Body and Mind

Aged Care & Dementia

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The primary reason many families seek to place their relatives into Aged Care facilities is the fear of leaving them home alone.

Many support workers identified this fear of leaving dementia sufferers alone at home as the number one issue when caring for people at home.

According to recent studies the most noticeable symptoms of dementia are forgetfulness, disorientation, lack of attention span, depression and anger

Some strategies used to minimise the impacts of dementia are to encourage crossword puzzles, encouragement to participate in household activities, encouragement to read books and listen to soft music (No loud music), Going out for a meal or just a coffee, surround them with photos of family and familiar personal objects regarded as being precious.

Loud noise and bright lights are to be avoided as well as crowded venues as they cause disorientation and discomfort to some dementia suffers.

Many relatives endure patience issues with the constant forgetfulness confronting them. The result is greater isolation which in turn means less contact with both family and friends.

The feeling of guilt is the number one impact on the families of a dementia sufferer. They are really suffering from the feeling associated with their inability to cope with the situation.

At Price Financial Intelligence we can assist with many strategies to help families to provide appropriate care for their relatives suffering from dementia including;

Q: Do you select a Dementia Specific Unit or do you opt for standard Aged Care Facility?
A: It depends on the flight risk, the safety of your relative is paramount and if he or she is a wonderer then a secure Dementia Unit may be the only choice.
The main drawback of Dementia Specific Units is that all residents suffer from dementia. This means they are often withdrawn due to the lack of stimulation whereas the standard aged care facility has a wider variety of residents and structured activities.
This stimulation can slow down the progression of dementia and provide the sufferer with a better quality of life.

Q: My parents want to keep the family home, is this outcome possible?

A: Yes it is very possible, however there are key rules you must follow;
When they move into an Aged Care facility they must have a periodical payment as part of the arrangement. This permits the rental income and the value of the property to be excluded from the “Income and Assets Tests” applicable to Centrelink pensions. They are also excluded from the Aged Care calculations for the determining of the “Means Tested Care Fee”.

Q: Should we sell the family home, before entering an Aged Care facility?

A: No, this will be a huge mistake that should be avoided.
If you sell the family home first, the entire proceeds from the sale, will count towards your “Means Tested Fee” whereas if you do not sell the family home, then only $144,500 will count towards your fee calculation. This will result in a much lower means tested fee.

You then have the option to either sell the property or rent out the property and the rental income can be used to part fund the aged care fees.
Aged Care is very complex and unfortunately many people make poor decisions without any understanding of the options available to them.

At Price Financial Intelligence, we provide a one hour free consultation to assist you in gaining an understanding of the value of our advice without any obligation to use our services.

Help is available call us now on (02) 9875 2444

1 Comment

  1. I am the Clinical Team Leader of a specialist (secondary care) Memory Service in an area whose ellredy population is high and rising at a steady rate. It is a multidisciplinary team commissioned to deliver the National Dementia Strategy.Improving diagnosis rates.We are improving working relationships with GP’s to improve diagnosis rates. It is felt that it is paramount to get a good early diagnosis that will enable the patient and their families to plan ahead and agree their care pathway.The National Dementia Strategy highlighted that only about one-third of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis at any time in their illness. And when the diagnosis is made, it is often too late for those with the illness to make choices. Also, the diagnosis is often made at a time of crisis; a crisis that could potentially have been avoided if diagnosis had been made earlier. Better care in all settingsWe as a service work very closely with the Care homes. There is increasing evidence that training care home staff can improve outcomes for people with dementia. Reportedly, quality of residential care for people with severe dementia is in urgent need of improvement. The Alzheimer’s Society highlight that a well supported workforce, who is confident in their skills, will be better able to provide excellent care to residents with dementia. We have offered training in the homes to allow them to focus on the areas that they find challenging. This helps to identify gaps in learning in relation to their own care- giving environment, and identifies areas for development.Members of the local Care Home Association attend regular monthly meetings to maintain links and to develop best working practice and evidence based practice within the homes.Support for carers and families/A wider approach to information.Because of the close links with the care homes, we have been able to support several Alzheimer’s Cafe9s within our location. This offers peer support and reassurance for carers and familiesWe understand the importance for people with dementia and their carers to be supported and cared for by a trained workforce, with the right knowledge, skills and understanding of dementia to offer the best quality care and support. With this in mind, as a service, we established, and continue to run, a Post Diagnostic Counselling support group for newly diagnosed patients with dementia and their carers. People are offered the chance to meet other couples sharing similar experiences and given the time to talk and offer each other support. It is believed that people can develop better coping skills by facilitated education and learning to live well with dementia.Reducing the inappropriate use of Antipsychotic medication.We as a service are working very hard to educate people in the importance of non-pharmacological interventions for people with dementia. In a recent audit by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, we were evidenced to have to lowest prescribing rate over 52 trusts.A Dignified DeathWe also work very closely with homes and care settings with regard to end of life care. We have nurses and care professionals that work in association with the hospice to ensure a dignified and supported death.SummaryI, as a professional working with people with dementia, do find it distressing at times when faced with the disparity of service that appears to be happening in all areas, as some of the comments here, and media reports, suggest that some services in other parts of the country do not provide the breadth and scope of support that is needed. I feel fortunate in working in a service that does provide more, and, being accredited and regularly assessed and monitored within the Royal College of Psychiatrists Memory Services National Accreditation Programme, will continue to do so.I feel it is important to keep the specialism within specialist teams to continue to provide seamless care along the individual’s pathway. To entrust the care of these patients to a generic service cannot provide the in-depth, holistic care that is essential to ensure a ‘managed’ illness and provide support and re-assurance to families and carers.It is also my experience that friends and neighbours are very good, and an important part of the support network, needed to provide some elements of care, but cannot always maintain the amount of time and energy that caring for a person with dementia demands.

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