This month is Alzheimer’s awareness month, so we will focus on this on our blog, offering a little advice for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Living with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia has a big emotional, social and practical impact on a person and those around them. The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is down to more than just having the condition. The relationships that person has, their environment and the support they receive shapes a person’s experience. Therefore if you are able to recognise this and be as supportive as possible, this will help the person living with Alzheimer’s.
You can help this person to feel valued and included, but this support needs to be sensitive to the person as an individual and focus on promoting wellbeing. This is what we try to achieve at Grosvenor Lodge. Our focus really is on person-centred care – treating the person as an individual and finding a care plan that suits their needs and interests. Each person is unique with their own life history, personality, likes and dislikes. At Grosvenor Lodge we get to know each of our residents before and when they move in to make the transition as easy as possible and so that they feel we are a home from home.
Although dementia affects people differently, there are a few things to consider when caring for your loved one which focus on reducing the frustrations for both of you:
- Schedule: Establish a daily routine. Some tasks are easier when the person is most alert and refreshed, so plan tasks and appointments around those times where possible and be flexible to adapt to the person each day – if they are having a bad day – rearrange plans as much as possible
- Time: Understand that tasks may take more time than they used to so allow more time, so you don’t feel rushed which could cause frustration.
- Involve: Allow the person with dementia to do as much possible without always stepping to do everything for them. Could they dress themselves if you laid the clothes out on the bed in the right order?
- Choice: Allow choice without overwhelming. Perhaps offer a choice between two items. For example ask if they would prefer to go for a walk or watch TV.
- Instruction: Keep instructions simple. People with dementia prefer clear, one-step communication.
- Distraction: Minimise distractions such as the TV at mealtime and during conversations to help your loved one focus.
There may reach a time when it is no longer safe for your loved one to live independently, and this is a tough time for you both, however we will support you both through this transition, getting to know you and understand your loved one’s personality and what they enjoy. We get our residents involved in the running of the care home as much as possible involving them in the weekly shopping choices, gardening, setting the table, pairing socks – whatever they would like to be involved in! We also have more elaborate entertainment, like when Elvis came to visit, to grant one resident’s wish.
We also have outings for those who are able, and tailor these to the individual, whether that’s a cup of tea by the sea, a spot of shopping or a trip to the local DIY shop. All our residents are different and enjoy different activities and we hope that if you visit you will see that our care is truly person-centred.