Home Care For Dementia Patients: What You Need To Know

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There are several options for home care for those living with dementia. Several services can be provided within the home so that your loved one living with dementia can stay in their home for as long as possible. Find out what types of in-home services are available, how to find services, tips for choosing providers, as well as tips and tricks to help your loved one in the home for as long as possible. 

Home Care For Dementia Patients

It is the wish of most individuals who have dementia to stay at home as long as possible. Home care for dementia is possible with quality caregivers and in-home services. 

Types Of In-Home Services

TYPES OF IN-HOME SERVICES FOR DEMENTIA PATIENTS

There are five main types of in-home services. These services include medical help as well as non-medical help. 

1. Companion Services

Companion service’s main job is to be a companion to your loved one living with dementia. These individuals may help with supervision, recreation activities, and visit with your loved one. 

Companion services can be provided by a respite worker, a friend, an additional family member, or a neighbor that you trust. 

2. Personal Care Services

Those individuals who provide personal care services help your loved one living with dementia with their personal care. These individuals may come in and help with their day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, using the bathroom, exercising, and other personal care responsibilities.

3. Homemaking Services

It is common to have someone come into your loved one’s home and provide homemaking services to help relieve the burden. These individuals can help change sheets on the bed, do laundry, clean the bathrooms, prep meals, and run errands.  

4. Skilled Care Services

Skilled care services are offered by a licensed professional. These individuals have special training to help with your loved one’s needs, such as wound care, injections, therapies, and other medical-related needs. 

To find skilled care service workers, you can hire them privately or through a home health care agency. 

Finding In-Home Service Workers

It is important to find the right in-home care service providers to help your loved one living with dementia. Start with these resources to find the right workers for you and your loved one. 

  • Talk with the healthcare provider. Your loved one’s healthcare provider is a great place to start when looking for in-home care help. They should have a list of recommendations that can help. 
  • Medicare Online Tool. Medicare has an online tool that can help find in-home care workers. 
  • Get Recommendations. Ask the recommendations of others. This can be friends and family, people living in the community, or others in your support group. Here, they will share first-hand knowledge and experience about various in-home care workers. 

How To Choose In-Home Workers?

HOW TO CHOOSE IN-HOME WORKERS FOR DEMENTIA PATIENTS?

The following steps can help you find and hire the right in-home care workers. 

1. Create A List

First, create a list of the needs you need help with that you cannot provide or don’t have the time to provide. This can include a variety of tasks like doing your loved ones’ laundry, helping them shower, or taking them out for a walk to get the exercise they need. Creating this list will help you determine the type of in-home service worker you need to find and estimate the number of hours you may need them to help. 

2. Call Prospective In-Home Care Workers

Call the recommended service providers. Find out if they specialize in helping those who are living with dementia. Find out if they offer the services you are looking for. If they meet the initial needs over the phone, schedule an in-person interview within your loved one’s home. 

3. In-Person Interview

Schedule an in-person interview with the prospective in-home worker. Be prepared with a variety of different questions. (If we have some great questions, you can ask below). Invite a close friend or family member to sit in on the interview so that you can discuss the candidates with one another. 

4. References

It is important to ask for references and to check them. If you are working with an agency, they will provide background checks. If you are working with a private worker, you may want to run a background check for peace of mind.

5. Share Information

It is essential to share information about your loved one with the in-home care service provider. Your loved one will want to share stories and talk about loved ones. Providing information will allow the worker to know the stories your loved one loves to tell so they can help tell it to them as dementia progresses. We love this Personal Facts and Insights questionnaire that can help. 

What Questions Should I Ask Potential In-Home Care Service Providers?

Here is a list of potential questions you may want to ask potential in-home care service providers.

  • Are you certified in first aid?
  • Are you CPR certified?
  • How much experience do you have working with individuals who have dementia?
  • Does an agency employ you?
  • Are you licensed and bonded?
  • Can you provide me with a list of references?
  • When are you available?
  • Will someone else provide care for you if you are out of town or sick?
  • How do you feel about working for us?

Costs Of In-Home Care

The costs of in-home care vary by the services that are required as well as where you live. Depending on the types of services you need, will determine if they are covered by Medicare or private insurance companies. 

Medicare will cover specific services when your loved one meets the eligibility requirements. If these are deemed reasonable and necessary, they will help cover costs. Most in home care options are paid for out of pocket.

3 Must-Haves When It Comes To Home Care For Those Living With Dementia

According to John Hopkins, individuals living with dementia can stay in their homes longer if they have proper education and resources.  

