What to Look for When Hiring Homecare for a Loved One With Dementia

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease affect about 160,000 people throughout Australia, and if one of your loved ones is affected by these debilitating issues, you probably want to get them as much help as possible. In some cases, you may be able to help your loved one preserve some of their independence by arranging home care. When choosing home care for someone with this particular disability, you should keep the following points in mind.

Look for Experience With Dementia

When looking for someone to provide disability care, you need to ensure that they have experience with dementia in particular. This cognitive disease has unique challenges, and ideally you want the home care worker to understand those nuances. Additionally, if they have experience, they are likely to know more about the best ways to help and support your loved one.

Outline What Your Loved One Needs

To ensure you get the best caregiver, you need to understand what your loved one needs. Take some time to make a list of tasks that you think your loved one needs help with. You may want to make this list over a several-week time period, rather than all at once. That allows you to add items to the list as you notice your loved one having particular difficulties, while helping to ensure that you don't overlook anything.

People in the early stages of dementia often have issues with executive functioning, so they may need help paying the bills or menu planning. They may need rides to the grocery store or to medical appointments, and as the disease progresses, they may need help with cleaning the house, bathing themselves, cooking and other routine tasks. When you talk with prospective home caretakers, you may want to see if they have any additional ideas on what help your love done needs.

Make Sure They Can Stimulate Your Loved One's Mind

That said, people with dementia in general or Alzheimer's disease in particular don't just need help with routine tasks. They also need mental stimulation to help them maintain their cognitive abilities as long as possible. Whilst taking with prospective caregivers, ask which type of activities they can do to stimulate your loved one's mind. Some ideas include arts and crafts, working on puzzles, reading the newspaper and gardening. Music therapy or even just listening to music can also be incredibly useful.

Talk About Lessening Anxiety

When people have dementia or Alzheimer's disease, they may suffer from a lot of anxiety. The caregiver should be able to help them with this aspect of the disability. To ensure you are hiring the right caregivers for the job, ask what they do to lessen anxiety. If they are accustomed to working with people with this disease, they should have an answer immediately, and they should understand how important this is. They may work to create a calm environment, and they may set up the home so that it stays relatively calm even after they have left. For instance, if your loved one has stacks of answered mail that are inducing anxiety, the caregiver may help them sort through the mail so that it isn't weighing on your loved one's mind. Other options include reducing noise and background distractions and helping your loved one find outlets for exercise.

Ask If They Can Monitor Progression

To date, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease or dementia. If someone has Alzheimer's disease (which is the most common type of dementia), there are some medications that can help to slow down the progression of the disease. With general dementia, there are only medications that can help with side effects, such as antidepressants, sleep aids and anti-anxiety medications.

Your loved one's medical needs and home-care concerns will change as the disease progresses. Make sure that the caregiver you hire can help you notice chances as the disease worsens.