Rubicon’s Memory Care recently welcomed a specialised care agency, Lily Care, to look after individuals in its 17-bed memory loss unit.
The company’s directors, Millie Mlilo and Collette Wright, have a wealth of South African and UK experience and specialise in providing services to the elderly, people living with dementia or mental health difficulties, and those with severe disabilities.
Looking after memory loss patients is a specialised field requiring not only training and knowledge, but large amounts of patience and compassion. A person with dementia lives in a shadowy world, becoming increasingly confused and frustrated by places and faces they don’t recognise anymore. For getting things wrong and becoming lost, even in a familiar environment.
They may become angry and upset with themselves or other people very easily but won’t be able to give a reason why. They may not know why.
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from normal ageing. It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement.
It is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide and can be overwhelming, not only for the people who have it, but also for their families. “Our service includes helping families come to terms with the situation they face and dealing with the practical and emotional challenges such a diagnosis brings,” Ms Mlilo explains.
Part of the Frail Care unit, Rubicon’s Memory Care was developed with a special emphasis on creating a relaxing environment. Communal areas, such as the activity room, are drenched in natural light, allowing residents to gather in a cheerful, familiar space.
“We believe that everyone living with dementia has the right to enjoy a high quality of life in comfortable surroundings,” says Ms Wright. “We take a person-centred approach and combine it with our knowledge and understanding of dementia.”
“We also work closely with the family to learn about the person being cared for: their history, personality, likes and dislikes. By taking the time to understand the individual, we can help them get the most out of life and offer their families peace of mind.”
Dementia affects each person in a different way, depending upon the impact of the disease and the person’s personality before becoming ill. The signs and symptoms linked to dementia can be understood in three stages.
The early stage of dementia is often overlooked because the onset is gradual. Common symptoms include:
As dementia progresses to the middle stage, the signs and symptoms become clearer and more restricting. These include:
The late stage of dementia is one of near total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are serious, and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Symptoms include: