Real Care Stories: Dementia
Home Instead’s in-home care services supports people living with dementia to remain in the familiar surrounds of their own home
To illustrate how our flexible home care service support people living with dementia, here are two stories from our Australia-wide network. As you will see from these stories, dementia care is also an important source of support for your primary carer, who may need respite care for their own wellbeing.
As you face the uncertainty of living with dementia, our CAREGivers provide the certainty of continuous, supportive home care. You may not know how quickly your care needs will change, but we have the ability to adapt to any changes in your situation. We provide continuity of care for you, the primary carer and our CAREGivers, so you always feel safe and secure. No matter what your care requirements are, our Care Manager will create a care plan for you and this can be changed at any time.
Remaining in the familiar surrounds of home has been shown to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. To support you to remain at home, our CAREGivers are trained in dementia care and helping you to maintain your activities and independence.
Robyn and Donald’s Care Story
Donald has advanced Alzheimer’s and lives with his wife, Robyn, who has Parkinson’s Disease and osteoarthritis. They receive three visits a week to provide companionship and home help.
Donald’s CAREGivers provide companionship twice a week and spend time doing stimulating activities that help with his Alzheimer’s. This also ensures Donald’s safety whilst Robyn does the weekly shopping and provides valuable respite for Robyn.
“I’m Don’s primary carer apart from when our CAREGiver comes to visit. Don has a lovely young man, who he is very fond of and who’s been coming since 2020. He has a 3-hour weekly visit which is absolutely wonderful: it gives me time to get away and have some time for myself which is so important when caring for someone else.”
In addition, Robyn and Donald also have a weekly cleaning visit as Robyn’s osteoarthritis and Parkinson’s Disease has made it difficult to complete strenuous household tasks.
To help Robyn manage her pain and to ease the rigidity of her torso due to her Parkinson’s, Home Instead organised fortnightly remedial messages with local Allied Health services. This has helped improve her movement and flexibility. When Donald fell and broke his arm, they arranged similar services with a local physiotherapist to make sure he healed well.
This is how we helped Robyn and Donald, as told by Robyn:
“It’s been a lifesaver for me. Home Instead are so accommodating and have been wonderful for us. I’ve never had a hiccup with them, from the first time we met Sandy who came to talk to us about the package, right through to every CAREGiver who has come and helped us. I have nothing but good things to say about Home Instead – they always treat us with fantastic respect and always keep us fully informed and stay in constant communication.”
Ric’s Care Story
Ric has advanced dementia and also experiences anxiety with 24-hour care to support him.
Ric was born in Holland and has advanced dementia and also experiences anxiety. When Ric started receiving care from Home Instead five years ago, he was very independent and physically active, often going swimming and cycling with his CAREGivers.
As his needs progressed, Ric increased to 24-hour care to ensure his safety at home and to provide companionship throughout the day. His CAREGivers support Ric with his activities of daily living and continued to provide care for him when he went on a family trip back to Holland.
With his dementia diagnosis, continuity of the same CAREGivers is very important for Ric and he has had the same CAREGiver and Care Manager since he started with Home Instead over five years ago.
Ric’s mobility has declined and recently he had a fall and broke his hip which resulted in hospitalisation. Whilst he was in hospital, his regular CAREGivers continued to care for him and supported the nurses by providing 24-hour care. As his CAREGivers have a close bond with Ric, this helped reassure him and provide welcome familiarity to Ric during this unsettling time. It also meant that the nurses were able to provide the medical care that was needed whilst his team of CAREGivers could provide companionship.
Cornelia’s Care Story
Soon after having a stroke, Cornelia was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She had been living with her daughter Carol, but her increasing care needs were becoming too much for Carol to manage alone.
Carol was continually worried about leaving the home, and she knew that the right support would help her and Cornelia each regain their quality of life and individual sense of independence.
Her Care Manager Giovanni assisted with their Home Care Package arrangements, and their CAREGivers have supported Cornelia to create meaning and purpose in her life.
