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What should you look for in a care home for someone living with Dementia?

02 June 2022


When the decision has been made to start looking for respite or full-time residential care for someone living with Dementia, the big question is ‘which care home should I choose?’

‘There are a number of important factors to take into account,’ says General Manager, Ross Bijak, who facilitates Dementia training at Cramond Residence. ‘First, and most importantly, the home must have care staff who have the training and expertise to look after those with Dementia. They should also be able to show how the care they offer will make life rich and fulfilling for their residents.’

Ross advises that you look for a home where the majority of the staff have been trained to ‘informed’ level on caring for those with dementia and that there are a large number trained to ‘skilled’ level – as per the Promoting Excellence framework, developed by Scottish Social Services Council and NHS Scotland in line with Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy.

‘Every individual who interacts with someone who is living with dementia has a direct impact on their quality of life,’ Ross says, ‘so we believe it is essential as many of our staff have the correct knowledge and training. We facilitate dementia support programmes and aim to train all members of staff – even those who may not be providing direct care.’

The next thing to look at is the accommodation and facilities the home offers. ‘In too many cases, those living with Dementia are placed within a ‘childlike’ environment’,’ Ross says. ‘At Cramond we have created as homely an environment as possible, with neutral interiors that calm and comfort. This, in our opinion, is the best approach.’

Ross also thinks that people with Dementia should not be cut off from others. ‘Our residents living with Dementia still have access to all classes, facilities and activities to ensure that they live a more fulfilling life. This is vital.’

The nature of the activities on offer is very important, as well-designed and well-delivered activities can really help those living with dementia find relief and enjoyment. ‘Look for a range of specially designed therapeutic activities – from exercise through to art therapy,’ says Ross. ‘A good home should have specialist facilities and trained activity staff on hand to manage and organise things.’

Another important piece in the Dementia care jigsaw involves the way in which a home involves family members and loved one in the care of those living with Dementia. ‘A home should allow residents to learn about and, where appropriate and desired, take part in the care. Everything should be done to educate, involve and inform.

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