To say that Dementia is a complex disease would be an understatement. The word “Dementia” is actually an umbrella term to describe a condition that causes loss of memory, concentration, and other pertinent cognitive functions that will interrupt a person’s self-reliance and daily lifestyle. It’s most likely to develop in people over the age of 65. It’s also not merely one disease. Dementia is the over-arching term covering a broad range of severe medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Such medical conditions grouped under the name “Dementia” are caused by disruptive brain changes, which trigger a decline in thinking skills (or, cognitive abilities) severe enough to impact independent living drastically. These brain changes will also alter an affected person’s behaviour, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.
Do you have a loved one with Dementia? You don’t need complex definitions to know how challenging that can be. Watching a Senior friend or relative progress through the stages of the disease is undoubtedly difficult, and you might not know who or what to turn to for help. You don’t see a need for the hospital, and you’d prefer not to send your loved one to a long-term care home or assisted living facility. Your family member or friend wants to stay home. They’ve lived in their home for many years and are familiar with the layout. Not to mention, they’re comfortable there, and merely waking up in their bed each morning brings a little bit of joy to their day.
We’re Integracare and we bring home care services Toronto and the surrounding area have enjoyed for 30 years. We’re committed to providing the highest quality Dementia Care services to Clients who need them as part of our home healthcare program. We believe that education is the key to understanding Dementia’s complexities and effectively communicating with those who have the disease, which is why we’ve partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto. All of our Caregivers and Nurses receive regular educational training from the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto to learn pertinent information that will help them provide exceptional care for our Dementia Clients.
Are you wondering about our personalized at-home Dementia Care and how it might help your family member or friend through this challenging time? Read on to discover how our in home healthcare options will benefit your loved one and why Dementia education is a fundamental component to how we approach home healthcare.
The Many Types of Dementia
Did you know that there are over 400 types of Dementia? Although every type has commonalities — such as memory loss — they all have unique traits and qualities. Most people who develop the disease are Seniors, and many diseases progress and worsen over time. As a friend or family member, it’s crucial to know the warning signs and symptoms of Dementia to seek treatment and support as quickly as possible.
Some of those types include:
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Huntington’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
- Korsakoff Syndrome
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- And more
While all of these diseases have severe impacts on affected individuals and their families, the three most common types are Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, and Lewy Body Dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent type of Dementia, accounting for 60% to 80% of all Dementia cases. One of the most common early warning signs to watch for is memory loss — mainly if your loved one quickly forgets new information. Generally, the changes that occur with the disease begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As the disease starts to take over other parts of the brain, your loved one could exhibit additional symptoms, including:
- Mood swings
- Personality and behavioural (perhaps they’re more hostile than ever before; alternatively, withdrawn and aloof)
- Showing confusion about the place, time, and people around them
- Unfounded suspicion about friends, Caregivers, and family members
- Difficulty speaking, walking, and swallowing
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your loved one’s doctor immediately. Along with the medical advice from a doctor, our healthcare program will offer the support your family member needs at home. As time passes, your loved one will require help with cleaning, cooking, toileting, bathing, and more. Our compassionate Caregivers are trained to care for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease. They will educate you and your family about gentle tactics to try when your loved one shows any aggressive or detached behaviour.
The second most common type of the disease is Vascular Dementia. It occurs when the brain’s blood supply is damaged or blocked, causing brain cells to die from lack of oxygen. It’s often caused by untreated high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes, and the risk of developing the disease increases with age. Your loved one might exhibit signs of memory impairment, difficulty speaking, trouble balancing, a low attention span, and overall confusion. Like Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia worsens as it progresses. As the disease continues, your loved one will need round-the-clock support.
Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy Body Dementia doesn’t progress in the same manner as Alzheimer’s disease. It has many of the same characteristics as Alzheimer’s, but the difference is how the symptoms fluctuate. People with Alzheimer’s often experience increasingly severe symptoms, beginning with mild memory loss and progressively accumulating further cognitive behavioural changes, but Lewy Body doesn’t necessarily follow this pattern. If your loved one has this type of disease, you might notice that every day is different. One day they’ll seem as if nothing is out of the ordinary. You’ll be able to have a fluid conversation, and they’ll remember everything that was said. The next day, they’ll be disengaged and exhibit profound memory loss. In the later stages, people with Lewy Body Dementia experience muscle rigidity (which is also a symptom of other Dementia types), and speech often becomes absent. People also become highly susceptible to illness and infection, such as pneumonia, and, at this point, 24-hour care is crucial.
We Offer Peace of Mind
Learning that someone you love has Dementia is a lot to take in. At first, it might feel a little surreal, but once you let it sink in and educate yourself about what the disease entails, it might be overwhelming. That’s why what we offer our Clients provides peace of mind. We offer compassionate and professional healthcare from experienced and highly trained Caregivers and Nurses. With the in-depth Dementia Care training they receive from The Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto, you won’t worry when your loved one is in our expert team’s care. They know how to de-escalate situations when Clients experience agitation or confusion. They’ll prepare meals, clean the house, and manage all of your loved one’s prescriptions. Most importantly, our Caregivers will treat your beloved friend or relative with kindness, dignity, and respect.
