The best option – aging in place

Being responsible for a loved one who has dementia is challenging and emotionally devastating. In-home services for seniors eases the burden and gives the family peace of mind.
Aging in place is often the best option when caring for an older adult with dementia. Familial caregivers are often unfamiliar with the stages of dementia and the best methods for dealing with dementia patients. With Professional Care Match, families are assured that their loved one is receiving care without the demands and distractions of facility-based care.

In-home care vs long term care 
In-home care for seniors is preferable to long-term care since the pandemic has had such a tremendous effect on this vulnerable population. Families have discovered that in-home care is a better value than facility-based care. Staff shortages at facilities have had a negative effect on the well-being of patients, leaving their loved ones concerned that the patient isn’t receiving adequate care.

Professional Care Match is here for you and your loved one
Professional Care Match provides experienced in-home care staff for seniors. Our team employs best practices for the challenges of care and behavior management.

What is dementia?
Dementia is the term clinicians use to describe a group of symptoms that cause cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is most common. Other types are Lewy Body (LBD), Frontotemporal (FTD), Vascular, and Korsakoff Syndrome. Dementia is a feature of other diseases, as well, like Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease.

Stages of dementia
Early stages of dementia are difficult to pinpoint; the person may be a bit forgetful or have problems with word-finding. As the disease progresses the signs become more obvious. Families find comfort in knowing the patient has 24-hour supervision at home.

Loss of judgment, distorted perceptions, inability to plan, learn new things, or remember familiar people are signs of cognitive decline. More alarming are personality changes such as new or increased depression, paranoia, agitation, combativeness, wandering, and sleep disturbances. In later stages the person can no longer perform self-care tasks or communicate needs; the end stages of this disease are harder for the family than the patient.

Diagnosing Dementia
Cognitive decline isn’t part of the normal aging process. Being forgetful or pleasantly confused is not an indicator of dementia without the other hallmark symptoms.

Neuropsychiatric clinicians use a method called differential diagnosis to determine the type of dementia. Patients are diagnosed based on age of onset and the presence or absence of symptoms. Dementia is a terminal illness regardless of the type; the constellation of symptoms that patients exhibit generally follow the same course.

How can we care for our loved ones at home?
While family members may be able to provide support to remain at home, it’s a heavy burden. Being the caregiver for a declining parent or spouse is often a full-time job.

The stage of the disease. When the person has become incapable of managing their daily lives and self-care, intervention is required to maintain health and safety. Home care professionals ensure the person receives nutrition, hygiene, medical management, safety, and companionship. They are experienced and trained to manage the behaviors that inevitably arise with the progression of the disease. In-home companions provide a social and personal connection; the carer can also monitor for changes and report concerns back to the care team.

Self-care and safety concerns 
As the disease progresses, the person begins having problems with self-care and managing their daily lives:

  • They don’t eat or drink regularly or adequately.
  • They become resistive to bathing.
  • They start having incontinence of bowel and bladder, although constipation is also a very real concern.
  • They may wear, hide, or discard soiled clothing.
  • They can’t manage their medications or doctor’s appointments.
  • They experience injuries due to falls or poor judgment while cooking or bathing. If they still drive and refuse to give it up, this is the time to have a conversation about your concerns with their physician.
  • They may experience day-night sleep reversal.

Managing behaviors
The person with dementia exhibits behaviors like wandering, disrobing, sleep disturbances, mood changes, or agitation. Unfortunately, this is the disease. Remember that the person isn’t making a conscious choice to ”misbehave” or lash out at loved ones. The person may become fearful and paranoid, experiencing hallucinations or delusions. They may have repetitive behaviors like lip-smacking or hand-wringing. Sundowning is the term used for late afternoon escalations in confusion and challenging behaviors.

While the person can’t change their behavior, the caregiver can assist in deescalating the situation. The person is often triggered by factors that can be mitigated.

  • Constipation or incontinence
  • Hunger or thirst
  • Discomfort related to pain, poorly-fitting clothing, or being cold
  • Fatigue
  • Sensory issues like dim lighting or loud noises
  • Disorientation

In-home dementia care might be the best choice you make for your loved one. Professional Care Match will help you help your loved one.