Independent Living – Extra Care

Independent Living with Extra Care – What does this mean for my Dad?

It means that my dad lives in his own apartment independently but with the support from an on-site care providor, who ensure that my dads care needs are addressed as part of an agreed ‘Package of Care’

Prior to my dad moving out of his own home, he had a care package in place with a care providor but when he moved out, that care package ended and another care package was put in place with the new care providor, which started the day he moved into his new apartment.

The care manager arranged a meeting¬†with myself and my dad on the day he moved into his apartment, and this gave me and my dad the chance to discuss his needs, and how they could be met. ¬†I still find it hard to let go and allow the support workers to support dad, I am still there every day in between his support calls. ¬†I do all his food shopping, washing, cleaning, taking him to hospital/clinic appointments, take dad for his pension as well as family get togethers, Sunday lunch etc. . It’s so important that dad still feels he is part of a family and can enjoy time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

It soon became apparent a few weeks into dads move, that he was struggling to become familiar with his new surroundings, dad seemed confused and disorientated and couldn’t remember moving into his new apartment. ¬†Dad had days when he seemed to think he was in a hotel and was waiting to go home, or in a hospital or clinic and wondered when someone would pick him up to take him home. ¬†I knew this was due to his dementia and it was a difficult time for my dad, but I was also feeling very anxious as dad wasn’t settling in very well.

I understood that this move would be a major change in dads normal routine, but I knew deep down the move was a positive one and that dad was in a much safer environment within this extra-care development where he had plenty of support from the care provider.

Dads care package consisted of the following:

  • Morning – one hour call to assist with personal care, shower (when required) shave and fresh clothes. ¬†Prepare breakfast and administer medication
  • Lunchtime – half hour call to prepare lunch and administers medication
  • Dinner/Tea – half hour call to prepare tea and administer medication
  • Bedtime – Half hour call to check dad was in bed and all was ok
  • inbetween these calls, dad also has welfare calls to check he has a drink, fresh cup of tea and snacks (this is to encourage eating little and often as dads appetite is not good, although dad is still able to make a cup of tea or even a piece of toast, he still needs promoting to eat throughout the day)
  • Dad is also encouraged to join in activities which are delivered on-site, such as in-door boules or play your cards right and bingo, as well as social events such as a local choir/singers and buffet, which always goes down well due to interaction with others, which my dad always enjoys (and it’s so good to see dad enjoying social interaction, this is so important for his health and wellbeing.

My Dad has had his ups and downs but most days he now seems a lot more settled and happy.  He has lots of visits from friends and family and I am still very much involved with his care everyday.

Dads dementia can cause confusion and he has good days and bad days, but there have definitely been more good days.

Over the last year I have found myself researching more and more into dementia and the different ways it can present itself, I have found the more I know about dads condition will enable me to help my dad and understand and communicate with him on his terms.

I recently attended training to become a ‘Dementia Friends Champion’ for Alzheimer’s UK and I am now in the process of delivering dementia awareness sessions to the support staff who care for my dad. ¬†I have been very surprised by the lack of knowledge and understanding of dementia within the care system, and I am hoping to be able to change this by getting involved in dementia awareness.

I will tell you more about my role of Dementia Friends Champion in my next post, but if you would like to find out more in the meantime, please follow the link below:

https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBArticle?page=what-is-a-champion#.XACb5ZDfWrU

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