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In-Home Dementia Care Services: What They Are And When You Should Get It

An estimated 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease and dementia in 2022. If you are a loved one, caregiver, or healthcare provider of someone who is suffering from this illness, finding the best long-term care for them is very important. 

Though there are multiple options you can explore, choosing in-home care services for dementia patients can allow them to have a better quality of life, especially if the disease is still in its early stages.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of providing in-home dementia care services and when to know the right time to avail the service for your loved one.

Understanding In-Home Dementia Care

In the early stages of dementia, most seniors and their loved ones opt for keeping them at home, especially since people with dementia should stay in a familiar place. When you avail of in-home health care services for a person with dementia, they will be able to receive a wide range of services in the comfort of their own home.

They will no longer have to go into a hospital, a caring community, or a nursing home. The support they will receive will be dependent on numerous factors, but mainly on the extent of their disease.

Dementia is an umbrella term that covers the decline in memory and cognitive skills. There is a possibility that the disease is Alzheimer's, but it could also be another disease. Family members and carers should note that the treatment plan may be different depending on which type of dementia a patient has.

For instance, health conditions in the early stages of dementia might not call for full-time care. However, with cognitive decline, specialized care may be required from medical professionals.

Types Of In-Home Dementia Care

Companion Care

As you consider in-home care for the elderly with dementia, you should take note that not every program is the same. There are in-home care services that offer medical care, while others assist in daily living needs and other non-medical services. Here's a quick guide:

  • Companion services: Family caregivers offer companion services which typically include general supervision, especially when doing errands, visiting, or enjoying recreational activities.
  • Personal care services: Care workers also assist people with dementia with their personal needs like eating, dressing up, bathing, washing, exercising, going to the toilet, keeping them in bed, and other similar activities.
  • Homemaker services: A person with dementia may also only require people to help them with errands for the upkeep of the home, like housekeeping, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.
  • Skilled care: Dementia patients also demand care from skilled professionals. These involve wound care, physical therapy, injections, and medicine administration.

When Should I Consider In-Home Dementia Care For My Loved One?

People suffering from dementia experience different symptoms and intensity of cognitive impairment. The intensity of these symptoms causes many families to opt for at-home care for dementia patients. In fact, according to the CDC, 80% of dementia patients receive care in their homes.

For loved ones, it can be confusing to identify if it's time to acquire full-time help. To help you with the process, here are some signs that express that it's time to work with in-home health aides.

Behavioral Changes

People with dementia may exhibit a change in behavior, with some acting dramatically different than who you know them to be. For instance, they may withdraw from social interaction even if you know them to be active and warm towards others.

Physical Safety Is Affected By Confusion And Disorientation

Physical Safety Is Affected By Confusion And Disorientation

It is also time to call for professional care once you have observed that your loved one experiences confusion and disorientation. Conditions like these can be difficult to deal with, especially for independent loved ones.

For instance, if they randomly forget to drive while they are on the road, they might encounter an accident. Forgetting where they are and how to do something can be a threat to their physical safety, so they should have carers looking over them.

Physical Health Is Declining

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, one of the first things you will notice is a physical decline. They become thinner and appear frailer than before.

Sometimes, these things come up not because of illness; they become physically weaker because they forget to take medication and have their meals. If they have health aid services with them at home, you can rest assured that someone will keep them fed and on track with their medication schedule.

Incontinence

When a patient starts losing urinary control and similar abilities, it is a sign to call for the help of health care providers. Family members may feel overwhelmed by these things and believe they are taking on more than they expected.

In other cases, the patient themselves prefer hiring health care professionals to help them.

Patient’s Caregiver Deteriorates Or Dies

When people who have dementia are cared for by their loved ones and these loved ones get sick or pass away, they might need an extra layer of attention. Losing someone close to them might lead their health to worsen, too, so the help of health care professionals might be required.

Finding Dementia Care Providers

If you want peace of mind with the services you acquire, you should spend time and effort in finding the best dementia care provider for your senior loved one. However, the process can be quite a challenge. You can begin by exploring the following resources:

Make A List Of Care Needs

Before you start talking to care agencies for dementia patients, you should think about the current situation of your loved one. List down their particular needs and think about the care management specifics you have been providing and what you want a care coordinator to provide.

Call Before Committing

Once you identify the type of contact care that you need, it's time to make some calls. List down the top care agencies you are considering and schedule calls with them. Ask them about the type of care services they offer for dementia patients and see if they match your needs.

Set A Home Interview

After your initial call, schedule an interview at the home of the care manager. Prepare questions and bring a trusted person with you to help you evaluate whether they will be a good match.

You can also use this opportunity to talk about dementia care costs, what these expenses cover, and if these services can be covered by a long-term care insurance policy.

Verify References And Licenses

Next, verify the caregivers and check if their agency is trustworthy enough. Check their licenses and ask for references. If you can, schedule a discussion with people who have been clients before and ask questions about their experience.

Share Information As Much As Possible

Once you've found the caregivers to work with, it's time to further your discussions with them. Take the opportunity to improve the quality of care your loved one receives by offering as much information as you can to the care provider.

Remember, the more they know about their patient, the better the care they will be able to give.

Advocating For Your Loved Ones With Dementia

Advocating For Your Loved Ones With Dementia

Dealing with permanent memory loss is a challenging battle to encounter. If you have a dementia patient in your life, you should help to ease the situation for them and advocate for their well-being.

To help navigate this journey with your loved one, here are some tips you should consider:

  • Learn as much as you can about the disease. Awareness can help you empathize with your loved one's condition.
  • In terms of expectations, it is important to be realistic with yourself as well as your loved one who has dementia.
  • Help the dementia patient maintain their independence as much as possible. Letting them maintain their dignity can do wonders for their well-being.
  • Accept support from family members and friends. Don't attempt to carry the burden on your own.
  • Develop set routines and schedules to eliminate the confusion and frustration in your loved one's life.
  • Take care of yourself. Every once in a while, take a time out and rest.

Frequently Asked Questions About In-home Dementia Care

Understand in-home dementia care better by looking at the answers to the top questions about this type of patient care.

1. Can I care for my loved one at home through all stages of dementia?

In-home care is ideal for dementia patients, but every situation is unique. If you feel like you cannot provide the care yourself, you can always hire health care aides to help you provide the care your loved one needs.

2. What dementia home care services are available?

Numerous home care services are available for dementia patients, depending on how far along they are with the disease. You can talk to a dementia care coordinator to discuss options, as it can range from household assistance to personal care and special medical services.

3. Do Dementia Patients Do Better at Home?

Many experts believe that at-home dementia care is the best option as it allows patients to be in familiar environments where they feel most secure and cared for. Being in the same place also helps them retain their daily routines and live as independently as they can.

A dementia diagnosis leads to trying times for patients and the people around them. However, with proper education and learning when to ask for help, you can provide better care for your loved ones, especially in managing this type of health concern.

Learn more about how you can improve dementia care at home with the guides from Senior Strong!

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