Quality dementia care is a critical need as Alzheimer’s/dementia is the third leading cause of death in California with 16,859 deaths per year, Alzheimer’s/dementia is a cause in 37% of deaths in the state, following only heart disease and cancer.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can put a strain on the spouse, children or loved ones, which is why quality dementia care is a critical component of in home care services.
Very often home care companies are contacted by the spouse of someone who needs dementia care because that spouse is experiencing injury or illness that makes caring for the dementia client more taxing.
Assistance with meal preparation and companionship while the cognitively healthy spouse visits friends or seeks his or her own medical care can alleviate the stress of dementia care.
A concerned spouse with growing physical issues may also feel desperate to set up quality homecare or other elder care options for the spouse with dementia before it’s too late.
The most common task involved in dementia care is constant safety monitoring. This may involve simple companionship, or assistance while cooking, bathing, or running errands to make sure the client with dementia is kept safe.
Constant safety monitoring is an appropriate trigger for long term care insurance coverage for dementia care, even if the client can still manage all other basic activities of daily living without hands on assistance.
Caregivers who work to provide dementia care are taught the technique of validate and re-direct, meaning they validate the dementia client’s feelings of fear or confusion or immediate needs, but then they redirect the client into a different activity to break a repetitive chain. Caregivers are also taught to create a calm atmosphere and to meet the dementia client where they are, not to try and reinforce current events which are no longer relevant or appropriate given the judgement or memory issues of the client.
Quality dementia care may involve changing the environment to provide a more soothing and reassuring atmosphere, removing hazards as part of fall prevention, engaging with medication management to monitor doses and reactions to medications, and creating easy to eat nutritious meals to encourage physical strength and comfort.
Dementia care may be provided daily, hourly, or with 24 hour homecare if needed by a trained, supervised and experienced caregiver. The care should be patient centered, meaning the client’s strengths, needs and values are taking into account when creating a plan of care increase quality of life at home.
Here are more resources for information about Alzheimer’s Dementia:
Alzheimer’s Association – San Diego
Alzheimer’s Association – Los Angeles
UC San Diego Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center