fbpx

Dementia Care

Having a family member diagnosed with dementia can be life changing. The future may seem unpredictable, but one thing is certain, your loved one will require support as their illness progresses. Here at Harley Street Care we are experts in dementia care. Based in London, we can provide your loved one with all the support they need to live life well in their own home.

Caring for dementia

At Harley Street Care we are highly experienced in supporting all types of Dementia sufferers, through detailed and tailored care plans and providing specialist training for our carers in this complex field. We understand that when managing Dementia, consistency of routine is everything. This is why we offer dependable support and a one-to-one relationship with a reliable and experienced carer, whose specialist focus is invaluable to the service that they provide.

Whether you may be in the early stages, or a loved one is more advanced, we encourage participation through activities and attending events. With an active interest in current news and developments, our carers adopt the latest methods to interact and reminisce, often using such techniques with photographs, music and games to stimulate memory.

Comfortable and familiar surroundings are a crucial element for the effective care of this condition, enabling sufferers the maximum level of stability. When a trusted relationship is formed with an experienced carer within your home, it reinforces a relaxed environment. As a result, our care team are carefully chosen for their ability to build the rapport that underpins this important connection.

A guide for dealing with dementia

Guide for dealing with dementia

To find out more about how we can help you call 0207 989 0990 or email us at info@harleystreetcare.com or contact us online here

Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia – Symptoms and Diagnosis

The term dementia is defined as a neurological disease, symptoms of which will often include loss of memory, problems with reasoning and planning, and personality changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. People with Alzheimer’s develop an accumulation of protein in the brain creating ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’, which damage the connections between nerve cells. Alzheimer’s sufferers also have a deficiency of certain chemicals which serve to transmit signals around the brain, further reducing brain function.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that gets progressively worse with time, resulting in an ongoing decline in cognitive and physical ability. Early diagnosis is important from a treatment point of view. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, early diagnosis is also important because it enables the individual to make suitable arrangements for their ongoing care, and address any financial and legal matters.

Symptoms

Early-stage Symptoms

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty with routine/familiar tasks
  • Speech/language issues
  • Confusion/disorientation

Middle-stage symptoms

  • Longer term memory loss and forgetting basic personal information such as name or birthday
  • Personality and changes in behaviour such as paranoia or compulsive
  • Confusion surrounding dates/times
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Disturbed sleep patterns

Late-stage symptoms

  • Inability to perform daily activities without a high level of support and assistance
  • Difficulty with sitting, walking and, eventually, swallowing
  • Increased trouble communicating
  • Vulnerability to other illnesses or infections
  • Complete loss of awareness of people and environment

To find out more about how we can help you call 0207 989 0990 or email us at info@harleystreetcare.com or contact us online here

Diagnosis

Although there is no simple test for Alzheimer’s or a single cause, diagnosis can almost always be carried out using a range of medical examinations including blood tests, neurological and physical evaluations and a review of the patient’s medical history.

Diagnosis will usually begin with an assessment by a GP, who will take details of the symptoms exhibited, conduct some basic physical tests and also carry out blood and possibly urine tests. Based on their findings, they may then refer you to a specialist, who will likely be one of the following depending on age, symptoms and availability of the consultant;

  • General adult psychiatrist – specialising in in adult mental health issues
  • Old age psychiatrist – as above but specialising in treating those over 65
  • Geriatrician – specialising in physical and disabilities and illnesses in older people
  • Neurologist – specialising in the treatment of conditions relating to the brain and nervous system

The consultant will usually form part of a wider team which focusses on a particular area of speciality, and will include a number of doctors who are at different stages of training in that area.

The consultant to whom you are referred will not always be the person that you see for an assessment, but they are ultimately responsible for your case, and will take a suitably close overview, while also working closely with other healthcare professionals, such as social workers, occupational therapists, and advisors who specialise in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Once you have been referred to the consultant, they will carry out further tests, which will be more detailed than those carried out by your GP, and may include various types of brain scans, including CAT (computerised axial tomography), CT (computerised tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Alongside the physical tests, you will also be referred for some pre-diagnostic counselling, to help you understand the reasons for your referral and help prepare you for the possibility of a positive diagnosis.

In the event that you can’t be categorically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may be discharged back into the care of your GP for ongoing monitoring. The monitoring period will usually last between 6-12 months, and the GP will look for indications that your condition has significantly worsened over that timeframe.

Dos and Dont’s for caring with those with dementia

When an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia is being physical or verbally abusive, it’s important to remember that this is not a conscious decision or a rational state of being, but rather a symptom of their illness. These symptoms are often triggered by something or someone within their immediate surroundings that makes them feel uncomfortable or disorientated. It’s important to try and identify the root cause of their distress, and then attempt to reassure them that

  • Do speak in a calm and reassuring manner that will help to alleviate their distress.
  • Do make regular eye contact while you speak to them to ensure you have their attention.
  • Do try to establish what the trigger is for their emotional outburst. It may be something as trivial as a minor deviation from routine. Once you have established this, you can try and divert their attention to something else.
  • Don’t attempt to argue or apply logic to this situation. The outburst may well be entirely irrational and trying to talk them around can sometimes inflame an already emotional situation.
  • Don’t try to physically restrain them unless they are likely to cause harm to themselves or others. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to give them space.
  • Don’t ignore what they say. Sometimes it may seem as though they are not making much sense, but they will often give away indications of what they are thinking or feeling, even if it’s not immediately apparent.

Here at Harley Street Care your life, best lived, is our priority.

To find out more about how we can help you call 0207 989 0990 or email us at info@harleystreetcare.com or contact us online here