John Hopkins conducted a study that involved about 600 individuals who were living with dementia. Three hundred of these individuals and their family caregivers received monthly consultations and education from a professional team that helped educate, counsel, and teach on topics such as nutrition, health, and various activities. The other 300 received no such services. On average, those who received in-home help and training could stay in their homes about 9 ½ months longer. These three things were vital to the success of these individuals being able to stay at home longer. 

1. Safety

VARIOUS SAFETY MEASURES FOR AN INDIVIDUAL LIVING WITH DEMENTIA

Individuals living with dementia may begin to wander and have an increased risk of falling. To prevent this, you may want to take the following safety measures. 

  • In the early stages of dementia, these are some safety measures I’ve implemented in the past.
  • Consult with your doctor to see if they can write an order for an occupational therapist if there are safety concerns in the home, or if you notice a decline in function.
  • Install grab bars
  • Clear pathways throughout the home, so it is easy to walk through the home.
  • Reduce clutter
  • Remove trip hazards
  • Install security monitors
  • In middle stage dementia, more supervision and further modifications to the homes will be required. You may want to do the following: 
    • Install automatic off appliances
    • Install door and window alarms to prevent wandering. 

2. Health Care

You want to ensure that your loved one continues to receive regular medical care and receive their medication when needed. You want to be aware of these healthcare concerns:

  • Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other underlying conditions can become more complex if your loved one is also living with dementia. Be sure to communicate often with your loved one’s healthcare provider to ensure your loved one has the highest quality of life possible. 
  • Dementia symptoms can lead to mental health issues and depression. You will want to stay on top of any symptoms like depression, anxiety, or mood swings and report these to your loved one’s healthcare provider. 
  • Feeding challenges may arise or become more severe, especially if your loved one already has issues with low-nutrition meals and inconsistency when it comes to mealtime. 

3. Stimulation

Proper stimulation, activities, and therapies can help your loved ones’ dementia symptoms be more manageable. Try to provide the following opportunities to your loved one living with dementia. 

  • Provide memory exercises and productive activities for your loved one. Make sure these activities accommodate for their cognition level. We don’t want the activity to be too frustrating, because that can lead to refusals and reluctance to perform.
  • Provide sensory activities for your loved ones who are in late-stage dementia. These include allowing them to work with textures, sights, and sounds. 
  • Socializing with family members and others is important to help with components of cognition and also with quality of life. This can be through safe activities with others who are living with dementia, interacting with family members, or other ways for them to get out and talk with others. This helps them live a higher quality of life. 

How Do You Know If In-Home Care Is No Longer Working?

There is no cure for dementia. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time. Some individuals can stay at home for years living with dementia relying on family caregivers and in-home care service providers. While families would love to be the primary caregivers for their loved one, there may be a point where they may need additional care (whether you are experiencing caregiver burnout or they require additional assistance you can no longer assist with). If your loved one’s dementia progresses to the point where you can no longer keep them safe & provide for their healthcare needs it may be time to think about different service options for your loved one. 

Tips To Extend Home Care For Dementia Patients

Those who are diagnosed with dementia will experience a cognitive decline as dementia progresses. However, the more that we can do as healthcare providers, caregivers, and family members, to keep that person active, engaged, and focus on their current abilities, we can help to allow that person maintain their current abilities for a longer period of time. Caregivers and family members can help those living with dementia age in home by using these tips. Here are some general tips to help those living with dementia compensate for memory loss, while focusing on their strengths to increase quality of life.

Memory Tools

By using memory tools, it can help those who are living with dementia stay organized and help compensate for memory loss that occurs. Here are some examples:

  • Use a journal, calendar, and to-do list to help your loved one remember memories, important events as well as things they need to accomplish in a day. 
  • Set alarms. Help your loved one by setting alarms as reminders for important events throughout the day.

Focus On Strengths

POINT OUT THE STRENGTHS OF YOUR LOVED ONE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA

Point out the strengths of your loved one. Recognizing what they can do may help slow the progression of cognitive decline. Here are some examples below:

  • Simplify to-do lists and tasks. Individuals living with dementia will no longer be able to do all the things they once did. While your loved one may not be able to pick out appropriate clothes or put them on by themselves, they may be able to choose from their favorite hat or scarf that they would like to wear. 
  • Help with Visual and Verbal Cues. Labeling different things throughout the house and tasks with visual or verbal cues can help prevent your loved one from getting lost and having accidents. If you want to help your loved one keep a schedule, you can create visual picture boards with their daily to-dos in order to help them follow along with the day. 
  • Give Smaller Tasks. If your loved one likes to help in the kitchen, assign smaller tasks rather than complex tasks. While making a sandwich may be too complicated, your loved one may be able to get a plate out of the cupboard for their sandwich to help. 
  • Provide safe, easy activities that your loved one can do at home to continue to stimulate their mind and their body. 

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