Recently Julie, who is the daughter of Derek (client) spoke to Kim one of our team leaders, about the way Home Instead Senior Care have been working together. We thought that this insight into the care we deliver would be really useful for families understanding of how we tailor care for people living with dementia.
Derek’s caregiving team has always been under the leadership one team leader, Kim, this has helped with continuity of care and has enabled Julie to keep Derek in his own home (which was always his wish).
The team have adapted and adjusted to Derek’s care, sometimes on a daily basis, as his Alzheimer’s has progressed and his needs have changed.
Below is just a small snap shot of some of the techniques we use with Derek, which might help you care for your loved one.
- The CAREGiver team members have been matched carefully taking into account their personality and skills so that Derek has CAREGivers he likes, trusts and can interact with.
- Being proactive telling Derek about the task he is completing, and possibly repeating that message several times over the course of the task helps to reassure Derek.
- CAREGivers offer direct statements to Derek such as “do you want my help or for me to go home” this brings Derek back to the task in hand and he will invariably reply calmly to say, "Help me."
- Offering Derek simple visual choices that his CAREGivers know he enjoys.
- Often lifting Derek’s mood by singing songs that he enjoyed as a young man will engage Derek and put a smile on his face, Derek will often sing along with CAREGivers.
- If Derek looks likely to make physical contact, the CAREGivers will say “Derek look where your hand is, what are you doing?” This makes him stop and think, Derek will often then release his hand and say sorry; it’s important to say that this only happens due to frustrations that Derek cannot verbalise to us.
- The involvement of a team of professionals around Derek as his condition has progressed.
- We recognise that Derek requires lots of personal space as being close to him makes him anxious, so all tasks are completed with this in mind.
- When CAREGivers support Derek with any personal care need's we keep his walking frame in front of him. This gives him a visual barrier and also helps him if he feels scared or like he is going to fall he will grab onto this instead of his CAREGiver.
- Sometimes none of the above techniques work. If Derek is in a safe place, our CAREGivers do leave the room and let him calm on his own for a few minutes, then re-enter and start the task again.
All the team work closely with Derek’s daughter Julie, this enables him to have the best quality of life available to him. Derek has recently been admitted to Hospital; the burns unit have been amazing with him, they have listened and taken advice from his daughter Julie and from interviewing Home Instead CAREGivers in relation to the care and support needed for Derek to ensure he is well supported in hospital.
There are symbols on the wall behind Derek’s bed to identify certain aspects of the care he needs, alongside some of the techniques we have successfully used with Derek being written next to his bed.
Derek is doing well but will probably need to live in a residential home when he has recovered enough to leave hospital, Julie has already requested that we put a plan in place for his CAREGivers to provide weekly support to him once he has settled into his new home.
It is a privilege and a joy for Home Instead to care for Derek. Team leader Kim, would be more than happy to talk to anyone looking for advice or support for loved ones living with dementia.