Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of conditions which affect the brain causing changes in memory, personality and ability to cope with the normal tasks of daily life. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s disease. Changes in mood, perception of time, reasoning and ability to communicate may all be affected by this cruel disease.
At any stage dementia is a difficult condition both for the client and for their family. For the sufferer recognising that their intellectual ability is deteriorating is very frightening and can cause anxiety and, in some cases, depression. For the family there is the gradual loss of the person they love, who, while physically present, seems to be changing from the person they once were.
Compassionate understanding is the key to good care of the person suffering, together with recognition of their abilities and capacity. In this way they can be enabled and encouraged to live life as fully and independently as possible with their individuality respected and their choices honoured. The right care can enhance a Dementia sufferer’s quality of life and take the weight off the shoulders of their family.
In our experience sufferers of Dementia find that remaining in the familiarity of their own home is most beneficial. The care and understanding we offer through our live-in care services gives them the support they need.
At OxleyCare our approach to Dementia care is client centred. We tailor our live-in care services to the requirements of the person we are caring for. We always ensure we work in a caring manner and fully understand that living with Dementia is difficult for both the person with Dementia and their family. We pride ourselves in offering the best possible quality of support.
We provide all our carers who look after those with dementia with specific training to help them to care with kindness and understanding. We also require that they read Oliver James’s excellent book ‘Contented Dementia’, which gives real understanding and insight into the needs and abilities of the sufferer. I would also strongly recommend those close to anyone with Dementia or looking after someone with Dementia to read this book.
The Alzheimer’s Society website provides more information about Alzheimer’s.
The seven stages of dementia
There are several different types of dementia frequently featuring somewhat diverse signs. The symptoms overlap and it is unquestionably hard to identify the kind of dementia by symptomatology on its own, and in only a few instances are signs and symptoms adequate to provide an excellent possibility of some cause. The examination is therefore improved through nuclear medicine neurological scanning methods. Early detection is a key in dementia’s treatment. While there is currently no known cure, if the disease is detected early, proper dementia’s care can help slow down the progression. Also, knowing the stages of dementia can help you decide what the best dementia care options are for the future.
The seven stages of dementia include
1. No impairment – At this early stage, there are not any visible signs of the disease. The patient is not exhibiting any signs of memory loss or outward impairment.
2. Very mild decline – The disease is still very early in its progression. Dementia patients at this level may begin experiencing some very minor signs of memory loss or forgetfulness. Unfortunately, these signs are often dismissed as normal signs of ageing. The disease is, otherwise, virtually undetectable.
3. Mild decline – This is the first stage where the disease may be detectable in a medical examination. The patient will begin experiencing lapses in memory loss and concentration that are apparent to family or friends.
4. Moderate Decline – The disease is now completely detectable through a medical examination. Patients will begin to experience the memory loss of recent events.
5. Moderate-Severe Decline – At this stage, the patient's dementia care will include assistance with the completion of some daily tasks. Memory loss will be more severe, as the patient has trouble recalling personal information, such as telephone numbers, names, and places.
6. Severe Decline – At this stage, the Dementia patient may need the assistance of a long-term care facility. Their personality will change, and they will need help with the completion of basic personal tasks.
7. Very Severe Decline – In this last stage, the Dementia patient will stop responding to outside stimuli. They will lose the ability to control motor functions and hold a conversation. Patients in this state will need assistance with all their basic needs, including eating and using the toilet.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia, their care, well-being and quality of life may ultimately depend on your understanding of the disease. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, a Dementia patient will require varying degrees of care. Understanding how the disease progresses will help you prepare for all their short-term and long-term needs.
We have vast experience in caring for dementia patients - at varying stages of the condition, by assisting clients to live as full a life as possible, while easing any burden on their families.
If you require live in care for yourself or a loved one you can contact us, here, and we can discuss how best we can help.