3 Qualities to Look For in Dementia Caregivers

Finding the appropriate care for a family member with dementia isn’t a decision to take lightly.

While navigating treatment and care for your loved one with dementia, there are various factors to consider, such as which…

  • Medication he or she should take.
  • Doctor to work with to navigate medical care.
  • Memory care community will be the right match.
  • Dementia caregivers will provide compassionate and professional care.

When it comes to the last point, there are various qualities to look for and analyze when selecting caregivers for your loved one.

Whether you’re exploring various memory care communities or planning to hire an at-home caregiver, read on to discover three important qualities to look for in dementia caregivers.

1. Dementia Caregivers with Dementia-Specific Training

Caring for a person with dementia requires knowledge beyond general caregiving practices.

Therefore, when it comes to finding the right dementia caregiver, it’s important to find people who have dementia-specific training.

For example, providers should have the training to…

  • Understand an individual’s behavior.
  • Know how to communicate with compassion.
  • Provide the correct pain management.

Additionally, as the Alzheimer’s Association describes, “studies show staff trained specifically in dementia care are able to provide better quality of life for residents and have increased confidence, productivity and job satisfaction.”

At The Grove, our caregivers must complete 40 hours of onboarding in their first week, including the CARES® online dementia training and the essentiALZ® online certification exam.

In contrast, the average home health worker lacks specific training for dementia patients as we’ve explained in our post “5 Benefits of Making the Move to a Memory Care Community.

2. Dementia Caregivers with a Personal Knowledge of Your Loved One

A one-size-fits-all method of care is not helpful for individuals with dementia because symptoms and needs can vary from person to person.

Therefore, it’s important for your loved one’s caregiver to possess personal knowledge of your loved one.

From there, the dementia caregiver can provide the feelings of safety and happiness your loved one needs to continue to live a rewarding life, despite his or her dementia diagnosis.

Unfortunately, certain memory care communities and at-home caregivers continue to use the one-size-fits-all approach in their caregiving practice.

On the other hand, at The Grove communities, our practitioners utilize a person-centered care methodology.

This means that our care providers learn about our residents’ unique stories and needs, and provide care that meets these needs and preferences.

Whether our caregivers play Mom’s favorite song for her birthday or invite Dad and his green thumb to help in the garden, we ensure that our residents’ personal stories are woven into the fabric of daily life in our community.

Our caregivers are passionate about surrounding our residents with these preferences and favorite things that will give them the quality of life they deserve.

3. A Group of Dementia Caregivers with 24/7 Availability for Care Needs

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Dementia is an ever-present disease. In the same sense, your loved one should have access to dementia caregivers at all times.

Whether assisting with practices of personal hygiene in the morning, providing social engagement and accompaniment at mealtime, or preparing your loved one for sleep, caregivers are necessary at various points throughout the day and night.

At The Grove at Oakleaf Village, our caregivers are on-hand 24/7 to meet resident needs. This way, residents and their families can rest easy, knowing help is just a step away at all times.

See our caregivers in action–schedule a visit to The Grove Toledo in Toledo, Ohio, or make a plan to check out The Grove Columbus—opening soon in the north Columbus area.

Navigating the Later Stages of Early Onset Alzheimer’s for Your Loved One

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When a loved one receives a diagnosis for early onset Alzheimer’s, the future may suddenly feel like a daunting and unknown territory.

However, with knowledge of what’s to come, your family can feel a greater sense of ease and confidence in moving forward.

Although your loved one’s healthcare providers may brief you on what you’ll experience during the initial stages of such a diagnosis, they may not cover the later stages of early onset Alzheimer’s.

Consider this post as a helpful overview for what you can expect and how to plan for the later stages of the disease.

Becoming aware of these stages will help you connect your loved one to quality care for his or her needs.

What Is Early Onset Alzheimer’s?

Before diving into details regarding the later stages of early onset Alzheimer’s, let’s get clear on what the disease is.

Early onset Alzheimer’s, also referred to as younger onset Alzheimer’s, affects individuals under age 65.

Typically, these individuals are in their 40s and 50s. They often have careers, they may have children, and they may potentially be caregivers themselves.

Less common than late onset Alzheimer’s, early onset Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, currently affects 200,000 people in the United States.

As the Alzheimer’s Society describes, the earliest symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s are… [Link to:

  1. Problems with vision.
  2. Difficulties with speech.
  3. Challenges in planning and decision-making.
  4. Changes in behavior.

Although dementia is a progressive disease and worsens over time, the time it takes to progress varies depending on the individual.

For some people, Alzheimer’s progresses rapidly, while it takes years to reach an advanced stage for others.

When it comes to determining which stage your loved one is in, it’s important to know what indicators to watch for. Which brings us to our next point…

Signs Early Onset Alzheimer’s Has Progressed

While symptoms can vary from individual to individual, there is a common set of signs of moderate or severe dementia.

As the Alzheimer’s Association explains, moderate Alzheimer’s is typically characterized by…

  1. Increased assistance required with daily tasks, such as getting dressed and bathing.
  2. Increased confusion or poor judgment.
  3. Increased memory loss, such as loss of events that happened in the more distant past.
  4. Larger personality and behavioral changes, stemming from agitation and suspicion.
  5. Shifts in sleep patterns.

If your loved one is in the last/severe stages of early onset dementia, you may notice symptoms such as…

  1. The inability to complete daily tasks such as eating and grooming.
  2. The loss of communication abilities.
  3. An increased risk of infection, such as pneumonia.
  4. The complete loss of physical abilities such as walking and sitting.
  5. The inability to swallow and control bladder and bowel function.

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Once you’ve identified that your loved one has reached these moderate or severe stages of early onset Alzheimer’s, it’s important to connect him or her with the necessary care.

When to Make the Move to a Memory Care Community

As your loved one’s dementia progresses, your priority is ensuring that he or she has the necessary care—as well as a safe setting that provides him or her with the resources to thrive.

These things can be provided by memory care communities.

From trained caregivers to healthy social interaction with other residents and nutritious, brain-healthy meals to professional medication management, these communities are often the best option for individuals with early onset Alzheimer’s.

Waiting too long to make the move raises your loved one’s risks for injury, depression, and an overall decrease in quality of life.

At The Grove at Oakleaf Village, we provide a vibrant, homelike environment for individuals with early onset and late onset Alzheimer’s.

We’re more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding quality care for your loved one.

Contact one of The Grove communities today to learn more about our memory care offerings.