Could the lack of specialisation be the cause of poor dementia care?

As your loved ones enter their golden years you may be starting to think about the type of care and environment they might need as the years progress. This becomes increasingly more important if they have an illness or mobility problems, such as might arise should they suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory-related illness requires specialised treatment and programmes carried out by trained individuals in an environment that is designed for housing those with dementia. 

There are a lot of nursing homes out there that might advertise that they accept residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s, however that is not to say that they offer the level of specialised care that dedicated dementia nursing homes offer. It has been proven that a structured programme of cognitive stimulation therapies, when coupled with the right pharmacotherapy, can have lasting positive effects on patients living with dementia. 

The benefits for your loved one in the right home with access to dementia care specialists include the decrease in decline of memory and thinking, an increased ability to express themselves, being more able to foster emotional connections with others, lessened anxiety and irritability, feeling more engaged, and having past memories stirred. 

The sad reality is that there are so many people receiving poor dementia care (or none), and it is because of the lack of specialised dementia care available in nursing homes. It is a misnomer that people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s have the same needs as those who do not have the disease.


Why do people with dementia need specialised care?

Living with dementia has its own set of side effects which include physical, cognitive, and emotional elements, which all need to be worked on for holistic treatment. Loved ones with dementia have many remaining abilities that a dementia care specialist would see and capitalise on. In some nursing homes that purport to care for dementia, but which are not specialised, might see a person who wanders as a danger to themselves or others and keep them behind closed doors – which is damaging to that person’s wellbeing. Whereas in dementia nursing homes this kind of behaviour could be interpreted as that person’s strength, i.e. they can walk and they desire to engage with others or their environment, and a trained individual will direct their energies and abilities appropriately. 

Wandering and confusion are real challenges for people with dementia, so special care needs to be taken even in the physical layout and structure of their environments. For example, important things need to stand out like handrails and doors, colour differentiation needs to be considered (a white door on a white wall doesn’t stand out enough), and even pathways should be circular so that people who wander do not get lost or stuck at a dead end. 

Moreover, a person with dementia needs a person-centred, abilities-focused approach to their treatment to have the biggest impact on their wellbeing. Dementia care specialists are able to work on a person’s unique interests and build a tailored program that takes into account the stage of their disease. They will have trained staff that know how to address and take care of dementia patients, as unlike someone who doesn’t have a memory impairment, they may not always be capable of voicing their needs. Something as simple as an ingrown toenail for someone with dementia can be very serious, as ordinarily it might go unnoticed in a regular nursing home as the patient might forget to tell someone or not have the faculties to say so. Dementia nursing homes, such as Livewell Villages, which are dementia care specialists will have routine checks to avoid just such a thing from developing.

A dementia nursing home such as Livewell Villages will also cater for frail care services, which include end of life care and support, palliative care for cancer patients, stomal therapy, IV infusions, Morphine patch and maintenance of a Morphine Pump, PEG tube feeding in emergencies, catheter care, wound care, and suprapubic catheters.


Why choose Livewell Villages to care for your loved one?

Livewell Villages takes great pride in its team of highly specialised carers, who are experienced in Alzheimer’s nursing care and dementia care. We have a deep understanding of the challenges that come with living with dementia and Alzheimer’s and are aware of the effects it can have on both our residents and their families.

At Livewell, our staff are constantly receiving training on how to care for someone living with dementia. Families can feel safe knowing that their loved one is being cared for by caregivers that are dementia care specialists who has received adequate training. Unlike many dementia nursing homes that can often seem unwelcoming and sterile, our Villages offer a homely and serene environment that is welcoming for everyone. Our luxurious surroundings helps make the transition easier on our residents.

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Arrive as family, live with dignity and purpose.

Since 2011, the Livewell Group has been at the forefront of dementia and Alzheimer’s care in South Africa. We are motivated by a personal and heartfelt concern for the dignity and care of our elders and our efforts continue to be encouraged by the strong market need for specialised individual care.

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