for all our residents
- Warm, friendly, and caring staff
- Nurses are available 24 hours a day
If you are looking for Specialist Alzheimer’s Care in Bristol contact us today to find out how we can help you and your family.