Planning to live the life you love- in the way you want to live it
Responses and feelings towards a diagnosis of dementia will be as individual and unique as you are. No two dementia journeys are the same, and whilst there is some level of predictability surrounding the progression of each type of dementia, a diagnosis will naturally carry with it an element of anxiety about what is to come. Planning for your future healthcare provision can help to alleviate some of that anxiety, which is created by uncertainty.
Each dementia journey will progress at a different rate. Some will be gradual, whereas others may find that more support is needed quite quickly. Above all, it is important to remember that you can still enjoy a fulfilling and active lifestyle, whatever stage you’re at in your personal journey. Planning as early as possible for your future healthcare can help to ensure you continue to live the life you love- in the way you want to live it.
Choosing Care Options
Whilst considering care options now may still seem like a remote concept, thinking about how you can continue to live positively as your dementia progresses will ensure the best possible outcomes for you and your loved ones.
Some people living with dementia might find it comforting and reassuring to involve their wider support network when starting these conversations- others may withdraw from broaching the subject. For family members eager to be involved, it’s important to remember that all decisions regarding healthcare provision should maintain focus on the person at the centre, your loved one who is living with dementia. Planning for the future and making decisions is a way of regaining some control when a (perhaps) unexpected diagnosis of dementia impacts a family. Involving your loved one in decision making helps to protect their sense of autonomy and can benefit their continued emotional wellbeing.
When approaching the subject of healthcare options, there are several choices to be made- it can seem like a daunting task. The Wayfinding Team at Sage House are on hand to walk you through the process step by step. As a starting point, here are some ideas for you to discuss as a family or reflect on with a friend.
As you start to think about what type of future healthcare is best suited to your individual dementia journey, planning should always start with an understanding of:
What stage in your journey you are currently at (are you currently coping well?)
What support is already available (eg family/neighbours/friends)?
Is it safe to remain at home (eg are stairs manageable)?
What financial support is available for future/current care?
Staying at Home
It is common for people to want to continue to live at home (or in a home environment) if it’s possible. Staying at home is familiar, it means couples can remain together, any pets can also stay with you and it’s less costly than a residential or nursing care home alternative. A few options exist for care within your own home.
Domiciliary Home Care: A paid Carer will visit your home up to 4 times a day and can help with getting up for the day, preparing meals, personal care, shopping, collecting and taking medication, getting out and about and getting ready for bed in the evening. They can also act as a support in this way for a loved one, caring for someone living with dementia.
Live-in Home Care: This means having a trained Carer living in your home with you, full time. The Carer will provide 24/7 support with all the tasks you might expect- including dressing, washing, shopping, taking medication and light housework. They also offer companionship if you’re living alone and can help with looking after pets if that becomes challenging. As the Carer remains with you full time, the weekly cost is more than Domiciliary Care.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to consider a Care Home in your healthcare plan, whether this is for temporary respite care to support an at home Carer, or for the longer term. The cost associated to a Care Home is higher than Home Care but offers more in the way of physical security and can take away the strain of paying bills and other household management. It also provides more social stimulation- with company on hand and planned activities organised for residents.
Nursing Homes, which fall under the Care Home category, offer nursing support when its needed as well as medical intervention which isn't as readily accessible in a Care Home.
There’s a lot of planning involved in preparing for your future healthcare after a dementia diagnosis. It’s natural for this to feel overwhelming, especially at first. If you’d like to discuss your plans further, or just need a bit of extra support approaching healthcare planning, our Wayfinding Team are on hand and ready to take your call 01243 888 691.
Our Wayfinding Team are always here to help but adjusting and educating ourselves is for some the first step on the journey. Offering free advice and guidance for your whole dementia journey, even from before you have a formal diagnosis. The Wayfinders can also sign post to other services we work with to provide holistic, person-centred support.
If you have concerns about your loved one's memory, you can contact our Wayfinders on 01243 888691. They can support you and your loved ones for your whole journey with dementia, from pre-diagnosis to end of life care.