Dementia advances gradually, from its initial mild stages to its most severe and final stage. When cognitive decline starts in an aging individual, families should consider whether it is safer for the senior to age at home or to remain in the care of a nursing home.
Dementia is a progressive condition, which means the disease will only worsen over time. Distinct advantages are found when families opt for dementia home care. These benefits are due to the simple fact that most nursing homes are ill-equipped with the provisions to delay the progression of dementia.
The stages of dementia have a profound effect on the abilities of the senior to maintain self-sufficiency. An individual’s level of independence, as a result, is directly correlated to whether or not memory home care or nursing home care is most appropriate to facilitate the senior’s well-being.
1. Early Stages
In the early stages of dementia, the affected senior is able to independently perform the activities of daily living, such as dressing, grooming, bathing and preparing meals. These seniors are often able to drive and attend social events. In the earliest stages of dementia, mild memory loss is common.
Given the memory loss that occurs in the two to four years of early phase dementia, a home care provider will be helpful. A professional caregiver is necessary to remind the senior to take medications on schedule, keep doctor’s appointments and help devise strategies to remain independent.
Entrance into a nursing home at the earliest stages of dementia is premature, since the senior is still able to function independently, albeit with occasional assistance from a professional caregiver. Since most seniors elect to remain at home, dementia home care is an appropriate solution at this stage.
2. Middle Stages
Middle-stage dementia lasts 2 to 10 years. The affected senior loses the ability to recall familiar faces; they may also get lost in places they often frequent. A loss of reasoning, erratic moods and even aggression may predominate in a person who is caught in the middle stages of dementia.
Given symptoms like these, seniors at this stage will require 24-hour home care in order to remain safe. Some families turn to professional caregivers who provide 24-hour care in the senior’s home. The presence of a professional trained in dementia care offers comfort to both care recipient and family.
A nursing home may be a safer alternative to dementia home care. If the level of care required to protect the senior at home is too excessive, a nursing home may be considered. The decision to transition a loved one to a nursing home, however, can be a difficult one.
Questions to consider when evaluating the benefits of a nursing home for a patient with dementia include whether or not the senior’s physical care needs are beyond a caregiver’s capabilities; is the senior’s health at risk at home; and would social interaction benefit the senior experiencing dementia.
Structure is abundant in nursing homes. Nursing home staff organize activities, such as scheduled crafts or chair aerobics. If the senior with dementia would benefit from structured activities and the social component that accompanies them, a nursing home may be a viable solution.
On the other hand, experts suggest that the entertainment, bus tours and exercise activities offered in nursing homes fail to engage the senior with dementia. When the individual does not positively respond, a stay in a nursing home may be a challenge.
3. Late Stages
The good news is that families can rely on dementia home care providers, whether care is to assist a senior with early, middle or late stage dementia. In late stage dementia, seniors require intensive, 24-hour care. Their advanced condition causes them to lose the majority of independent function.
Extreme confusion occurs. If the senior with late-stage dementia is able to communicate verbally at all, it can be extremely difficult. Mood is as unpredictable as behavior. Hallucinations and delusions are commonplace. This last stage of dementia usually lasts one to three years.
Dementia caregivers are trained to identify the symptoms of middle- and late-stage dementia. Dementia caregivers have a good grasp of the disease as well as an understanding of its progression. These professionals are able to differentiate the disease’s symptoms from the individual’s nature.
A dementia caregiver has far more knowledge about dementia than a caregiver without specialized dementia care training. Caregivers with extensive training are able to help reduce stress levels in patients rather than contribute to its escalation. Dementia caregivers also stimulate the senior’s memory with activities and experiences.
Specialized dementia care is rarely found in nursing homes. Nursing home staff are unlikely to make attempts to slow down the progression of the dementia, simply because they are untrained to do so. Understaffed nursing homes may even sedate aggressive dementia patients with psychotropic drugs.
With dementia home care, however, specialized caregivers look beyond the disease and appreciate the individual. Qualified dementia caregivers understand how best to handle outbursts of aggression and erratic moods. In addition to skilled care, they provide standard assistance to help affected seniors manage the activities of daily living.
Dementia will run its course, but families can take steps to attempt to slow down the disease’s progression. This is when reputable in-home dementia care providers, like those from Assisting Hands Home Care, become invaluable.
With professional caregivers trained in providing the most compassionate dementia home care, Assisting Hands Home Care is positioned to meet the evolving needs of seniors living with dementia. Our care services include games and exercise activities to stimulate their minds and bodies, techniques that reinforce positive behavior and personal care.
Families and their senior loved ones living in the surrounding communities of Palm Beach, Florida, depend on the experience, reputation and quality of Assisting Hands Home Care dementia care services. Our helpful representatives will meet with you to develop a custom dementia home care plan.
The experienced, qualified dementia home health care providers at Assisting Hands Home Care will ensure the senior in your life lives as independently as possible and with dignity.