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Caring for you loved one with dementia is not an everyday commitment and neither is it an easy one, but it is a commitment that some have taken upon themselves because the dementia patient has nobody to rely on. The have tragically started suffering from memory loss, difficulties with language, and other symptoms of dementia.
Eventually this taxes an individual who has to balance their loved ones’ health and welfare, their own family’s needs, and the demand of their workplace.
The individual has to consider then either putting their loved in an unfamiliar environment or completely giving up on everything else, to keep them close.
That individual could be any one of us, as according to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia (as of March 2016)1, and by 2020 the number will rise to over a million! 2
The best way to prepare is to know the symptoms in their early stages, remember; although your loved may feel these symptoms coming on, they may not open up to you about them as they will think that they are going to be a burden to you. So what should you look out for?
“They may briefly forget their next-door neighbour's name but they still know the person they are talking to is their next-door neighbour. A person with dementia will not only forget their neighbour's name but also the context” 4
Other symptoms may include: poor or decreased judgement, problem with keeping track of things, misplacing things, changes in mood or behaviour, changes in personality. For a complete list please visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia-guide/pages/about-dementia.aspx. (This list was compiled using information from https://www.alz.co.uk/info/early-symptoms)
One important thing to note is that no two individuals are exactly the same, their personality, general health, and social situation all factors to consider when assessing the impact dementia has had on the individual. Dementia affects everyone differently.
At the first sign of any of these symptoms, you must encourage your loved one to speak to a doctor, because the earlier the diagnosis the more freedom your loved one has in their financial choices and personal affairs. An early diagnosis also allows for carers and your loved one to be more proficient in dealing with the progression of the disease.
The most important aspect of caring for someone with dementia is the person with dementia. You will need someone that allows your loved one their independence, someone who is caring and sensitive enough to be considerate of the stress and anxiety your loved one is bound to feel, knowing that their mental health is going to recede.
The prospect of having to sacrifice your time and career prospects to care for someone you love is a daunting decision we wish nobody to face, simply because they want to keep their loved one at home and not put them away in a care home. Simply because they believe that the best place for their loved one is right at home. It is a sad reality for the 700,000 informal carers in the UK3.
“No, of course not!” is what you should say. There is an alternate reality. A reality where you have a balanced life, have a career, can attend to your family, and enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing that your loved one is in good, kind-hearted hands. While staying right at home. This alternate reality is the reality with live-in care. Live-in care means there is somebody constantly ready to take care of anything that your loved one may need. Preparing breakfast for them? Check. Accompanying them to appointments? Sorted. Your loved one has issues with personal hygiene? Taken care of.
How long would you have to wait for this wonderful, caring, trained, and rigorously vetted individual to arrive each time your loved needs something? That is where “live-in” care gets its name, as the carers and nurses responsible for your loved one will be living with them, so they are always there at moment’s notice.
To find the right carers, who will be matched to your loved ones specific needs, give us a visit or why not give 0208 905 7701 a call?
1 Alzheimer’s Society (2014), Dementia 2014: Opportunity for change
2 Lewis et al (2014), The Trajectory of Dementia in the UK – Making a Difference, report produced by OHE for Alzheimer’s
3 Department of Health (2015), Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020