Dementia Nursing Homes vs Specialised Care


Sorting through the options when considering how best to care for someone with dementia can be challenging. The quick answer is that it all comes down to what type of dementia they have been diagnosed with, and also how aggressive their degeneration has been. A person with dementia will need more care and support as their symptoms get worse over time. This may mean that a move into a care home can better meet their needs.

Historically nursing homes were seen as the only real option for families needing assistance with loved ones diagnosed with dementia, and who could no longer care for them in-home. However, nursing homes are not always equipped to deal with the challenges that come along with dementia patients specifically with regards to memory care therapy and memory stimulation activities. 

Many faces of dementia

Dementia exhibits in so many forms and can be caused by many underlying ailments. Alzheimer’s disease is the highest contributor of dementia, but dementia also includes, but not limited to: Korsakoff Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia and Vascular Dementia. More often than not nurses and carers in nursing homes have not been trained sufficiently on how to deal with each of these types of dementia.

However, due to the increasing number of elderly being diagnosed with a form of dementia, more and more nursing homes are opening wards specifically for dementia patients and most often, many of these staff are not properly trained to care for people living with dementia. 

Higher cost of specialised care

Specialised dementia care facilities were always seen as more costly than nursing homes. Nursing homes are able to cater to the physical needs of their residents, but for those living with dementia, unless they have dedicated training in all the types of the disease, the staff  are not equipped for their mental needs of the patient which can lead to frustration in the carer and the patient. Not receiving specialised care can also mean their rapid cognitive deterioration. 

Specialised facilities require their staff to undergo specialized training to care for the unique needs of dementia patients. Specialised skills and training often result in a higher paid resource due to their qualifications, therefore the facility as a whole is seen as being more upmarket as you are paying to get top, and specialised care. 

What to look for in a facility

Not everyone can afford the higher cost of specialised dementia care facilities. If a specialised care facility is a little out of your budget, check if the following criteria are available to set your mind at ease:

  1. Is there a Dementia specific unit
  2. Is the dementia unit appropriately designed to meet the needs of people living with dementia?
  3. Will your family member be regularly seen by a GP or medically trained dementia professional?
  4. Does the nursing home have a formal communication strategy to the family to send updates?
  5. Does the nursing home have a trained dementia diversional therapist and physiotherapist? And how often will the resident be seen by the therapist?

Choosing the right care home for your loved one with dementia is not easy and there are many factors that play a role. Livewell Village is a specialised dementia and Alzheimer facility in South Africa with qualified and trained nursing and care staff providing round the clock care to their residents. If you need help deciding on what is best for your loved one, speak to one of our trained family advisors today.

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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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