What is Dementia & What Support Do Care Homes Offer?
Dementia is the term used for a group of symptoms affecting cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. The care team at Cramond Residence has over 40 years of experience between them offering the highest level of care for those living with this condition.
Dementia has a negative impact on the individual activities of daily living and has an impact on a range of physical abilities, such as balance, movement and speaking. It is progressive and irreversible. Unfortunately, no cure is currently available, but care homes with specialist facilities and trained staff can provide support & relief for those living with Dementia and their families.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of Dementia. It accounts for between 60 to 80 percent of Dementia cases (according to the Alzheimer’s Association). Other forms of Dementia include Vascular Dementia, which tends to develop more rapidly than Alzheimer’s.
In Dementia, damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between nerve cells (neurons) are lost. It’s these neurons that transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.
What are the symptoms of Dementia?
Dementia often begins with simple episodes of forgetfulness, trouble keeping track of time and disorientation within familiar settings. In its early stages it can be easy to overlook the initial symptoms, which can be mild.
As Dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion grow, while the ability to remember things and to concentrate decrease. It becomes harder for the person affected to perform daily activities and this triggers the need for more and more support from family and friends.
As Dementia gets worse, the individual may become unable to take care of their personal needs and other people (such as family and professional care-givers) may have to step in to help. There might be a point where family and friends are unable to provide the right level of care in a community setting.
When should someone living with Dementia go into a care home?
Those living with Dementia may live a full and well-supported life at home, however this is dependent on the help that can be provided by family and other carers, which can often feel like a burden for both the individual and their family. As a result, there often comes a time when the decision needs to be made to move the person living with Dementia into a care home, so that they can receive the level of support and medical assistance that they need.
This can be a very difficult decision to make. Often those caring for the individual at home feel that they are failing or letting that person down in some way. If things are getting too much, then one short-term solution can be a respite break in a care home. Here at Cramond Residence, we welcome the opportunity to assist in this way. Respite breaks can really help on their own and, when taken frequently, can lead to a smooth transition into long-term residential care and support.
The decision to move someone living with Dementia into a Care Home on a long-term residential basis should be taken when it’s in the best interests for all the people concerned.
From the individuals’ point of view, this time is often the point at which they can no longer receive the care and support they need at home (even if nurses and other carers are visiting to provide at-home assistance). Obviously, if a person is living independently and has nobody who can help care for them, then they will need to think about moving into a care home at an earlier point than someone who has a good care network to help them.
For those caring for the individual (for example, spouses, friends and family), the ‘right time’ is often the point at which they feel that they cannot provide the level of support required, or when they feel they themselves can no longer cope, or if caring is having an impact on their own health or mental well-being.
Why is Cramond Residence the best place for those living with Dementia?
At Cramond Residence we have the full range of facilities and expertise needed to support those living with Dementia. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, those living with Dementia can be supported and cared for within the general community of residents or, if appropriate, in a dedicated, specially designed section of the Residence.
We provide services tailored to the individual needs of all residents and prioritise dignity, respect, and independence at all times. We pride ourselves on the fact that our team has the resources, specialist knowledge and experience to help all residents with Dementia to live well with their diagnosis.
In general, our small group living approach provides a relaxed and calm atmosphere. Because we take this person-centred approach to care, we offer a choice of small, friendly self-contained homes where it is easier for those with Dementia to create new relationships and maintain social engagement (with the help of the staff). The comfortable environment at the Residence helps to make all residents feel at home. In general, for someone living with Dementia small group living supports orientation, promotes calm and removes sources of anxiety.
Because Cramond Residence is very much a family-run home, it distinguishes itself from more corporate organizations in the way decisions are made and care is managed. This means that any necessary changes can be implemented quickly to reflect the needs of each individual. This flexibility is particularly important for someone with Dementia, whose care needs can change rapidly as the condition evolves.
How long does it take someone with dementia to adjust to a care home?
This will depend very much on the individual. Many people living with dementia find the caring environment provided by Cramond Residence to be calming and settle in in a short time. Others take longer to cope, however everything is done to make the transition as smooth and rapid as possible.
How can Cramond Residence help someone living with Dementia?
When thinking about placing someone living with Dementia into Cramond Residence’s care, it is important to realise that such an environment bring a wide range of benefits to the individual – benefits that it is difficult or impossible to provide in a home environment.
These benefits include 24-hour support from our nurses and carers and other professionally trained staff. This ensures that the individual gets the help they need, is never placed in a dangerous or compromised situation and that they get expert medical care when required with no delays.
Cramond Residence also provides a wide range of stimulating activities – such as music and art therapy – which can help a person living with Dementia live a fullfilled and dignified life. Cramond Residence is able to provide vital social interactions, group activities and friendships – all of which can help those living with Dementia have positive experiences they would not otherwise enjoy.
What benefits can Cramond Residence provide for family and carers?
