Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Dementia Awareness - Choosing A Care Home

In a previous life I used to be a psychiatric nurse and worked in a nursing home. I saw at first hand how worrying a diagnosis of dementia can be for the person and family involved. 



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It can be a frightening diagnosis, but there is help, information and advice out there and lots of support if you know where to find it. Here are some facts about dementia from the Alzheimer's Society.



As you can imagine a diagnosis of dementia can be traumatic. Memory becomes impaired, and to the family it can appear like the personality of the loved one becomes lost. The person who is suffering from the diagnosis can become frustrated, confused, embarrassed and even angry with the fact they have problems remembering. At other times they may remember perfectly although in the long term their memory will eventually deteriorate over time. Some people describe it as a 'fog' that takes over their mind.  



In the later stages of the illness the person with dementia may not recognise you at all. To see a loved one like this can be heartbreaking and upsetting. 

For support and help the Alzheimer's Society, is an exceptional organisation, giving practical help and advice and emotional support. The section on memory strategies and how to live with memory problems on their website is extremely useful as well as the section on how to organise financial and legal affairs. Their online forum is excellent, allowing carers and those suffering from dementia to speak about how they live with the illness. Getting advice and being listened to by others in the same situation can be invaluable.

This year 'Dementia Awareness Week', run by the Alzheimer Society in the UK is on the 15-21 May. It will be a week of activities and events nationwide. From the website above you can download guides and posters and organise or join in fundraising activities. 

Most people with early onset dementia are looked after in the home but when the illness progresses a nursing home can be the most viable option.

Barchester care homes have created a useful guide for choosing a care home for people living with dementia. After working in a nursing home for people suffering from dementia myself, I personally think the guide asks the right questions such as "Is the home stylish, colourful and homely?", "Do the staff have a positive attitude?", and "Are staff sensitive to each person's unique needs, preferences and personal beliefs?".   The environment, staff attitude, and staff training is extremely important and these questions, amongst others highlight this.


A person centred approach is very important to those suffering from dementia as of course every person is an individual and Barchester have highlighted this by asking if staff demonstrate an interest in individual’s life stories and take the time to help people reminisce. Reminiscent therapy is a very valuable therapy to help those with dementia remember the past and use the therapy as a structured life review.

The happiness of the person suffering from dementia is of utmost important to the individual and loved ones, and this guide helps you ask all the right questions to find that perfect care home. If you do download the guide to choosing a dementia care home, let me know what you think.

*PR collaboration

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17 comments

  1. So important to make sure that they are happy. Great message!

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  2. Great that you are raising awareness for such a great cause I cant imagine how it must be for failed going through that.

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    1. It must be heartbreaking for everyone involved.

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  3. It's scary how many people Dementia affects now. I'd hate to get that sort of thing or see anyone affected by it. Great post.

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    1. It does affect a lot of people, such a sad illness.

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  4. Thank you for helping to raise awareness. I have seen people close to me struggle with dementia and it is so sad to see previously healthy and mentally-alert people deteriorate so quickly. It's very traumatic for them and the families/loved ones. x

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  5. This is a fantastic post and I understand what it's like having someone close to you affected by dementia. My nana now has this and she's now in a home. It's really sad to see her been put in one and how she is now. She is in a great place though and the staff in the home seem to be doing a good job of looking after her x

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    1. I am so sorry to hear this Hannah. I am glad the home seems a great place though.

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  6. Dementia is such an awful illness. My Grandma died almost 4 years ago and was suffering from vascular dementia with lewy bodies. She moved in with my mum shortly after the diagnosis and lived with her for 2 years until the end. Heartbreaking to see such an independent woman lost almost everything that made her who she was. She still recognised my mum at the end but sadly no one else. Thank you for sharing this post x

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    1. How awful Kelly, I am so sorry about your Grandma.

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  7. This is a really important message, thanks for sharing. There will be lots of people that find this post useful, my sister in law is also a carer and has a lot of experience dealing with dementia, i think it's great that there's an awareness week too!

    Cydney x

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    1. I think the awareness week is an excellent idea. There is a lot of help out there and this highlights it.

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  8. It's very important to find the perfect care home. I will bookmark this link so little man can read it in case I need one in the future!
    http://lilinhaangel.com/

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    1. I think it is very important, glad you like the post.

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  9. It is a really important thing to take time and interest in, I hope I don't have to look into this in the future but great article for people who do need it.

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