Knowing her mother is well cared for has given Carol peace of mind and all-important time to look after herself.
Here is Cornelia and Carol’s story, as told by Carol.
“I had tried to get the package for a long time and then I found Home Instead and Giovanni, and they have supported me and helped me with absolutely everything. I nearly had a breakdown because I was so stressed pushing and pushing to try and get help and I couldn’t get it.
It has changed things a lot for us – I now have time to go out and spend time with my horses, and I just feel a lot more like I have the support, and so does Mum as well. She loves it. The care is very personal, genuine, caring and understanding.
Home Instead have been fantastic – reliable, honest and just really nice people.”
Bob’s Care Story
When the COVID-19 lockdown came into force, Bob and Rosemary were left without their primary source of care for Bob.
Bob is 67 years old and has Lewy body dementia, as well as Parkinson’s disease and depression. His wife Rosemary is his primary carer, and Bob has been attending a day centre to provide respite for Rosemary.
When this centre closed due to COVID-19, we provided immediate support for Rosemary and Bob, offering in-home care under a government-subsidised Level 4 Home Care Package.
As well as providing dementia care for Bob – who often becomes vague, cannot articulate things when he is in a low state and has great difficulty mobilising – their CAREGiver Amy also supported the couple to continue living independently during lockdown.
Here is Rosemary and Bob’s story, as told by Rosemary.
“Things have certainly changed in relation to not having people over to the home to visit or go out to socialise. Extended family members who we saw regularly cannot visit now with the coronavirus.
Home Instead have been wonderful. My main contact, beside our primary CAREGiver Amy, has been Yas. She has bent over backwards in attending to my concerns and finding ways for us to be able to have the help and services we need within our ACAT budget.
She has been very caring and has gone to great lengths in my opinion to provide what we need to make it easier and more comfortable for my husband and myself. They have also assisted with different services including food and grocery delivery, which has previously been difficult.”
Indya’s Care Story:
A former investment banker, Indya enjoyed a long and successful career with one of Australia’s leading banks. Now 65, Indya has developed some dementia and memory problems, but still loves to get out and about and maintain her social and community contacts.
She lives alone in Sydney, but has formed a strong bond with her CAREGiver Shelly, who’s been caring for Indya now for over a year.
Shelly makes sure Indya has good food in the fridge and is eating a healthy diet, otherwise she sometimes forgets to eat. They also enjoy trips to the shops and local cafes, where Indya catches up with friends and locals she knows.
Indya’s thoughts about her CAREGiver, Shelly
“Shelly sits down and asks how I’ve been. If I tell her something, she asks me about it the following week – she was really listening.
“We talk very much about current events and we have very interesting, long conversations. I can trust her wholeheartedly. She’s not just pretending to help me, she’s really genuine. I feel like I’ve known her for yonks! It makes me feel relaxed. She doesn’t pretend or criticise me.
“I feel lucky to have someone like her come here and look after me. She reminds me to eat good food instead of eating rubbish. She has a ready smile.
“I would definitely recommend Home Instead. They’ve really helped me and I’m a very independent person – I moved to Australia from Indonesia when I was just 17! Shelly’s not just coming here to do a job – she cares for me. It’s just like having family around.”
Here is Shelly’s story:
“Indya is a beautiful lady. She’s very social, very chatty and very friendly. We have the same sense of humour.”
“Indya knows everyone in the area and she loves to chat. When we go out, we often see people she knows. Indya loves being social, and it’s so important to be able to help her keep those habits going. We go to the local Indonesian restaurants so Indya can talk to the people there. She is a wonderful person and a wonderful client. Not all my clients can express their appreciation, but Indya really does. We have an amazing bond, a connection.
“Dementia clients are still human, they still have needs and wants. Companionship is so important, to make sure they have a good life. I love my job because I know I’m doing something for a purpose, I’m making a difference. It’s rewarding and it makes you happy to come to work. I know how important it is to stay busy and have social connections, and I love being able to help Indya maintain hers. I like seeing people happy.”