Dementia affects millions globally. It not only affects the sufferers it also impacts many millions of carers – husbands, wives, children, friends and even neighbours. The disease robs us of our memory. Creates neural and physical atrophy. But most importantly it often sets us on the path to isolation and depression.
How does a family manage the challenges of Dementia – especially at Home? And indeed how does a family manage this condition in a country like India, where understanding about the disease is poor and the infrastructure is non-existent?
Specialist Dementia Home Care
A lot depends on the families themselves. But increasingly specialist Elder Care Companies, like TriBeCa Care are providing support to deal with the daily challenges of Dementia Home Care.
Launched as a social enterprise in 2013, TriBeCa Care provides Medical, Non-Medical & Emergency Response support for the elderly. Run by global professionals – each with many years of senior management experience – TriBeCa Care brings “one-stop” Elder Care in India to busy families. Offerings like TriBeCa Care’s makes it easier for families to manage the entire spectrum of care for their elderly loved ones.
Each aspect of Dementia – from assessment to management to specialist care – is not well understood in India. Very few specialists are involved in providing good One-Stop Home Care. It is therefore important for families to work with care providers like TriBeCa Care to better plan the next steps.
What you focus on matters:
What is the person’s likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies and personality? What is the person still capable of doing himself? What can he do additionally with some help from others?
It is easy to get obsessed about what a Dementia sufferer can’t do any more. It is important however to appreciate what he can do. Why? Because a Dementia sufferer can easily get frustrated. If we keep reminding him about what he can’t do, then little progress will be made.
On the contrary, understanding his current abilities and cognitive level is a good way of setting him tasks he can do. And once the task is complete – even if not perfectly – then a little word of encouragement provides him a sense of achievement. Involvement is an important part of managing Dementia – and the carer needs to learn how to involve as much as the sufferer who needs to get involved!
- Respite Care for Care givers: While it is natural that a Dementia sufferer remains the main focus of care, the primary carer, in most cases, gets ignored. Good respite care provides the primary care giver some time for herself. It is hard to provide 24/7 care to a loved one who is suffering from a condition like Dementia without feeling physically drained or mentally tired. Respite care provides the care giver a chance to periodically recharge her batteries without feeling guilty about taking some time off for herself.
- Help with Personal Care: There may come a time when a Dementia patient needs help in performing his daily chores – eating, bathing, shaving, toileting, exercising or even walking. Trained care givers – who have the patience and expertise to manage a mental health patient with physical infirmities – are needed. India has very few such trained personnel. However, companies like TriBeCa Care are training care givers and also providing them the expertise to handle difficult situations that crop up with Dementia patients.
- Help with Medication Management: Dementia patients often forget to take medication or follow a non-compliant routine. Sometimes they may even become aggressive and refuse to take any medication. It is the role of trained care givers to calm the patient and ensure that proper medication protocols are being followed.
- Benefits of Dementia Home Care: There are many benefits to receiving professional care for a patient suffering from Dementia. Some of the benefits are:
- Reduced patient hospitalisations
- Reduced feeling of depression among care givers and care receivers
- Better management of Dementia Home Care
- Delaying onset of later stages of Dementia by involving patients in cognitive activities
While Dementia treatment and management remains challenging in India, education and awareness programmes will over time improve our ability to face the Dementia challenge more fully.
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