Signs a loved one may no longer be coping at home
October 15, 2019
Following a dementia diagnosis, many people continue to live in their own home, being cared for by relatives. Sadly however, due to the progressive nature of the disease, many will reach a point where remaining at home is no longer practical and may also be unsafe for them and others.
Here we outline some of the common signs that a dementia patient may require additional support:
- Wandering: Many dementia patients experience periods of confusion about their surroundings that can result in them leaving their home to search out ‘familiar’ places, known as ‘wandering’. As dementia can often reduce a person’s awareness of dangers, this can pose a great risk to their safety and that of others, should they walk into a busy road, for example.
- Home safety: There are a number of preventative adaptations that can be made to the home to reduce the risks of falls, such as placing non-slip rugs on flooring, adding brighter lighting and placing grab rails around the home. However, these adaptations can only go so far and if the patient exhibits increased confusion and frailty you may find professional care is required.
- Decreased appetite: Many dementia patients display a marked decrease in appetite and lack of motivation to prepare meals, especially if they live alone. This places them at an increased risk of malnutrition that, even in its mildest form impairs the immune system and increases the risk of developing infections. In a specialist care setting such as Clifden House we provide all residents with nutritious, home cooked meals and ensure their dietary needs are met.
- Decreased self-care: A common sign that dementia patients require additional support is when they stop paying attention to their own needs. This often manifests itself by forgetting to take medications, missing appointments, not getting dressed in the morning and a general decrease in pride in their appearance. Dementia patients often display a decline in self confidence that, coupled with loss of physical ability can prompt a withdrawal from the world around them, leading to isolation.
- Behavioural changes: To anyone caring for a loved one with dementia, among the most distressing symptoms are behavioural changes, especially those involving aggression. Some behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), in addition to aggression, include agitation, delusions and hallucinations. Aggression can be displayed both verbally and physically. As a carer it is important to remember that your needs are as important as those of the patient. If you feel that you are struggling to cope with the emotional and physical demands of your role then it may be time to consider residential care, where medical professionals have the training and facilities to cope with the challenges of the disease.
Every case of dementia is different, as is every patient and family living with the disease. The decision to place your relative or loved one in full time residential care is often reached after a crisis such as a fall or other medical emergency, resulting in the involvement of medical professionals and the local adult social services team. Depending on the severity of your relatives condition they may go into a care home, such as Clifden House, as a crisis admission for respite care prior to a decision being made regarding their long-term needs.