How can Anglican Care assist those with Dementia?
We offer a variety of services for those living with Dementia and for their carers.
Assistance in the home
For those living with dementia who wish to remain independent at home for as long as they can, we offer our HomeLife Home Care Packages. Our personalised Home Care Packages provide dementia specific care and support to those living with dementia to ensure they continue to lead a good life whilst living in their own home. These services are tailored to the needs of the individual and may include dementia specific higher care needs, doctors’ & other health professional visits, grocery shopping and meal preparation. As well as personal care such as showering, toileting, medication monitoring and continence management and other help around the home. Anglican Care provides home care services to the Newcastle, Central Coast and Mid Coast (Taree) regions.
Our HomeLife Day Support offers a range of tailored programs for those with dementia, incorporating services funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). These programs are delivered out of our two centres, Alkira Respite and Day Therapy Centre at Toronto and East Lake Macquarie Dementia Service (ELMDS) at Belmont. Call us to discuss our program and how we can support you or your loved one.
How to organise an assessment
To organise an assessment for home care services or day support programs (via Commonwealth Home Support Programme) you, or your loved one, needs to register with My Aged Care and undergo an assessment. My Aged Care will organise an assessment either over the phone by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or an assessment at your home by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) for a home care package.
To organise an assessment call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, visit their website myagedcare.gov.au or give our friendly staff a call.
Dementia specific care in one of our Residential Aged Care homes
Many of our homes have dementia specific care and secure areas. Our homes provide those living with dementia the care and support they need. The safe, comfortable surroundings will make your loved one feel right at home. Our dedicated staff, including our very own Resident Liaison Officers and Nurse Practitioners, will work together with your loved one, their GP and any allied health professionals your loved one might need to assure their unique needs are met. Dealing with dementia is difficult, but you can rest easy knowing that your loved one is receiving the best of loving care.
Recognising the symptoms of Dementia
An often misunderstood illness, many people grapple with exactly how they know their loved one is suffering from early onset dementia and what to do about it.
So what should family members be keeping an eye out for? Sometimes it can be a small change, such as a loved one who has lost interest in going out as in the case of Lilly. Lilly had always loved meeting up with friends and having fun. A great story teller, she always had everyone laughing. Now when Cliff could persuade her to go out she would sit without joining in conversations and was keen to go home. The changes in Lilly were also affecting her relationships with family. After a check up and some tests with their GP, they were informed Lilly had dementia.
Dementia is more than memory loss, it is the ‘umbrella’ term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses that cause a decline in a person’s thinking processes – significantly impacting their every day life. The types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, dementia from Parkinson’s and similar disorders among others. Dementia has no cure and the symptoms will increase over time.
What are the symptoms of Dementia?
Sometimes the earliest signs can be very subtle. With regards to memory, it is often the short term memory that is affected first, with people forgetting where they have left an item or why they came into a room. It is important to understand that memory loss is not the only symptom of dementia. A person would need to have two types of impairments, which are seriously impacting their everyday life, for a diagnosis of Dementia. If you see some of the signs listed below in someone you know don’t assume it is dementia, it may be evidence of other conditions that can be treated. If you have any concerns about a loved one, seek a correct diagnosis by visiting your doctor to achieve the best outcome.
The stages of Dementia
Dementia Australia has stated the stages of dementia are commonly classified into three phases. Remembering, not all of these features will be present in every person, nor will each individual go through every stage. Below are three phases of dementia described by Dementia Australia.
EARLY DEMENTIA – This stage can be missed or put down to old age or overwork as the onset is usually gradual, making it difficult to determine the exact time it began.
Symptoms may include:
- appearing more apathetic
- a loss of interest in hobbies/activities
- having difficulty adjusting to change
- unwilling to try new things
- slower to grasp complex ideas
- taking longer to do routine jobs
- blame others for stealing lost items
- more forgetful of recent events
- repeating themselves or losing the thread of their conversation
- more irritable or upset if they fail at something
- difficulty handling money
Symptoms may include:
- more forgetful of recent events
- confusion regarding time and place
- finding themselves lost if away from familiar surroundings
- difficulty with family names or confusing family members names
- wandering or walking streets lost, potentially at night
- leaving appliances, stove or gas on
- repeating themselves
- neglectful of basic hygiene or eating
- feeling angry, upset and frustrated
Symptoms may include:
- short term memory loss, unable to remember what happened even a few minutes ago
- difficulty understanding speech or speaking
- unable to recognise family members or friends
- need assistance with eating, washing, toileting and dressing
- feelings of aggression
- difficulty with walking, potentially needing a wheelchair
- uncontrolled movements
For more information on Dementia and support visit the Dementia Australia website or call their Helpline on 1800 100 500.
Dementia and friendships – how to remain connected
Because the symptoms of dementia are commonly misunderstood, many people struggle to know how to stay connected with a friend or loved one who is living with or showing signs of dementia. Yet the need for friendship does not diminish when someone lives with this disease. In fact Alzheimer’s Australia states, “Chances are this is when we need our friends the most.” Many things may impact the way you see your friendship, you may find yourself fearing the unknown, feeling confusion over changes in your friend’s behaviour or you might be focusing on what’s no longer possible rather than what is.
Be mindful your friend or loved one with dementia may be experiencing strong feelings too. Feelings of fear, loss, sadness, anxiety, confusion, even embarrassment – all of which are normal feelings caused by dementia.
What can you do to remain a good friend?
Be aware people living with dementia are working hard to make sense of the world and any confusion they may be feeling as a result of the disease. It is normal for them to having feelings of grief and loss, even anger, caused by their dementia. Don’t take to heart mistakes or miscommunications made due to memory loss, instead be understanding. It might help to picture yourself in their shoes.
Alzheimer’s Australia notes that contact with friends and loved ones helps maintain a person with dementia’s sense of identity and worth. Simply being with a friend is a pleasure because of their familiar comforting presence and although your friend might forget some of your shared experiences, the essential part of the person remains.
Above all it’s important we stay connected to a friend or loved one with dementia in meaningful ways and that you carry on enjoying the interests you continue to share. What they need at this time is a really good friend.
Get to know more about the disease and how to be a friend by reading Alzheimer’s Australia’s publication Family and Friends Matter