The statistics surrounding dementia are sobering. It remains one of the biggest health challenges facing the world. Can Britain cope with growing numbers and improve life for people with dementia?
It’s the big question that nobody can shy away from. According to the World Dementia Council, over fifty million people around the globe are currently living with dementia. Over the next two decades, they believe that could rise to around 150 million.
In the UK alone, figures from the Alzheimer’s Society suggest that there are 850,000 people with dementia, and this could rise to over one million by 2025.
Just look at the excellent dementia and Alzheimer’s support groups around Cheshire. It’s obvious that dementia is something we should all consider, and where possible offer help and support to those affected.
At Side by Side Care, we are all ‘Dementia Friends’ and fully aware of how dementia can affect people. We support local events, and welcome families who would like to come and chat to us about care for a loved one with dementia.
As a caring society we should be doing all we can to improve life for people with dementia.
Side by Side Care supports people with dementia
The effects of dementia are nothing new to the staff at Side by Side Care. A large number of our service users have dementia. As a team of carers we have gained a lot of experience offering support to people living with dementia.
Delivering the most appropriate care is a complex mix. Carers need to have a good grasp of what dementia is and how it affects people in different ways. They should understand the behaviours that stem from living with the condition, and be able to listen and empathise – and never forget the families. They, too, need support.
Crucially, carers should always recognise that no two people are the same. Dementia affects people in different ways. In fact, no two days will be the same.
Making adjustments, being patient and putting small changes in place can make a huge difference when supporting people with dementia.
Dementia affects families, too
When someone is diagnosed the initial reaction is often shock. It’s something major to deal with – emotionally and physically. Carers and family members should also expect the person with dementia to experience anger, fear, and then maybe grief and loss.
It’s a huge adjustment to make.
Such changes would impact on most people, and for those with dementia it will be a struggle to cope with these fluctuating emotions. There will be concerns about the future, worries about getting confused, forgetful and losing things!
They will also be upset about how dementia will affect those around them.
Side by Side Care personnel are always mindful that dementia can also affect family members. They, too, will be in a state of shock, worried about what might happen in the coming weeks, months and years.
They will be concerned that they might not be able to help out.
For the people we support around Crewe and Nantwich, we always keep family members involved – whatever it takes.
A person-centred approach to care
Side by Side Care ensures the care we provide is person-centred. For people with dementia this is essential. The care package will focus on the individual and take into account their abilities, experiences, and personality.
It’s important that we remember that people with dementia still like to communicate their likes and dislikes, but might find it harder to do so than other people.
This is why truly quality care depends on a good relationship between the service provider, the user and the person’s family.
Some simple actions:
- Dementia shouldn’t mean sadness; think of some fun-filled activities that will make people smile and maybe bring back great memories.
- Don’t treat people with dementia like children. Be patient. Incorporate some meaningful chores into the routine, so day-to-day activities have purpose and people feel needed.
- Here’s an easy one. Time. Giving that can be so important, and it’s priceless. Just spend time relaxing and chatting, reassuring and making people feel special.
Familiar surroundings can help
We help to make sure people with dementia feel safe and comfortable in their own homes. That is somewhere they should always feel secure, and in familiar surroundings.
Sometimes, adapting the user’s home will help. Little changes that make things easier for them without drastically altering the look and feel of their home.
Putting frequently used items in view, returning objects to their regular location – these touches will help someone with dementia feel in control.
Dementia presents many challenges but people can enjoy a great quality of life. It all starts with a conversation about how we can help, what the best care plan is and how it can be delivered.
For more information about how Side by Side Care can help you or your family, please call 01270-627755 for an initial chat.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange a convenient time to meet and chat.