By Steve Mason, Admiral Nurse, Greensleeves Care (www.greensleeves.org.uk)
When a loved ones gets diagnosed with dementia, the affect on their family and friends can be devastating. Relationships change – a husband may become a carer, or a mother may have to accept that her son now has to look after her.
When a family decides that a loved one with dementia needs the level of care that only a professional dementia care worker can provide, it is the role of the care home to sup- port families when they reach this decision.
Many families describe how bereft and guilty they feel when they reach this decision, but if they receive the right support and help in coming to terms with this life changing moment, it can help to maintain relationships and keep families united.
With families often expressing how they can feel excluded from the care of their loved ones after they go to live in a residential or nursing home, it is the responsibility of every home to ensure that care is a triadic arrangement.
By putting the person needing care at the head of the triad, with the care provider and the family being at the other corners of the care triangle, it ensures that everyone is working together to give the very best care.
By involving families from the beginning in the care plan of their loved ones, care providers can ensure that they learn about the cared- for person. Families of residents are one of our greatest assets when planning their care plan. By getting to know the person who will be receiving care as an individual- through those who love them most- it allows a real focus on person-centered care. For someone who has dementia, knowing about their routine; their hobbies and pastimes; their past work/life experiences, and their greatest achievements, ensures that they receive carefully planned care and everyday activities j.
order to give the individual resident enjoyable days that are meaningful and satisfying.
When a loved one enters a care home, it is often a very emotional time for their families. At Greensleeves Care we believe that the provision of regular support for families, by bringing them together in family support groups, not only enables them to share experiences of a loved one having dementia, but it can help reduce the isolation that some family carers can experience. Often family carers will form relationships with each other as they realise that their experiences of caring for a loved one liv- ing with dementia are similar.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge effect on many. Families have been separated and support networks have been disrupted. As lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted, families are now having to deal with pronounced changes in their loved ones’ health or mental state. After not been able to visit their elderly relatives for many months, some families are now discovering that their loved ones don’t recognise them anymore.
Ahead of this year’s Dementia Awareness Week, the care sector will be supporting those living with dementia, alongside their families and loved ones. With families feeling concerned that relationships have floundered over the past year, we must support them in finding that connection again and ensure that strong, loving and important family ties can be renewed and maintained. Also, we will provide services and provisions that enable families to support each other to prevent further isolation and loneliness.
By working together, we can ensure that everyone who is touched by dementia gets the support and help they need.