Dementia is a debilitating condition, and as the symptoms get worse, there may come a time when you have to think about residential care. The person with dementia can make this decision, but invariably, due to their mental capacity, the decision will be made for them by a relative or carer.
As long as it is in their best interests and the carer has the legal right to do so, then they can make that decision. On the other hand, if you are the one having to make that tough decision on behalf of a loved one with dementia, it’s crucial to involve them in the decision. Talk to them about their preferences and what they would want from a care home so that you can help them pick the ideal facility that matches their wants and needs.
If you are a relative or carer, there’s no other way of saying it other than this: choosing to place your loved one in a care home will never be an easy choice. However, it’s important to know that you are doing it for the right reasons – after all, it’s so that your relatives can get the care and support they need to have a comfortable, enjoyable life throughout the rest of their days.
Plus, the care facilities of today can be excellent; there is twenty-four-hour support staff on hand to deal with any situation, who are trained in and have experience with all forms of dementia – be it Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Vascular dementia, or even specialist nurses who can offer a nursing care plan for Lewy body dementia.
How Do You Choose The Right Care?
To begin with, talking to other people that have been in the same situation as you and your relative with dementia is a great idea. There are support groups for carers and relatives online, which are full of fellow carers with a wealth of advice, support, and information to provide.
Still, when it comes to executing the final decision, you will likely need to get expert help when choosing the right residential care based on your loved one’s needs – and of course, you’ll need to weigh up the costs.
Generally speaking, residential homes provide personal care, such as help with washing, dressing, taking medication, cooking, cleaning, and using the toilet, amongst assistance with various other daily tasks. These kinds of facilities are staffed by highly trained and experienced professionals whose expertise is in caring for people with dementia.
Residential nursing homes also have the addition of twenty-four-hour, qualified nursing care should the patient need it. Furthermore, some care homes offer both residential and nursing care, adding even more choice and points to consider in terms of what your loved one needs.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a residential care home is the distance from family and friends. It’s vital to choose one that’s not too far away from the patient’s family and friends, and where there are convenient public transport links with bus and train stations relatively nearby.
Being able to visit easily is crucial – not just for yourself and the whole family, but also for your loved one. Having them stay in a care home that’s too far away makes it difficult for people to visit, which will leave your loved one isolated and lonely – and these two detriments can actually worsen the symptoms of dementia.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, contact the residential homes and ask questions about how many residents they have, what daily activities there are for them, and also the costs. It’s also essential to visit the homes on your shortlist, and for that, you should take your loved one with dementia along with you so that they can offer their opinions and decide if the place is right for them.
Don’t forget to meet the teams and managers either, and be sure to look and see if there is access for handicapped people. Also, engage with residents who already live in the home you’re visiting – do they seem well cared for? Do they seem to have a good relationship with the staff? Is there a positive atmosphere, and do they seem happy, entertained, and occupied?
These are all important questions to consider – and you’ll probably have even more. If any questions pop up in your head during the visit, ask – it’s essential you and your loved one are well informed before choosing any facility.
Also, one last thing to check is this: how long has the home been in operation, and have there been any major changes in management or staff? If staff turnaround is high, this could indicate a problem, and you don’t really want your loved one staying there if staff are constantly in and out.
Check The Legalities
All care homes – whether residential or nursing – need to be registered with the relevant governing body and be certified to provide care. In most countries, their certification and registration will involve a government inspection, so you should ask to see a copy of any and all such inspection results, certificates, and registration to prove the establishment’s legitimacy.
Once you have decided to place your loved one in any particular home, you will need to sign a contract – be sure to read it carefully and get another member of the family or a friend to read over it as well. That way, you know you’ve picked the best facility for your relative – and for that, they will thank you and enjoy the rest of their golden years in comfort.