Facing dementia: forgetting is not the end

Facing dementia: forgetting is not the end

When the balloon floats over the table, a smile flits over willi J.S face. Slowly but deliberately, he nudges the feathery ball, which lands on the ground after some back and forth. Does not do anything. A senior at the window leans down and brings it back into play. The 80-year-old J. Sipping his coffee. Next. All the seniors in the group now look a lot fresher than they did at breakfast. Almost awakened. For a brief moment, the common ground of the group is forgotten: their diagnosis of dementia.

Gundi haselmann is happy with her proteges this morning. The care assistant looks after the people in the sheltered housing group of the awo social center in redwitz in the district of lichtenfels for a few hours a day. She reads with them, leads memory games, watches them walk through the spring sunshine. Care is not one of their tasks, others take care of it.

Facilities defy staff shortages

It sounds almost too good to be true. The reality of inpatient care often looks different, as reports repeatedly reveal. The main problem is the lack of staff. It leads to stress, and quality suffers as a result. Always at the expense of the cared for. The female also steffen coburger. The director of the facility in redwitz, which opened in september 2018, liked to do things differently, better. Despite all the challenges. The massive building on the southern edge of the town with its 2000 inhabitants is conspicuous from the outside. Strikingly new. This first impression is confirmed on a tour of the building. Rough windows cast plenty of daylight on the modern furnishings and the walls painted in warm colors. Steffen coburger is proud. "Nursing home i didn’t like to call it that. Residential group is more like it."

Dementia-friendly living: tips for the home

The new social center should be open to all needs. In addition to its outpatient service, the awo also provides day care, assisted living and inpatient care there. The latter offers space for 58 people, divided into four residential groups. One of them focuses specifically on dementia. "People with this type of illness need special care," says coburger, so coburg.

The heart of this area is an open kitchen, where the residents cook together

And eat. Radio-carbands prevent unnoticed alleyways, and glued-on door foils form visual barriers: the door becomes a bookcase. "But nobody is locked up", says coburger. Those who want to get out can, for example, take a walk in the terrace garden.

What is dementia? Professor kolominsky-rabas clarifies the issue

About 240000 people with dementia live in bavaria, according to the alzheimer gesellschaft. "Protective care is the right approach", so coburger. Nevertheless, the number of wards in the region is falling. Problem: more intensive care does not have an impact on staffing levels. Carriers have to be able to afford the extra workload. And want.

The awo in redwitz wants to. She gets suggestions from coburg psychogerontologist dieter hofmann. He has made it his mission to educate people about the correct way to deal with dementia. And giving hope. For example, dementia did not necessarily have a negative connotation. "Dementia sufferers of advanced age laugh more often than mentally healthy people of the same age. People seem to be happier." This is because they lose their ability to think abstractly. Reveling in the past or imagining the concept of love. "You live in the here and now, logic no longer dominates", says hofmann.

That’s where care has to come in. "Dementia patients benefit from dementia." Hofmann’s plea to relatives: it’s better to get professional care than to be left at home to fend for yourself. Shame and too close a bond create conflict and make it even more difficult to deal with a partner who needs care, he says. Inpatient care can help. "It creates inner closeness with outer distance."

Like sabine tischler (name changed) from bamberg. Your mother has severe dementia and lives in a home. Before that, the new life-threatening person had been taking care of the 79-year-old. Then he has to go to the hospital, and she lives with him for six weeks. Again and again there are problems. "It was an exhausting and intense time. We could not leave her alone for a second", says tischler. A place in a home suddenly became available, a decision had to be made quickly. "Despite everything, it was with a heavy heart that I said yes to the move." At first the mother was angry, but now the relationship has improved and the visits are harmonious.

Emotional work is important

Willi J.His wife visits him every day. She is still rustic, cares for him. Whether it could be done at home in this way? In the case of dementia, it is necessary to make them aware of nursing procedures. It is often a balancing act. "Emotional work is important", says home manager coburger. If relatives concentrate on this, professionals can concentrate on the nursing side of things.

There are many problem areas, as quickly becomes clear when talking to dieter hofmann and steffen coburger. "Even under the best conditions, residents don’t always get what they really need", says coburger. This is the decisive existential question of our aging society: how to deal with those in need of care.

Willi J. All the political discussions will probably no longer impress them. He’ll just have to track the effects and hope that coburg’s plan for dementia-friendly care works out. If it works, J. Still try to keep the floating balloon in the air as long as possible.

Dealing with dementia – tips for relatives

Address respect by name, be patient, take feelings seriously, involve in activities, keep interests alive, don’t take accusations personally

Dementia patients often can’t find the right words: making eye contact, short, clear sentences, speaking slowly and clearly,

Avoid why-questions, formulate requests positively

Safe environment dementia patients cannot correctly assess dangers: maintain routine, remove dangerous objects, install stove safety devices, use orientation aids (labeling), do not let people drive cars

Take precautions

Dementia as a profession does not automatically mean having to give up your job. Talking to the boss helps. Apply for a severely disabled person’s card, then special protection against dismissal applies.

Health care proxy anyone who would prefer not to be under the care of a court – as long as they are still fit – appoints a trusted person who can speak for them and make legal decisions on their behalf if they are no longer able to do so themselves.

Care agreement in which you can regulate in advance who should be appointed as a caregiver – or who should not be appointed under any circumstances. If no one is appointed, the court appoints someone to take care of them.

Patient consent determines the future, when a person can no longer decide for himself or herself which medical procedures are to be used. Powers of attorney can be changed at any time, as long as one is still capable of doing business.

Disabled people with dementia are entitled to a severely handicapped ID card. It entitles the holder to free use of the opnv, free travel with a companion and tax breaks.

State care allowance 1000 euros for people in need of care living in bavaria from care level 2. It must be applied for once and continues to be paid annually as long as conditions are met. The person in need of care can be accommodated as an inpatient or live and be cared for at home.

Recharge your batteries – take advantage of the help on offer

Help offers dementia changes the lives of all involved. Help is offered by local organizations such as awo, caritas and diakonie, as well as the alzheimer society.

Dementia education "relief by demanding communication in dementia", heiben training courses for members. Offered among others in bamberg, coburg, bayreuth, erlangen, furth and wurzburg.

Qualified helpers assist with care (recognized by long-term care insurance).

In groups of relatives, those affected can exchange ideas and get advice.

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