All of our Caregivers and Nurses are thoroughly screened before they’re hired, with extensive reference and background checks. They also receive annual medical check-ups and pre-screening for COVID-19 prior to every visit. We expect our team to have already experienced working with Seniors, and the number one quality we look for is compassion. These people are trustworthy, knowledgeable, kind, and eager to make Clients happy.
If you require 24-hour care, we’re there for you with hourly care or our Live-in Care services. While ageing in the comfort of home gives your loved one freedom and a sense of familiarity, they’ll require more support as their Dementia progresses. A Live-in Caregiver provides safety and companionship for those days and nights that you’re not able to be there.
We Provide Vital Healthcare Services
Further to Live-in Care, Integracare provides a wide range of essential healthcare services that will improve your loved one’s quality of life. Let’s explore a few services that might benefit you and your family.
It becomes challenging for people with Dementia to maintain household chores and daily tasks. Sometimes they need extra support to feel healthy and safe at home. We take pride in offering crucial personal support to our Clients, such as:
- Cleaning around the house
- Meal Preparation
Our Caregivers offer Clients friendly personal support, so you won’t have to worry about their living conditions or wellbeing. They’ll work around your loved one’s schedule and can visit as frequently or seldom as needed. Of course, all of our Caregivers receiving on-going Dementia Care training and will treat your loved one with nothing but respect and compassion in any situation.
We also offer specialized services to help your loved one feel appreciated. Many Seniors with Dementia already have other conditions such as Arthritis and Osteoarthritis, which affect the joints and muscles in the body and can be incredibly painful. It’s difficult for people with Dementia to express this type of pain because of the cognitive issues they have, and some people aren’t able to effectively communicate how they feel. Consider the benefits of our Massage Therapy services to alleviate your loved one’s physical pain.
We offer at-home Massage Therapy from highly qualified Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) who specialize in treating Seniors. They’ll apply gentle pressure to your loved one’s affected areas, relieving any tension or soreness in the body. Many people with Dementia also experience anxiety and depression because of the profound changes taking place within them. Massage Therapy can help your loved one feel calm and peaceful. Massage Therapy naturally lowers the stress hormone called cortisol as RMTs gently apply pressure to specific parts of joints and muscles. It can also help Clients sleep better because they’ll feel less anxious and more relaxed.
Registered Practical Nursing Care
We offer exceptional home nursing that Toronto and the GTA relies on for trust, accountability, and professionalism. Integracare’s Registered Practicing Nurses (RPNs) receive continuing medical training to improve skills and education. Such educational training is put in place to ensure that our RPNs and Caregivers are well equipped to provide relevant and pertinent assistance in any situation. Our RPNs have the necessary tools and resources to provide professional support and have outstanding experience and backgrounds.
Like our Caregiving team, Integracare RPNs receive regular Dementia Care training. For example, if your loved one exhibits aggressive or agitated behaviour, they’ll know which professional and compassionate coping mechanisms to apply to gently and de-escalate the situation. Furthermore, our Nurses will also offer engaging activities that will challenge your loved one’s mind. Keeping an active mind is critical to Seniors, particularly if they have Dementia. We’ll provide mentally-stimulating activities to try, such as 10 fun brain games that will get those thinking juices flowing. Just having another person around to talk to or merely sit with while the TV is on can help a person with cognitive difficulties feel less alone.
Clients with life-limiting illnesses, such as Dementia, often receive Palliative Care as a fundamental aspect of their healthcare plans. Palliative Care is a holistic approach to supporting people with physical and emotional pain. Sometimes, regular trips to the doctor or even daily visits from a Nursing team aren’t enough to alleviate the challenges of dealing with a life-limiting condition. This type of care focuses on increasing life quality through pain management, emotional and psychological support, providing spiritual guidance, and helping friends and family come to terms with the difficult situation with counseling and other emotionally supportive methods.
We Increase Quality of Life
Integracare’s main objective is to increase the quality of life for you and your loved one with professional healthcare at home. Long-term care homes and assisted living facilities simply don’t offer the quality of services that we do. Our commitment to one-on-one healthcare from expert health professionals can’t compare with other types of Senior care. We can be with your friend or relative every day, assessing their progress and deeply getting to know them. We also get to know you, your friends, and your family. Our Caregivers often become more like extended family members rather than clinical healthcare workers. We work as a team at Integracare, and open, clear communication is essential to our success. We want you to feel confident about our services and want to build your trust. We genuinely believe that our home healthcare services bring joy to our Clients because of the quality of our Caregivers’ education, strong work ethic, and compassionate personalities.
If you’re considering the next steps of your loved one’s Dementia healthcare plan, give us a call. We’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions.