Home Carers Intro to Dementia Care

The Alzheimer’s Society estimate that by 2040, 1.6million people in the UK could be living with dementia. It is a growing concern with devastating consequences for families and loved ones.

 

If you are caring for individuals who suffer with dementia, it’s natural that you want to provide the best possible care and support for them. Here is a basic intro to dementia care for home carers.

 

What is Dementia?

 

Dementia isn’t a single disease or condition, but instead is a blanket term that refers to a group of specific medical conditions that affect brain function. The changes in brain function are severe enough to affect cognitive ability and the day-to-day life of the sufferer. Dementia is most common in people aged over 65, but early onset of these conditions can happen to those as young as in their 30s.

 

How does Dementia affect individuals?

 

How dementia affects an individual is down to the type of condition they are experiencing and the advancement of it within their brain. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of the condition and is responsible for about 70% of all cases. Other types of dementia include Vascular Dementia, caused by bleeding or blood vessel blockage in the brain and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, which occurs in those already living with Parkinson’s.

 

Dementia attacks and damages brain cells, and often different types of dementia are responsible for the destruction of cells in different areas of the brain.

 

The most common side effects of dementia are cognitive. These include memory loss (short term and long term), lack of social awareness, severe mood swings, depression and confusion.

 

Most types of dementia are progressive, so will worsen over time. Although incurable, dementia is not entirely untreatable, and those who are able to identify and acknowledge the issues early on are often able to continue with their lives just fine throughout the early and moderate stages.

 

What sort of support could Dementia sufferers require?

 

There are plenty of dementia care options available for those suffering with the condition/s.

 

Healthcare options for those with dementia can include medication to help ease the cognitive symptoms of the conditions. Each pharmaceutical is different, but generally speaking, these work to help improve memory retention, stabilise mood and better regulate the part of the brain that processes information. A doctor or neurologist will be able to advise and prescribe appropriate medication.

 

Homecare options can include a dedicated carer visiting the patient’s home to help them with day-to-day tasks that they find difficult to complete by themselves. Dementia care options at home allow dignity for the client and cover a broad definition of the word ‘care’. Carer responsibilities can include the administering of medication, cooking, shopping, reading, household duties and personal care and hygiene duties.

 

Caring for someone with Dementia can be challenging

 

If you’re providing dementia care for someone, it can be a challenging and frustrating responsibility. Patients can become very angry, upset or confused very quickly, and are unable to retain information well – so basic instructions can fall by the wayside and make for frustrating and even dangerous situations. There are workarounds for this, but it is undoubtedly a challenge.

 

In more severe stages of dementia, patients may even forget or not recognise members of their own family, their friends, and the carers who look after them day-in, day-out. This can be difficult if they become frightened of their carer needlessly, but some patience and persistence is key to help win them around and continue to nurture and look after them.

 

What are the best ways of dealing with a Dementia sufferer?

 

It is imperative when caring for someone with dementia that you stay mindful of the person under the disease – they have a history, a family, a personality, hobbies and a whole long life story to tell. Dementia sadly masks this, and it can dehumanise them to a point that they are unrecognisable. Finding beauty and uncovering the person underneath is key to staying calm, patient and compassionate.

 

Dementia sufferers often struggle with changes in routine, so if you’re able to, dementia care should follow a schedule and rarely deviate from the ‘norm’, keeping the client feeling safe and secure at all times.

 

It is rewarding to support somebody with Dementia

It is hugely rewarding to know that you are giving dignity and integrity to someone living with a condition that will strip them of so much. The journey will not be linear and there will be no miracle cure, but sparks of beauty and compassion will shock you and make you smile as you go.

 

Are you interested in a job in home care? Find out more about working in home care and the opportunities that we have available in and around Epsom at AM2PM Quality Care.

Self Care for Home Carers

Working as a home carer is a fantastically rewarding and important role, yet it can be an exceptionally stressful one and in the current climate with coronavirus, take a serious emotional toll on home carers. The most effective carer is a happy and healthy carer, and it’s imperative that care agencies empower and nurture their staff to look after themselves.

 

Why is the work of home carers especially stressful?

 

There’s probably not a single role in the care industry that doesn’t have its stresses, but those working in home care can really find their job takes an emotional toll on their wellbeing. The work of home carers differentiates from other carers in several ways:

 

  • The requirement to enter people’s homes is an intimate, and sometimes daunting, one. Patients who require home care are in their own domain. Whilst this has numerous advantages for the wellbeing of the patient, it can often mean that a home carer has to work in an environment that isn’t optimised to patient care.
  • Patients are often very ill, with long-term deteriorating and debilitating conditions. Home carers see people at their worst, and often in a very delicate and unhappy state. Following a patient’s journey with little to no positive progress can be at the best disheartening, and often very upsetting. Without the ability to ‘link up’ and work in collaboration with medical staff in the way they would in a hospital or hospice environment, this can cause strain.
  • PPE requirements can be uncomfortable. Home carers now have to wear PPE for both their own and their clients protection, and the hours spent wearing PPE can be uncomfortable. During the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE requirements have increased for most home care agencies, and with a lack of centralised resources for many, equipment may not fit properly or just be generally uncomfortable.
  • Scheduling can be difficult! Home carers can’t just leave a client and move to their next if the client is unwell or in need of additional help or care – because nine times out of ten, there’s just no one else to do it. Home carers often find they’re unable to scheduled effectively because of varying client needs and as a result, frequently work later and for longer.

