The most common form or type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and thankfully the ability to manage the disease is becoming increasingly more sophisticated. One of the key advances is the recognition of the differences between the two common forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia. This is therapeutically important as the choice of treatment and adaptations to professional care facilities and homes will differ dependent on the diagnosis, especially as the individuals condition worsens.
At AGA, our part of helping to treat the disease comes down to working with the care sector and families to provide adaptable living environments. Modifications to a home or care provider facility can substantially improve the environment for those who have dementia, and help carers within an environment that helps them to provide the necessary quality of care.
The process of caring for dementia patients is can be very stressful and, as the condition worsens, dementia sufferers can become more anxious, stressed and scared. Invariably, they experience increased clumsiness, becoming increasingly forgetful and frustrated. This can be upsetting for them, so making sometimes small improvements to the home at the onset is extremely helpful in alleviating this stress, but as their condition continues to deteriorate, mobility and coordination difficulties occur, and this requires a much more robust solution.
AGA’s expertise really kicks in at this point, and our remit is to look at every dementia care environment individually. We will look at equipment and structural adaptations, especially in domestic homes. This could include significant changes, allowing for a person to be cared for on the ground floor of the home for example.
Creating bespoke care environments within domestic homes can be quite challenging as most homes were never built to become care facilities, but simple solutions can be adopted including the levelling of floors to allow for easy access, installation of appropriate hoisting equipment, strategically placed grab rails, and should the individual becoming wheelchair bound, we can introduce either permanent of fixed internal and external ramp structures. Non-slip bath and shower mats, plugs that stop flooding, raised or electronically height adjusted toilets, walk in showers and baths are all available to make those significant improvements to the persons living environment.
‘Maintaining a degree of independence is crucial for not only the physical well-being of the individual, it is also good for their mental well-being.’
At AGA we have over the years worked a great deal with Care Homes and Occupational Therapists to provide the very best environments for dementia care, and indeed many other life debilitating diseases. Those that suffer will be most vulnerable carrying out very simple tasks including:
- Cooking, cleaning and general household tasks
- Washing and bathing
- Eating and drinking
- Walking without tripping on carpets or other irregular flooring
- Forgetting to lock doors, and general security
Simple home adaptations can help someone with dementia manage those everyday tasks and stay in their own home longer. Although, you have more robust adaptations for when invariably the condition worsens, there are numerous other very helpful installations like whiteboards or noticeboards, clocks with large faces that provide not only easy reference to the time, they indicate day, date and month. Dosette boxes are extremely useful, as very often dementia sufferers will forget when they took medication. Writing up instructions on how to use equipment and electronic devices is very useful. Keyfinders and strategically placed reminders around the home. Memory aids are very simple inclusions and make a hugely positive difference to the living environment.
Caring for individuals suffering with dementia in any environment is difficult. The continued research, increased knowledge and innovations around dementia provides carers with the opportunity to improve the environments used for care. At AGA it is our passion and belief that all people suffering with dementia can experience an improved quality of life through simple or indeed more advanced adaptations.
AGA Mobility work with over 60 care homes, many of which provide dementia care. We also work with NHS authorities and associated bodies to provide and install the necessary equipment in dementia patients homes, so every individual can live as fulfilling life as possible, whilst alleviating some of the pressure on carers. As research in the care of dementia expands, new and innovative equipment is continually becoming available for dementia care in registered care facilities and domestic homes. We can provide professional advice on how equipment and adapting environments can improve the care provision needed for those that live with dementia.