Caring for a loved one with dementia can be incredibly fulfilling. But it can also be frustrating, scary and stressful. Whatever stage you’re in – whether your loved one has only recently been diagnosed or if you now need to find residential dementia care – don’t worry.
We’re here to help.
Below you’ll find answers to a few common questions about dementia and then see how we can help at one of our Sunrise Senior Living communities.
Dementia is a group name for the symptoms caused by certain progressive diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular disease and Lewy body disease. The symptoms include problems with memory, wayfinding, recognising objects, performing everyday activities or understanding and using language.
The following list of ten signs of dementia was originally created by Alzheimer’s Society. If you recognise these symptoms in your loved one, or you are worried about your own memory, speak with a doctor so they carry out an assessment.
There are a number of factors that can trigger or increase the symptoms of dementia. These include poor nutrition, not enough water, lack of sleep, high levels of consistent stress and strong emotions such as feeling lonely, bored or helpless.
It is possible to reduce the symptoms of dementia and improve the quality of life for your loved one with a healthy lifestyle and supportive relationships.
So make sure the right food is eaten and stay hydrated. Create the right environment for deep sleep and try to be physically active. Get outdoors as often as possible and encourage positive relationships and social interactions.
In addition, there are specific therapies that can support a person to be more cognitively able to function better. These include Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and Reminiscence Therapy.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy is a group activity that engages a person through all of their senses to target cognitive functions like thinking, reasoning, perception and judgement. This can include moving to music, playing throw and catch with an object or playing games with numbers or words.
Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy is an individual approach from a trained Cognitive Rehabilitation Practitioner that helps a person living with dementia compensate for activities they can no longer do or find new techniques that use different parts of the brain to achieve a goal.
Every Sunrise community features a specialised dementia care neighbourhood that is devoted entirely to residents living with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of memory loss. We call it our ‘Reminiscence’ (Memory Care) Neighbourhood.
It’s the same high quality, individualised care that you’ll find in our assisted living neighbourhoods of our care homes – but with a specialised focus on caring for residents living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
We have produced 3 short video recordings which are designed to support family and friends to understand the experience of living with dementia in order to enable them to have a good visit at our Sunrise homes. The first recording focuses on the Sunrise values of being person-centred and the importance of partnership working between care, activity, family and friends in order to support the resident to live well with their dementia. The second recording provides an overview of the impact of dementia-related conditions on the brain and the person’s abilities in order to aid understanding of the resident’s symptoms. Finally the third recording guides family and friends on how to have a good visit with tips for communicating with and engaging in activity during their time together.
Our care homes feature dedicated, compassionate, caring team members who are trained to the national standards in supporting our residents and their family members to live well with their symptoms of dementia. Our staff are always learning with a training pathway that enables them to keep adding to their knowledge and skills.
We know that memory loss affects every resident differently so our dementia care team is trained to value each individual and to recognise their individual abilities, preferences and needs. We focus on understanding each resident in order to provide person-centred care, comfort and security in a familiar environment.
At Sunrise, our Director of Memory Care Jackie Pool, is a world-renowned Occupational Therapist Specialist in dementia. She has brought her expertise to our organisation to ensure that we are the leaders in delivering evidence-based best practice in supporting our residents to live well with dementia.
Our Reminiscence (Memory Care) Neighbourhood, just like the rest of our care home, is designed to provide comfort, security, and life enrichment in a warm and inviting environment.
In addition, it provides cutting-edge design and resources that are designed to minimise the impact of the symptoms of dementia. We use carefully selected colour schemes, patterns, signage and stimulating objects to enable our residents to live well in our Reminiscence Neighbourhood.
It’s a safe, reassuring, and relaxing place, where residents and family members can feel comfortable.
Life enrichment is core to the quality of life delivered through our Live with Purpose activities programme. We recognise the importance of being cognitively active and provide a range of activities from facilitated brain workout sessions to creative projects that help improve our residents' sense of wellbeing.
Every activity that we plan is designed to meet each individual resident’s abilities, preferences and needs, and to promote a feeling of success and purposefulness. We use the NICE-recognised PAL Instrument for occupational profiling to ensure that every resident’s unique level of ability and difficulties are understood to ensure that the activities are just right for them.
If you would like to speak with us about dementia care, please search for your local Sunrise and contact us for a chat or to arrange a visit.
We continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis, following public health advice. We've a detailed set of criteria to inform when an individual home can be reopened safely to limited visiting either by families of existing residents or by potential new residents who may want to view one of our homes. The majority of our homes are open for admissions.
As part of our approach to reopening for visitors, we'll be operating in a very different way. To minimise the risk of infection we've produced a safety guide.
We'll continue to follow public health advice to determine when visits will return to normal and will continue to do our best to support residents to keep in touch with loved ones.