Navigating the complexities of aged care and dementia support with confidence
An important consideration for the more than 480,000 Australians who are currently living with dementia is being cared for according to their unique needs. As the health crisis worsens, it is important the families of people living with this disease are supported in taking proactive steps to ensure the right choices are being made on behalf of their loved ones. To this end, we have compiled the following advice about what to look out for when choosing a residential aged care setting for your loved one who requires dementia support.
When a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia, a life-changing journey begins for both you and your family member. As their condition progresses, you will have many questions and be faced with making many decisions. What type of dementia does my loved one have? How will this impact their life? Is residential care the best option?
When you have made the decision to utilise residential care to offer your loved one the best dementia support, it’s important to understand how to choose the right facility to meet their needs. With this in mind, let’s look at the top three things to do when deciding upon the best residential care environment for your loved one needing dementia support.
Opt for proximity and familiarity
Studies show just how important familiarity is to people living with dementia. It can be quite daunting for anyone, let alone a person with dementia, to be suddenly thrust into a new environment they have never experienced before. That is why it is crucial that you begin talking with your loved one about their care options and shifting into residential care. Wherever possible, visit the facility together. And it’s always ideal if it is located close to a neighbourhood your loved one is very familiar with. That way they can more easily orient themselves amidst the big transition that is happening in their life.
Think about the overall environment
When visiting a potential home offering dementia support, use your senses. What does the overall environment of the residential care facility look like? Is it modern and clean? What can you hear? Does it sound like a pleasant and calm place to live? What can you smell? Is it the smell of freshly cooked food? Obviously, if the home looks in need of a good clean, if it is noisy and unsettling, or if it smells of faeces and urine, leave. Find somewhere else to care for your loved one.
Talk with the other residents at the facility
It’s one thing to hear from the staff about how they provide care. It’s another to see or hear about it in action. Obviously, you want to ensure the care team are highly skilled and experienced in providing dementia support. However, be careful not to simply take the word of whoever happens to be showing you around. Be proactive. Ask to watch how staff interact with the residents.
Look at what activities the residents are doing. Are they up and active? You should see residents strolling about in the garden and chatting, perhaps, or getting ready to go on an outing to the shops. Avoid getting overly hung up about looking at activity timetables. Stay curious and observant during your visit to a care facility providing dementia support.
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is life-changing. Not only for your loved one with this disease but also for you as their family member. Knowing that there is dementia support available can help ease the burden at this stressful time.
Olivet Care is a specialist and experienced dementia support, provider. A respected provider of residential, respite, day centre and home care services, they care about helping your loved one by meeting their unique needs. The team at Olivet Care would love to show you how they help people with a diagnosis of dementia get the most out of life.