Dementia: Living At Home

Many people with dementia find that staying in their own home for as long as possible is vastly preferable to living in a care home.  Dementia sufferers often feel that living in familiar surroundings, and sticking to a long-established routine is reassuring and comforting.  For those people, access to support and care within their own home is a literal lifeline.
When a person with dementia is forced to leave their home, either to live with a family member, or to move into a care home, they feel confused, disorientated, and scared.  It makes sense to try to avoid this distress by allowing people with dementia to retain their independence for as long as possible.
Support in The Home
When someone is first diagnosed with dementia, it is a good idea to discuss care arrangements early on, before the condition becomes advanced.  The main carer should discuss care responsibilities with other members of the family, so that people understand what support and care is already being offered, and so that arrangements can be made.
It’s a good idea to discuss the issues with other people in the community too.  Neighbours, friends, and even local shopkeepers and tradesmen should be informed about the person’s dementia.  These people may be able to offer assistance, and will be more understanding if they know that the person may be liable to forget their shopping, or get confused or distressed while on the way home from the bus stop.
It is also worth talking to the dementia sufferer’s doctor, especially if the person with dementia has other medical conditions.  It is a good idea to ask to speak to their doctor so that you can stay informed about any medication or regular treatments that the person needs.
Help With Finances
If possible, try to get the person with dementia to put their bills onto direct debit.  This will help them to manage their finances more easily.  If they prefer to pay all their bills in cash, then you should inform the gas, electricity and water companies about their condition so that the companies know who to contact if the person forgets to pay their bills.
If the person with dementia chooses to allow someone else to handle their finances, then that person should keep careful records of everything they spend.  This will avoid issues with other family members asking where the money is going, and ensure that the responsible person is protected in the event that the person with dementia forgets about the arrangement, or expresses concern that money is being stolen from them.
Help For Carers
Caring for someone with dementia can be a stressful experience, and there may be occasions when you want to hire a home care worker or a care attendant to help you cope with the list of chores.
Care workers can help with a range of tasks, including cleaning, laundry, cooking, and helping the person with dementia get washed and dressed on a day to day basis.  If you don’t want to arrange for such care on a long term basis, you may want to consider a day care arrangement, or weekly visits to a drop-in centre so that you can enjoy some time to yourself without having to worry about the safety of the person that you are caring for.
This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Voyage, experts in support and care services. Find out more about the support and care they offer on their website.