 

Why is self care important for home carers?

 

The best and most effective home carers are those who are happy and healthy. In reality, the job can be exhausting. It’s therefore important that home carers take time for themselves to ensure they’re feeling good and remain healthy in order to complete their role to the best of their abilities.

 

How can carers best practice self care?

 

Despite what the internet may tell you, self care isn’t all long bubble baths and complicated yoga poses (although… feel free to give them a try if you fancy!). Some minor lifestyle changes can be made to help promote better emotional wellbeing and enhanced health.

 

These include, but are by no means limited to:

 

  • Getting enough sleep – too many early starts or late nights will take its toll, so try to mix up shifts and schedules where appropriate. Sleep should be in as dark and neutral a room as possible, on a comfortable and supportive mattress and preferably without interruption.
  • Exercising regularly – The nature of home carer’s roles is that they’re on their feet for most of the day, but this doesn’t necessarily equate with physical fitness. Just 30 mins of exercise a day, even if just a brisk walk, can have massive health benefits, and help to clear the mind.
  • Taking holidays –  Paid holiday time exists for a reason! Home carers must take care to use their holiday allowance to truly ‘take a break’ when needed: in physical and mental terms.
  • Talking about anything bothering you – Any issues should be raised directly with employers immediately, and care agencies should aim to foster an environment of transparency with all of their staff.
  • Taking time to do things that you enjoy – Make time for yourself to enjoy the things that de-stress you and bring you joy.

 

 

Are you interested in a job in home care? Find out more about working in home care and the opportunities that we have available in and around Epsom at AM2PM Quality Care.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Advice For Home Care

AM2PM Quality Care is keeping fully abreast of developments relating to the continued spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the UK and Ireland. We are routinely monitoring developments, reviewing our protocols, and preparing appropriate responses as the situation evolves. AM2PM Quality Care is committed to ensuring all steps are taken to protect the health and wellbeing of all our colleagues and service users.

Advice for prevention

At the time of writing this notice, there has been a number of cases reported in the UK and this number is steadily rising. However, as with any other virus, the best way to prevent infection and spread is to avoid being exposed to it. You can help to prevent the spread of any respiratory outbreak by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand soap and water if hand sanitizers are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin straight away, or sneeze into the bend of your elbow, then wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with persons who have respiratory illness symptoms.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are unwell, stay at home and contact the 111 Coronavirus helpline.
  • If you are asked to self-isolate please follow the NHS Advice
  • If a member of staff has a positive confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus the company will prepare a list of all service users and staff the affected person has been in contact with for at least the preceding 14 days and report this to the 111 Coronavirus helpline.

Useful links for further up to date information

For the most up-to-date information you can visit The Department of Health and Social Care or see the below links for various official sources.

As epidemics/pandemics can change quickly and unpredictably, it will be important to stay updated on the latest AM2PM Quality Care information regarding COVID-19. It is our intent to not overload you with information, but we will make regular updates as and when necessary.

Home Carer Safety In Cold Weather

As we head into the colder months of the year, preparation is key to maintain home carer safety whilst travelling between clients. Follow our advice below to ensure you can get out and about safely, no matter how cold, wet or icy it is outside!

 

Dress Warmly – Wear Layers

 

Layer up! It’s much easier to take layers off and put them back on again when needed than it is to warm up without sufficient clothing! You will also be moving from inside warm houses and your car, out into the cold outdoors, so you may want to ensure you have a hat, scarf and gloves too. On this note, make sure to wear comfortable, sensible shoes that offer you good grip when walking over potentially icy outdoor areas.

 

Keep Your Mobile Charged

 

A fully charged mobile phone is a MUST at any time, but even more so when travelling in icy, possibly poor visibility weather conditions. A good idea is to invest in a car charger so that you always have the opportunity to give your phone charge a boost if you need to. Being able to contact help or your agency is imperative for home carer safety.

 

Pack in Supplies

 

Travel problems can occur at any time and place whilst on your care route, so we suggest carrying a snack and water supply in your vehicle as you never know how far away help could be (It is a good idea at any time of year to carry water with you on your route to ensure that you remain hydrated)

Even better, you could pack in a hot tea or coffee flask to keep yourself warm whilst on your route too! Just to be extra vigilant, you may want to carry a warm blanket and a torch in your car in case of any unforeseen breakdown emergencies!

 

Ensure Your Car is Serviced Up to Date

 

Even if your MOT is up to date, it’s worth ensuring your car has been serviced before cold weather really sits in – especially as this is a crucial element to your job. At the same time, have your tyre tread checked and tyres replaced if necessary to ensure you are able to travel as safely as possible in icy conditions.

 

Carry an Ice-Scraper or De-Icer Spray

 

Driving visibility is absolutely essential and before you set off on your first visit, and whilst travelling from client to client, you must ensure at all times that your windows are clear. Carrying an ice scraper or de-icer spray will save you precious time and ensure you are able to clear icy windows quickly without being late for your client visits.

 

Are you interested in a job in home care? Find out more about working in home care and the opportunities that we have available in and around Epsom at AM2PM Quality Care.