When should someone with dementia go into a care home?
When an individual’s dementia care needs can no longer be comfortably or safely managed at home, it’s time to consider moving into a care home or seeking extra support. Choosing to move into a care home is a big decision, particularly for someone with dementia, and it can be hard to know when to take that step.
Whether you have received a dementia diagnosis yourself and are planning for your future, or you are struggling to care for a loved one who lives with dementia, we are here to support you to recognise the right time for someone with dementia to go into a care home.
When is dementia care appropriate?
Dementia care is appropriate for anyone with a dementia diagnosis, at any stage of their dementia journey. This is because specialist dementia care is person-centred, and is tailored to the specific needs and symptoms of the person living with dementia.
Care homes for dementia fall into two categories. ‘Dementia-friendly’ care homes can support those with low-level dementia care needs to live as independently as possible within a residential setting, whilst ‘specialist dementia care homes’ provide expert care and support for those whose dementia symptoms are more advanced, or who need additional help to stay and feel safe.
All of Somerset Care’s residential care homes are dementia-friendly, and are able to support those with mild dementia symptoms to live the life they choose. Many also specialise in dementia care, with highly-trained, expert dementia care teams, and dedicated dementia care suites which provide safety, security, stimulation and reassurance for people living with more advanced dementia symptoms or behaviours which challenge.
A specialist dementia care home is a good option for those who are worried about their dementia symptoms progressing, as their expert dementia care team will be able to adjust or increase the amount and type of care and support you receive within the same, familiar setting, should your needs change.
If you don’t yet feel ready to make the move into a care home, it is worth considering other specialist dementia support which can enable you to stay in your own home for longer. This could include home care visits from specialist carers to support you with personal care or daily household tasks, or perhaps experiencing a snapshot of life in a dementia care home through day care visits or a respite break.
Ultimately, the right dementia care for the individual is whatever meets their needs, helps them manage their dementia symptoms, and stay safe and well.
What support do dementia care homes offer?
Specialist dementia care homes look after the whole person – their physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as their physical care and practical support needs.
A dementia diagnosis does not mean that you need to give up your hobbies, and stop doing the things that are important to you. You may need more support to do the things that you love, but dementia care that enables you to continue with your interests and empowers you to discover new pastimes, not only benefits your wellbeing, but has been shown in some instances to reduce the severity of dementia symptoms, or slow down their progression.
People living with dementia can sometimes experience the frustration of struggling to make themselves understood through speech or other forms of communication. Creative activities, such as art and music, have been found to be very effective in helping dementia patients to express themselves, which is why you will often find these types of activities on offer in specialist dementia care homes.
The care team at our Cooksons Court dementia care home in Yeovil, have observed how Ruth, a resident who lives with advanced dementia, ‘lights up’ when she sits down to play the piano. The dementia symptoms which can cause Ruth to struggle with her memory and daily tasks, have not taken away her talent and obvious enjoyment of music.
Since making a piano available for Ruth to play whenever she chooses, the team have noticed the transformational effect which playing music has on her, and seen first-hand how music can be a powerful tool against the symptoms of dementia.
“It’s lovely that Ruth is able to express herself through music again. This is amazing as Ruth lives with advanced dementia which affects so many other things that she does.
“It is truly incredible to watch her get lost in the music like nothing else in the world matters.”
Read Ruth’s story
Specialist dementia care homes will seek to support the passions and interests of residents living with dementia, as well as provide tailored care which meets their needs. This person-centred approach to dementia care enables those living with dementia to find enjoyment, expression and lead a fulfilling life, despite their diagnosis.