Care at Cramond Residence can take all of the stress and hard work of caring for someone with Dementia off the shoulders of their loved ones. That said, they also provide ample opportunities for friends and family to visit and play a significant part in the life of the resident and – where appropriate – to play a part in their care.
This often means that the relationship between the person living with Dementia and his or her friends and loved ones changes for the better – points of stress are removed, worries about everyday care are absent, and the time that is spent together can all about enjoying each other’s company.
At Cramond Residence we work hard to ensure that family and friends are kept fully involved and up to date with their loved one’s care.
One of our care options, takes this a step further: We welcome couples in which one party is living with Dementia and the other has been acting as their carer. This means that partners can continue their lives together, with all care worries taken off their hands. This brings much solace to both the couple and their families, who take great comfort from the knowledge that their parents are still together and are being well looked after.
What does someone living with Dementia react when they first move into a care home?
Individuals react in different ways when they first come into a care home, so it is impossible to give one answer to this questions. However, at Cramond Residence everything is done to make each new resident feel at home.
We often find that the calm environment we provide helps people adjust quickly. Our caring and attentive staff work to ensure that new residents have all their needs seen to and that they are encouraged to take part in new activities and to become part of the small community who share their specific home within the residence. Because we have a high staff-to-resident ratio there are lots of carers on hand to help, so people feel that they always have someone to turn to – this often helps relieve any anxiety. We also have a key worker system that allows residents to truly connect and build a trustworthy relationship with their carers.
How is medical care offered to those with Dementia?
Different Care Homes have their own specific ways of delivering medical care, but at Cramond Residence with take a nurse-led, resident-focused approach. As with all our residents, the nursing and medical care of those individuals who are living with Dementia is planned and organised using a Personal Care Plan. These are developed for each individual and ensure that every care need is identified and constantly reviewed. The focus of each resident’s care plan is on wellness and independence.
Keeping families well informed and up-to-date is one of our top priorities. So long as the resident agrees, we ensure that care plans are fully accessible at any time via our state of the art Mobizio system (accessible via smartphone and laptop). This technology ensures that care plans are constantly updated so people can see instantly if there have been any changes. This system can be accessed from anywhere in the world. It gives families and friends unique reassurance and peace of mind, even if they live far away.
To support our residents with Dementia, we enjoy the support of visiting GPs, who come twice weekly. We also work closely with external agencies, such as befriender and wellbeing services. These experts enhance the lives of all who need their help. We also use onsite physiotherapy to encourage and promote mobility and balance. This, in turn, helps to maintain our residents’ independence and physical wellbeing.
To ensure that all residents with Dementia get the best possible care, we insist that all staff undertake Dementia-informed level training at induction. Following on from this, we facilitate the Promoting Excellence in Dementia training (at Skilled level) as set out by the Scottish Government and SSSC. We also provide eLearning models to promote continuous professional development.
What kind of therapies benefit people living with Dementia?
We provide a range of lifestyle therapies and activities that have been designed specifically for those living with cognitive impairment. Our Lifestyle team tailor the activities they organise to the individual needs, capabilities and passions of our residents. Activities include art and craft sessions, holistic massage therapy, music and dance, garden visits and discussions groups. We enjoy the services of a visiting hairdresser who always lifts people’s spirits.
Those living with Dementia get huge benefits from these activities and from interacting with our staff and with their fellow residents. For example, those in the earlier stages of the condition, really enjoy reminiscing or just looking through photos of their family and friends and this can help stimulate their long-term memories.
Many of our activities help boost health and wellbeing. Art activities keep the creative juices flowing, while quizzes keep the mind active. We also host visits for Toffee, Cramond Residence’s Therapet, who is a chocolate brown Labradoodle. Toffee and his owner Miriam visit every week. He is always up for lots of cuddles and plays an important part in many of the therapies and activities that we offer to those living with Dementia.
How often can I visit my loved one who has dementia?
What should I do if I think I, or someone else, has Dementia?
Visiting hours are open but we do ask that visitors are responsible and that they take account of their loved one’s needs for rest and therapeutic activity. We also ask that consideration be given to other residents within the residence.
If you notice one or more of the symptoms described above, either in yourself or in a loved one or friend, get in touch with a doctor. Alzheimer’s and the other forms of Dementia are challenging for both the person living with the disease and those close to them. Your doctor will be able to confirm whether or not the disease is present and, if it is, give you the reassurance and support that you will need going forward.
This will give you the time to understand the disease and to plan for the best possible care. Unfortunately, some families find themselves at a crisis point and only then think about long-term care options. It is much better to get professional advice and look at all available options before the disease becomes unmanageable at home.
What is the ratio of staff to residents?
We have a ratio of one staff member to every four residents, which allows us to provide excellent levels of individual care and attention. We also check dependency levels on a daily basis and provide flexible staffing levels to accommodate specific needs at specific times.
What happens if I am not happy with any aspect of the dementia care you offer?
We work tirelessly to make sure you are 100% happy, however, we do have a formal complaint procedure that will deal with any issues in a transparent and professional manner.