In Ireland, the stated objective of public policy for people with dementia is to encourage and facilitate their continued living in their own homes for as long as is possible and practicable. There are currently 42,000 people living with Dementia in Ireland today.
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Unfortunately all types of dementia are progressive and the structure and chemistry of the brain become increasingly damaged over time. The person’s ability to remember, understand, communicate and reason gradually declines. Many people are happier if they can remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible.
Certainly there is evidence that by remaining involved and active a person with dementia can maintain their skills and independence for longer. In the early stages of the disease there may be no noticeable changes to everyday life so this is a good time to put plans in place for the future. Keeping active can bring enjoyment and pleasure and can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. As the disease progresses and how quickly this happens depends on the individual but more support and care will be needed as time goes on. Although symptoms vary with the different types of dementia as the disease progresses many symptoms become similar.
Everyday tasks such as washing and dressing can be difficult and cause stress and anxiety for the person. This is where our staff can help by working with them in a respectful and dignified manner. Washing and toileting is something most of us have done in private since childhood so the lack of privacy and self-consciousness is easy to understand. Staff are trained to encourage independence and offer choices whilst respecting privacy and maintaining safety.
Maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet is important and very often a person with dementia loses interest in food which will affect their over-all health and well- being. Bluebird Care staff can assist in preparing a nutritious meal and present it in a manner that looks appealing.
Tips such as not presenting large meals at one time but maybe in small portions that can be kept warm is helpful. People’s preferences for food may change, preferring sweet foods as opposed to the savoury foods they always enjoyed. Simple things like adding sweet chutneys or even honey can encourage better nutrition and eating habits.
Eating patterns may change too and identifying their best eating times where they eat well, whether this be breakfast time or later in the day can also support good nutrition. . Bluebird Care staff can provide companionship and encourage activities which people have previously enjoyed such as gardening, walking or even swimming.
Some of the most beneficial activities can be simple, everyday tasks such as setting the table or helping prepare the meal can help preserve the dignity and self-esteem of the person. Seated games can also be encouraged if mobility is an issue such as chair aerobics or a seated game of bowls to help with gentle exercising.
Challenging or unusual behaviour can be confusing and difficult to deal with. Staff at Bluebird Care can help you by advising on how to manage this by working with you to identify what may be causing the behaviour of your loved one and finding ways to overcome the problem so that the situation can become more manageable.
For example, someone may call out repeatedly when on their own, even if you are in the room next to them. This could be because they are aware of being alone and are anxious and scared so ensuring they can see you can minimise or stop this behaviour. Alternatively, having them doing something which distracts them can again reduce their anxiety.
Caring for a person with dementia can be very demanding but Bluebird Care can help you to support your loved one by offering advice, guidance and support, assessing and then developing a person centred support plan which is implemented by experienced staff. Support can be on a regular basis or short term to provide a break for family members and carers.
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Other areas of Specialised Home Care
We have trained staff to deal with other advanced areas of Home Care including Post Natal Care, High Dependency Care, Respite Care, Convalescence Care, Help with Continence issues etc. If you would like to talk to someone in confidence (with no obligation) about any area of home care for you or your family, just call your local Bluebird Care office and one of our Care Managers will gladly meet with you.