September is normally Dementia Awareness Month, held during the month of September each year. In 2020, this has been replaced by Dementia Action Week, from 21 to 27 September, an initiative of Dementia Australia.
This year’s theme “You are not alone” was chosen by consumers who have told Dementia Australia that a diagnosis of dementia can be an isolating and lonely experience due to a lack of understanding, education and awareness about the condition.
With close to half a million Australians affected by dementia, and the number projected to double over the next 25 years, it is important for all of us to strive to understand and support people living with and being impacted by dementia.
What is Dementia?
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia accounting for between 60% and 80% of all dementia cases.
Simple Ways to Support People Living with Dementia
As part of Dementia Action Week 2020, Dementia Australia shared a range of handy tips and tools to help us all better support people living with dementia. We’ve selected a few of our favourite ways to support those living with dementia to live well.
Create a dementia-friendly environment at home
By making just a few smart changes, you can make living at home easier for someone living with dementia. Simple things like adding signage, larger switches and using a whiteboard or calendar can assist with creating a safe, accessible space.
Give people living with dementia a little space
If you know someone with dementia, you may be tempted to help them with every task.
However, in order to help them stay as independent as possible and retain their self-worth, you should consider how you can give a person with dementia more space. Dementia Australia suggests giving people living with dementia their space in the following ways.
When talking to the person, make sure you listen and give them the time they need to have their say.
When organising an event or activity for the person, ask them directly what they would like to do and if they’d like to be involved in the planning process.
When the person is trying to solve a problem, give them the space and time to work it out on their own. Ask them if they need your help and how they’d like you to help them.
If the person isn’t responding to you verbally, be patient and give them time. Try not to rush the person or speak for them.
When the person is performing a task, give them plenty of time and try not to take over or micromanage them.
Make daily life easier with technological aids
There are many technological aids and devices available that can make day to day life easier for people living with dementia.
These devices can act as memory prompts and support with locating important items, keeping track of medications and more. Here below are just a few ideas for easy-to-use technology that can improve the day-to-day life of people with dementia. (Please note: Dementia Australia and Prestige Inhome Care do not endorse the use of any specific products.)
Digital talking photo books
Digital photo books allow you to store a large number of photos and record voice captions that can be easily played back. These captions can be used to provide orientation and remind the person of who or what is in the photo.
Wireless key and item locators
These devices make it easy for the person to find missing keys or other items by “tagging” items with a colour-coded receiver that sounds an alarm when the corresponding coloured button is pressed on a remote.
You can use specialised devices or even set reminders using phones or other technology to prompt the person to take their medication.
Flood detectors or plugs
These devices will sound an alarm if the person accidentally leaves a tap running or can automatically open when the water reaches a certain point, which will allow water to drain rather than overflow.
At Prestige Inhome Care, our care workers can assist clients with the use of these and other technological aids and devices and finding solutions that can be easily adopted into a person’s existing routines.
Get the Right Support
People who suffer from dementia have unique and specific needs and their care and support services need to be individually tailored.
At Prestige Inhome Care, we are committed to supporting our clients to live well at home, and remain as independent as possible.
We understand that no two clients with dementia are the same. Dementia affects all clients differently and everyone’s experience with the condition is unique. That’s why we work with you and your family to assess the person living with dementia and develop an individualised plan of care that meets all their needs as well as those of the family.
From our experienced Case Managers through to our qualified care workers, all our team are trained in understanding dementia and the issues surrounding support and care for clients with this condition.
We can provide support with:
- Communication strategies
- Personal Care
- Behavioural Management
- Medication management
- Diet and Nutrition; and
- Providing you with a much needed break from your own caring role
To find out more about our dementia care services and organise a free, no obligation in-home consultation, call 1300 10 30 10 to speak to a Care Specialist.