Can a Dementia Day Care Centre Help Your Loved One?

It can be a hard step to take, but acknowledging that a dementia day care centre can help your loved one is invaluable. The very best dementia day care centre can improve quality of life, help keep an individual safe and feeling valued, stimulate and engage, and also offer peace of mind and reassurance to the family. The important thing to know is when they are being helpful, but also being able to recognise when it’s time to consider more comprehensive care.

Dementia day care centres – what are they?

Day centres are a place the elderly can go to during the main part of the day for companionship, activities, support and a good meal. A dementia day care centre is similar, but it focuses on supporting those with a diagnosis of dementia and the structure and activities at the centre will cater for these needs.

Using a dementia day care centre ensures someone living with dementia gets support, stimulation and a good meal, while retaining the independence of still living at home. It can offer respite to family carers, especially if they are working themselves. They bring together others in the community living with dementia.

A typical day at a dementia day care centre will usually consist of diverse activities, such as singing, craft, cooking, quizzes, exercise and more. They may also organise off-site visits and day trips. The centre will then also provide a lunch which is usually a hot main meal. Drinks and snacks are also provided. The trained staff are also on hand to offer support and advice, as well as facilitate friendship and companionship amongst attendees.

Many day care centres offer disability-friendly transport, but this isn’t always available. Dementia day centres typically cost in the region of £60 per day.

Some centres offer more services than others, so it’s important to see what’s available. For example, some Age UK day care centres offer additional services such as assisted bathing, foot care, hairdressing and mobile supermarkets, but these aren’t available at all groups.

Why use a dementia day care centre?

Using a dementia day care centre brings many benefits for both the individual attending and their loved ones:

  • Ensure your loved one has at least one fully-catered and supported main meal a day.
  • Provides social contact with companionship and friendship.
  • Reduces the risks that isolation at home poses for the elderly and those living with dementia.
  • Provides important stimulation and engagement, helping to manage the disease.
  • Opportunities to join in activities that would not otherwise be possible.
  • Stay both mentally and physically active in a safe environment.
  • Receive professional support and signposting as needed.
  • Build self-esteem and self-fulfilment.
  • Can be considerably cheaper than having daily paid carers.
  • Offers respite to family carers.

A dementia day care centre can be extremely important. Indeed, 97% of people attending an Alzheimer’s Society day care group believe the group has improved their life in some way. They are clearly an extremely valuable resource.

When a dementia day care centre isn’t enough

Those looking to use a dementia day care centre can either self-refer by contacting a local group directly, or they can be referred to the group by their GP. However, it can be difficult to access some groups as they have a waiting list. In addition, dementia day care centres aren’t everywhere. For example, there are no Alzheimer’s UK groups within 40 miles of our base in South Molton. In areas where groups exist, they do not necessarily run daily.

Furthermore, even if a local group does exist, it may not include transport, meaning it is difficult for the individual to attend. If you are able to access a group, often an assessment is done so that the group leaders can determine if they can meet the attendee’s needs. For example, a group may offer some limited help with administering medication, but usually this is only at a basic level. Unfortunately, many living with dementia have quite complex needs and therefore may not be able to access these centres in the first instance.

However, there also comes a point when the support and care needed by an individual cannot be adequately met purely through the dementia day care centre. Assuming the day care centre operates from 9 am until 4 pm each day, there are still 17 hours in the day when it may not be safe or kind to leave the individual on their own at home.

The alternatives to dementia day care centres

We wholeheartedly believe that, where they exist in the local area, dementia day care centres offer an exceptionally important resource, particularly in the earlier years of living with the disease. However, it’s important to recognise when a day centre isn’t enough. Carers at the centre may advise when this is the case, but you should also look for:

  • The individual wandering from home.
  • Falls and trips at home.
  • Anxiety and/or low mood.
  • Inability to safely manage their own care needs, such as washing and dressing.
  • Inability to safely remember and manage feeding themselves when needed.

Dementia day care centres bring many benefits and both you as the family carer, and your loved one, may be disinclined to leave these behind. However, the best way to get all of the benefits of a dementia day care centre with specialised dementia care around the clock is to choose a specialist dementia care home.

A dementia care home offers everything that a dementia day care centre does, for more hours. There will be carefully designed activity programmes designed to provide stimulation and gentle exercise, as well as enjoyment of course! There will be fully-catered nutritious meals, and support to eat them. Many of the additional services that not all day care centres provide will be provided, such as hairdressing and foot care.

Furthermore, they offer much more substantial care. Administering medication and taking care of nursing needs should be possible. Oversight over the individual’s care will be ensured. 24 hour care will be managed, including washing, dressing, bathing and more. The individual will have their own comfortable room in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, the pressure is taken off the family and those caring for them at home. They won’t be hindered by the opening hours of a day care centre and the restrictions on what they can offer.

With a dementia care home, the individual gets all of the benefits of the dementia day care centre with a great deal more support too. It is the best solution.

Come and see for yourself how a dementia care home can improve the quality of life of those living with dementia and their families. Call us on 01769 573166 to arrange a visit.