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Live in Care for Alzheimer’s: A Guide

The Live in Care Company have created a guide to help you understand what is involved in caring for somebody with Alzheimer’s, should you be considering live in care. This guide will cover the following:

 

What is involved in Alzheimer’s care?

What can a live-in carer do?

Can a person with Alzheimer’s live at home?

How to best care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s

How does live in care work?

How do I find a live-in caregiver?

How we can help

 

What is involved in Alzheimer’s care?

Alzheimer’s care often involves a tailored care plan to focus on the likes, dislikes and personality of the individual with dementia, and activities are planned accordingly to stimulate one’s memory. This may include:

  • Looking at photo albums
  • Listening to music
  • Engaging with family
  • Doing art projects

 

On top of the more specialist Alzheimer’s care or live-in dementia care, usual care duties will still be in place, such as supporting with household chores, cooking, shopping, personal care and medication taking.

 

Early (mild) Stage

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, people are usually still very independent and any care needs are often managed by family members. Occasionally at this early stage, word finding difficulties and memory lapses can occur, so medication reminders and appointment reminders might be needed. It can be important at this time to make future care plans.

 

Middle (moderate) Stage

During the middle-stage of Alzheimer’s, care requirements increase as a sufferer’s memory becomes more affected. Recognition of familiar faces and places decreases and he/she may become lost in an area in which they know. Behaviour and mood can also change with the person with dementia becoming more erratic and displaying signs of uninhibitedness. Support is often needed to ensure the person is dressed appropriately and is eating a balanced diet. Structure and consistency are key at this stage in order to help reduce anxiety and stress.

 

Late (severe) Stage

During late-stage Alzheimer’s, an individual will usually require intensive care at all hours of the day. This is because at this stage the individual will likely be exhibiting confusion, poor communication, unpredictable behaviour and memory loss. If left unattended, the person with Alzheimer’s can be a risk to themselves and be susceptible to neglect. Often it is at this point when loved ones consider moving an individual with Alzheimer’s to a care home but it can be possible for experienced live-in carers to remain a care option.

What can a live-in carer do?

A live-in carer will live within the individual with dementia’s home, therefore being available to help both in the day and the night time. The carer will also become a companion for the person, which can be one of the most valued aspects of a live-in carer’s role. For many people with live-in carers, just having someone who they are familiar with on hand to help can make an immeasurable difference to their wellbeing and quality of life. Live-in carers can support with bathroom trips during the night, grocery shopping, household chores, medication taking, trips outside the house and other needs throughout the day and night.

 

Since the live-in carer will be living at the same residence as your loved one, there will be times when they need to take time off for themselves. If the person being cared for requires round the clock care, then options such as bringing in another carer for 24 7 care can be considered. The hourly cost of care at home provided by a visiting care agency can be quite high and live in care is likely to be far more cost-effective.

 

How to best care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s

It can be difficult for family and loved ones to care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease because it may be a long, stressful and emotional journey. Since there is no cure and the disease progressively worsens, caring duties will become more labour-intensive with time. It can also be incredibly difficult to watch a loved one’s memories and skills disappear. As the disease worsens, your loved one may lose awareness and recognition of who you are and appreciation will diminish. However, there are also benefits to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and you may find your bond with the patient deepens through care and companionship, which can be rewarding.

 

If you do decide to help care for a loved one it is important to:

 

  • Try to reduce your frustrations as becoming agitated may cause the person with dementia to struggle more
  • Schedule and establish a daily routine
  • Allow plenty of time for tasks to be completed
  • Involve the person in as much as possible to help them retain their independence
  • Allow the person choices, but not too many. For example, provide two outfits to choose from, ask if he or   she prefers a hot or cold beverage, or ask if he or she would rather go for a walk or see a movie
  • Provide simple instructions. People with dementia understand clear, one-step communication best
  • Try to avoid the person napping too much as this can disrupt night-time sleep
  • Reduce distractions to help them maintain focus
  • Create a safe environment for them; use locks on medicine cabinets, check water temperature, watch out for  fire hazards
  • Be patient and flexible

How does live-in care work?

Live-in dementia care can be similar to elderly live-in care but it is more geared towards someone with dementia. Often the same assistance is offered in the early stages of the disease but dementia carers will be trained to be able to manage worsening symptoms and problematic behaviours as dementia progresses. A live-in caregiver will be able to recognise the potential issues associated with the manifestation of the disease and manage these as they unfold. They will be equipped to also prepare for potential situations that may arise so as to be able to better manage and support the person suffering from dementia.

 

A live in carer will also understand how to help maintain low levels of stress for the individual, and they will cater to the specific needs of an individual with dementia, often incorporating activities and experiences that are meant to stimulate one’s memory. In addition, they provide assistance with activities of daily living, prepare meals, and help to provide family support, similarly to regular live-in carers. A carer will live in the home of the person being cared for and therefore a live-in carer often becomes a companion for the cared-for person and they can be best placed to support with informing medical professionals of any changes in the health and well-being of the individual.

Can a person with Alzheimer’s live at home?

People with Alzheimer’s Disease are able to live at home as long as they have the appropriate level of care to support them in being safe and well in their own homes. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, a person may appear to be functioning well in a familiar environment, such as their home, and daily tasks may be achieved independently. However, as dementia progresses, and when they are in unfamiliar situations, the person with Alzheimer’s will need to rely more on others around them to support them to achieve their daily tasks, as their memory and problem-solving may fail them. It is important that the correct level of support is there so that they do not get into situations where they may be at risk of harm or neglect. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s Disease may struggle to orientate themselves to a new place and they may need support with getting back home.

 

Your loved one may find it difficult to calculate the correct amount of money to buy groceries or they may forget to turn off the oven or lock the front door and this is when 24 hour care at home may be the appropriate type of care. A dementia live-in caregiver can support the person with ensuring that in each of these situations they are kept safe, whilst still encouraging them to leave the house and engage in activities that they are used to. This can help ensure someone with dementia remains in good spirits and can often be beneficial for their wellbeing.

Dementia care can be provided in a care home too and this option may be picked by loved ones if they think a care home is better able to meet the needs of the person or if something changes that then makes it difficult for the person with dementia to stay living at home. However, dementia help at home may be a preferred choice by the family, particularly in the early stages of dementia, because it can mean their loved one is able to stay in their safe, homely environment, which can help make the person living with dementia feel more comfortable.

It is also helpful for someone with dementia to keep to a routine and be orientated to their environment, which may be disrupted if they move to a care home. Loved ones may also feel that a live-in carer can provide one-to-one care that is tailored for the individual at home and allows them to continue with their activities as best as possible. For instance, they may want to keep a routine where family are free to visit when they would like, rather than to adjust to the visiting hours of a care home.

How do I find a live-in caregiver?

A live in care agency can work with you to provide Alzheimer’s 24 7 care or 24 7 nursing care to suit the needs of the person being cared for. The agency should take the time to understand your individual needs and circumstances and then recommend an appropriately skilled and experienced live in care giver.

How we can help

At The Live in Care Company, we will make the process of finding and choosing a live in carer hassle-free straightforward – and that includes carers who are experienced and trained in supporting their client with Alzheimer’s disease.

Our expert team will be happy to speak to you and will take the time to understand your situation and your needs and will match you with a wonderful live-in carer.

 

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