For millions of people worldwide, Dementia is a challenging and complex condition. That’s because it affects both those living with dementia and those closest to them. To manage this, an increased focus on providing compassionate and effective care for those living with this condition is needed. In this blog we look at 6 steps to develop a holistic approach to those living with dementia.
As the average age of populations continues to increase, dementia cases are expected to rise. In fact, the number of people living with dementia was estimated to be close to one million in 2021 (944,000). By 2050 this figure is expected to rise to 1.6 million. But how we can care for those living with dementia?
Perhaps the most vital role in offering a supportive and safe environment for individuals with dementia, is played by hundreds of care homes around the country. This blog explores the essential elements of dementia care in a care home setting. With a particular emphasis on the vital roles that empathy, understanding, and a person-centered approach will make.
Key to the care of residents with dementia is the need to put a supportive environment in place. The well-being of care home residents with dementia, can be most significantly impacted by their physical surroundings. The home should ideally be designed to promote an environment where a sense of familiarity, safety, and comfort is paramount. Simple things, such as clear signage, uncluttered spaces, and soothing colours can reduce potential levels of confusion and agitation. Another is to incorporate an area set aside for reminiscences. Using familiar objects and photos to help residents maintain a sense of identity and hold on to connections with their past.
Treating each resident as an individual is fundamental to care home care. But for those living with dementia, the need to be treated as an individual is uniquely important. To be effective, care for residents with dementia must reflect their individual preferences, needs, and abilities. The concept of person-centred care involves recognising and respecting the person’s autonomy, choices, and the life they have lived. Getting to know and understand a dementia resident past experiences, hobbies, and interests, ensures that care providers can engage with them in meaningful activities that enhance their quality of life. This approach provides dignity and fosters a sense of self-worth. With the knock-on effect of reducing feelings of frustration and anxiety.
One of the key frustrations for those living with dementia is the feeling that they are not being understood. So, communication is the cornerstone of dementia care. One of the training essentials for those providing care to residents living with dementia, is to learn effective communication techniques to better connect with them. The use of simple and clear language, continually maintaining eye contact, and talking slowly in a calm voice can help residents feel understood and relevant. The technique of active listening is equally crucial. Because it helps care providers to identify and address residents’ needs and emotions accurately, thereby validating their individuality.
As one of the most powerful tools in dementia care, the value of empathy cannot be overstated. In many ways it enables care providers to put themselves in the residents’ shoes. It provides some level of understanding of their emotions, and their perspective on all manner of subjects. To be empathetic encourages patience, compassion, and a non-judgmental attitude towards residents who face challenges every day. The need for care providers to be sensitive to emotional cues is critical. This is because it enables them to respond with kindness and understanding.
When you give the opportunity for residents living with dementia to engage in meaningful activities it can greatly enhance their sense of purpose and overall well-being. By understanding the preferences of the individuals involved and tailoring activities to suit their interests and capabilities a vital link to their past and present. Activities don’t have to be difficult to deliver – they can range from arts and crafts, music therapy and gardening, to gentle exercises and memory games. By scheduling such activities on a regular basis, carers can provide a sense of structure and routine that will be a great comfort.
For those staff providing dementia care in a care home, specific and targeted training is essential if they are to look after their residents appropriately. Dementia care is unique and specific and requires well-trained and knowledgeable staff. With the shifting landscape of dementia care, regular training and development programs should be provided. This will equip caregivers with the necessary, up-to-date skills to address the evolving needs of residents with dementia. Training should cover topics such as dementia awareness, communication techniques, managing challenging behaviours, and promoting emotional well-being.
The provision of dementia care in a care home setting benefits from a holistic perspective and demands a compassionate approach. The creation of a supportive, person-centred environment, adopting and embracing empathetic attitudes and one-to-one personal communication, alongside the provision of meaningful activities, will benefit those living with dementia. In addition, providing ongoing and up-to-date staff training, enables care homes to provide the best possible care for residents living with dementia. The dementia journey is challenging for all concerned. But with the right care and understanding, care homes can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by this condition. By helping them maintain their dignity and quality of life, we can do the very best for those living with dementia.
Aurem Care homes are all about people caring about people, we believe our care homes should be happy homes for loved ones.
Where older adults can forge worthwhile, meaningful relationships with our team and make new friends.