As we age, our risk of getting dementia increases, and with it comes a raft of challenges that not only affect the person suffering from the disease, but also those families caring for them. That said, although caring for a loved one with dementia can be rewarding, it also has the potential to push families to breaking point if not managed correctly. Education is key when it comes to finding a balance between good days and bad, while also understanding what dementia is and knowing that it is absolutely manageable with the right support.
2023 statistics show that there are over 400,000 Australians currently living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people diagnosed with the disease, is expected to increase to over 800,000 by 20581. This year alone, there are over 28,650 people with younger onset dementia – people in their 40s and 50s – which is expected to rise to over 42,400 affected by 2058.
So, what is dementia? A term often used loosely; dementia is not one specific disease. In fact, it’s a culmination of a number of neurological conditions, of which the major symptom is a steady or rapid decline in cognitive function. Not many people know that there are over 100 diseases that may cause dementia, with the most common causes being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies2. The early signs of dementia can be subtle and may not be immediately obvious, but with education on what to look out for, early detection is possible. Some common symptoms include:
- Memory loss and misplacing things with an inability to retrace steps
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
- Confusion specific to time and places
- Difficulty completing everyday tasks
- Difficulty in problem-solving abilities
- Changes in speech, writing or comprehension
- Decreased judgement.
Studies over the years have shown that those living with dementia, have good days, which are typically associated with improved global cognition, function, interest and initiation; while bad days are associated with frequent verbal repetition, poor memory, increased agitation, and other disruptive behaviours. Caring for a person living with dementia and finding that balance isn’t always easy and can leave family members feeling stressed, frustrated and tired. Many carers also experience feelings of guilt that come with caring for a loved one, and the feeling that they aren’t doing enough.
At Home Care Assistance, we are here help. As a trusted provider of care to individuals and families living with mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, our experience has shown that the difference between a good day and a bad day can be as simple as a familiar home environment and a skilled Care Worker. When it comes to your loved ones, their comfort and safety is our priority.
A key part of our role in supporting those with Alzheimer’s and dementia is to provide a safe, comfortable home environment that enables your loved one to remain in a familiar setting and avoid agitation3 with the option of 24-hour care if needed. Being a full-time caregiver to a loved one is not only physically exhausting, but mentally and emotionally draining too, which is why respite care is so important. Remember – you’re not alone.
At Home Care Assistance, we give you a break from your daily caregiving activities to relax and recharge, carve out some time for yourself to either exercise, do some shopping, visit friends, catch up on sleep or even take a short getaway. Respite care is a vital part of long-term care, because when caregivers don’t have regular breaks, their health and well-being can suffer. Knowing that your loved one is in the care of one or our trained, professional Care Workers, provides you with sound piece of mind.
Whilst we cannot stop the clock or even turn back time, change our genetics or family history, we can take small steps towards making changes to our health and lifestyle habits, to help reduce or delay the risk of developing dementia. It’s never too early or too late to start. Keeping your brain active is important to when it comes to optimal cognitive function. Your brain is the most valuable asset you have – take good care of it.
Mental exercises such as puzzles and brain training games, not excluding outdoor exercise, music and art, can help build new brain cells and strengthen connections between them. This in turn provides the brain with more ‘reserve’ or ‘back up’ so that it can cope better and keep working properly if any brain cells are damaged or die. By the same token, taking care of your heart, body and mental health will also stand you in good stead in helping stave off or delay the risk of dementia by years.
Support of an in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance, can bring enormous benefit and comfort to your quality of life while living independently at home. Home Care Assistance has viable solutions when it comes to supporting independent living. For more information, get in touch with a Home Care Assistance near me today.
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.