At home with dementia
Recent research investigating what makes an environment ‘dementia-friendly’ has resulted in the articulation of principles, the development of audit tools and advances in design and technology that can enable a person living with dementia to stay at home.
While most people want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, some will make the decision to move after they receive a diagnosis of dementia. They might move cities to be closer to family; move into town to be closer to services; move into a retirement village; or move in to live with a son or a daughter.
Polypharmacy is a problem for many people, particularly people with multiple comorbidities. Medications can also contribute to falls, confusion, hypotension and delirium in people living with dementia.
Services to enable
Enabling a person living with dementia to live comfortably and safely at home may require, at some point, help in the home. People’s needs differ, so ensuring that the assistance targets the needs and choices of the person living with dementia is crucial. Such assistance may be help with domestic tasks for one person; accessing the community for another; shopping assistance; or accompanying a person on a daily walk. People who live alone are likely to need assistance earlier than people who live with family.
Driving and getting around
While many people living with dementia can continue to drive safely for a time, there will come a point when driving must cease. It is a difficult transition for many people. Engaging a person living with dementia and their carers from the earliest opportunity in discussions about driving and what local options are available is important.
The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government funded initiative.