Alzheimer's in the UK and the growing importance of home care

Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury, Ludlow & Oswestry team
Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury, Ludlow & Oswestry team

Alzheimer’s; just as with all types of dementia, is a word that often causes people to go quiet when brought up in conversation, especially when the conversation concerns a loved one. Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury, Ludlow & Oswestry knows all too well that caring for a loved one with dementia is of great concern to the general public and the medical community. Once, the only option for dementia patients was a care home. Today people with dementia may not have to be resigned to that fate, which is where our Shropshire services come in….

Recent Dementia Snapshot

Every year the Alzheimer’s Society conducts interviews and research regarding the quality of life someone suffering from dementia is currently experiencing. It is basically a “snapshot of how well people are living with their dementia, what support they are receiving and what barriers they face to living well (Kane & Cook, 2013).”  It is thanks to this type of research that we learn that, while there has been progress towards improving the quality of life of a dementia patient, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.  

One of the big factors in caring for a dementia patient is where the care is taking place.  Those dementia patients who are still able to live at home have stated that they feel “anxious or depressed… have lost friends… and have not told their friends about their diagnosis (Kane & Cook, 2013).” Loneliness and social isolation are serious issues for anyone dealing with dementia and they cause additional concern for those who are living alone.

Holding off Cognitive Decline

According to major studies done on both sides of the Atlantic, the risk of dementia has declined in the general population in the United Kingdom as compared to twenty years ago (Borland, 2013). There has been at least a 25% drop in cases since the 1990s even though the overall number of cases currently being treated is on the rise (Borland, 2013.  How can the numbers be reduced yet still climb? It is believed that better medicine and education are a major factor in protection against dementia. While it may seem to be on the decline, it is still one of the major illnesses faced by residents of the United Kingdom.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., The combined effects of longer lives and the dramatic bulge of baby boomers reaching old age will magnify the epidemic in future decades.” (Botek, 2013).  Until a cure can be found for this illness, holding off cognitive decline is the best option.  In addition to better medicine and education, improved life style habits, such as exercise on a regular basis, eating properly, and keeping the mind active and engaged all contribute to the reduction of dementia (Botek, 2013). However, if the rise of diabetes and obesity continues, we may see the trend reverse itself.

Home Care for Dementia is a Positive Option

Those patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia who have fared the best, are the ones that get care in their own homes using a care home as a last resort when they are too ill to care for themselves (Borland, 2013). While there are still many issues that need to be resolved in regard to professional home care providers in the United Kingdom, home care allows the patient to “maintain dignity but prevent serious health issues (Hughes, 2013).” It allows the patient to remain in their own home and familiar surroundings, something that has been known to help dementia patients in their decline.  

Currently, of the approximately 800,000 people in the United Kingdom suffering from dementia, only a little over a third are receiving care at home (Hughes, 2013). This care is in the form of help with everyday tasks and this allows them to remain independent (Hughes, 2013). From companionship to cleaning, Home Instead Senior Care tailor makes packages for our clients.

Dementia patients who have a professional carer to help them with cooking, personal care, shopping etc. actually thrive as compared to one in care homes (“Caring for someone,” 2013).  

Determining whether or not your loved one should be put into a care home should be a decision that is made based on due diligence and education. There are many guides to help the non-professional and professional care giver work with a dementia patient in their homes. But home care is an option that should not be overlooked and – we believe - should be considered before all others.

For enquiries relating to our domiciliary care services in Shropshire for those with Alzheimer's, please call 01743 387650.   

Source references can be requested if necessary

A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home