Good Home Care Best 1st Approach for Dementia

March 25, 2013

Drugs are commonly prescribed for dementia patients.  A recent study highlighted the benefits from plain old, good quality home care in which caregivers had dementia care training to 1) understand what dementia is and 2) engage their clients in a variety of appropriate activities during the care process.  Patients with this type of care were able to delay significantly their need for nursing home placement.

What a great effort to train caregivers in the best ways to work with dementia patients!  At our home care agency, we have found that “strategic” interaction of the caregiver with the patient definitely seems to make a difference in his/her quality of life.  We call our approach “Sharing while Caring”.  Our caregivers don’t just provide care FOR the dementia patient, they ENGAGE the patient in their activities (to the extent it is safe and appropriate.

An example is getting mom to set the table while dinner is being made, or having her sort the socks when laundry in being done. The aging dementia patient was once a vibrant, responsible individual. Caregivers need to give them opportunities to contribute and add value with every activity. This stimulates them mentally, gives them exercise and allows them to maintain a degree of self-worth.

We formalized “Sharing while Caring” following our experiences of caring for my mom.  To my wife and me, it made all the sense in the world.  It is great to see it validated by formal research.

 

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