Considering Residential Dementia Care
Dementia is a progressive condition that affects a person’s thinking, their behaviour and their ability to perform everyday tasks.
Caring for someone with dementia is a big responsibility. It can be very rewarding, but it can be physically and emotionally challenging as well, especially if you are the sole carer.
When the person with dementia condition and their needs change, they will be reassessed. The assessment may show that they now need a different level of care.
Considering residential care can be a traumatic time for the whole family/whanau. Often it is not something that we think we need or want, although there may come a time for the continued safety and comfort for the family member with dementia.
The transition for a person with dementia, while everyone is different, even if a person with dementia cannot express feelings and wishes verbally, they may still be upset about leaving home. They may also feel confusion, sadness and fear at the sense of loss of independence and increased reliance on others. Other common emotions are grief, nervousness over unfamiliarity, anticipation, anger, relief, resignation or feelings of powerlessness. These emotions may be expressed by changed behaviours such as increased agitation, pacing, trying to leave the facility, aggression, withdrawal, tearfulness or clinging. It may take time for them to adjust to living in residential care. However, it’s not always difficult and some people settle in quite quickly.
The transition for family/whānau carers, some carers feel there’s a gap in their own life after a person they have cared for has moved into long-term residential care. They may now feel a wide range of emotions.
To provide a good life and to enjoy the highest possible quality of life and quality of care by being engaged in meaningful relationships which are based on equality, understanding, sharing, participation, collaboration, dignity, trust and respect for people living with dementia at Seadrome.
Our values influence how we meet the needs of residents.
We strive to reflect the following values in our care giving and relationships:
- Dignity and Respect, to listen to residents and honour their perspectives and choices. Seeing people as distinct individuals, a genuine and determined desire to treat and respect those with dementia as unique and valuable. Respecting the values, beliefs, cultural and spiritual backgrounds of people with dementia and their family/whānau.
- Embracing the now, living in the moment. The gradual disappearance of memory brings about a strong desire to focus on the thing that is being lost. While support with ‘remembering’ can be hugely valuable to people with dementia, this should be balanced with the importance of experiences in the here and now.
- Sustaining relationships, dementia brings out different aspects of relationships, sustaining meaningful relationships is essential. You don’t always need words.
- Valuing contrast ‘Good days and bad days’. Being able to express individuality freely and gain contentment.
- Supporting, allowing a person with dementia take risks, along with our desire to keep vulnerable people safe. Promote spontaneity, choice and risk as assets in a life with dementia, not restricting individuals’ freedoms by limiting them to our desired routines.
- Maintaining health, dementia is a serious condition which requires specialist treatment. That focus can cause unintended disregard for other parts of an individual’s health which, if neglected, may become a source of needless suffering, or limit opportunities to live well. Enable people with dementia to communicate their feelings in relation to health and wellbeing.
Meaningful activities are based on values and belief related to past role and interests.
Enjoyment is a measure of what makes activities meaningful and also reinforces a sense of identity and a sense of belonging.
The person with dementia will be assessed by the Occupational Therapist, then with the Diversional Therapist, Activities Assistant and Caregivers. From these assessments an individualised activity programme is created.
The family/ whānau will be involved with planning.
Examples of group and individual activities can be found on the following page.
These activities may change as they reflect the interests of current residents.
The resident, and family/whānau, or other representative, are consulted on the resident’s individual values and beliefs.
If required, we are happy to learn aspects of the culture that impact on the resident’s care. For example, useful everyday language to support the resident. A resource person can help the team understand the situation and offer culturally appropriate ways to work with the resident and his/her family by alerting them to cultural communication patterns (e.g., meaning of eye contact/body language).
For residents identifying as Maori
Our services incorporate the culture values and beliefs, they are based on Te Whare Tapa Wha, the cornerstones of Maori health:
• Te taha wairua the spiritual side
• Te taha hinegaro thoughts and feelings
• Te taha tinana the physical side
• Te taha whānau the family
The whānau are involved in all aspects of care, particularly in nursing and medical decisions.