Professional carers

If you are considering using the services of a professional carer, it is important that he/she understands the emotional needs of people with dementia as well as looking after their physical needs.

The person with dementia should always be involved in the decision of choosing a carer, if they are able, as it is important that they like the person who will be coming into their home.

All professional carers should be trained in Person-Centred dementia care. They should look at the person behind the illness.

Tell the carer about the person's likes and dislikes; their hobbies and interests. Carers should encourage the person to talk about their family, friends, what job they used to do, what music they like and any other topics they want to talk about. In other words, they should learn about the person's life history.

By engaging closely with the person, professional carers will find it easier to deal with any behavioural issues and use some of the techniques that are mentioned in detail on this website.

Always remember that a professional carer is a stranger going into somebody's home, often to carry out very personal tasks such as bathing. Imagine how you would feel if a stranger came into your home and appeared to be 'taking over'. They should always ask the person's permission before carrying out any tasks. The person living with dementia should be treated with dignity and respect at all times.

Because people with dementia lose their logic and reasoning skills, they rely solely on feelings. Sometimes a professional carer might not 'feel' right so however hard they try to help it will not succeed. If this happens, the carer should not take it personally. You might suggest to the agency that somebody else might be more suitable to carry out the care tasks for this particular person.

Also remember that people with dementia like consistency. It will be upsetting and disorientating for them if a different carer comes into their home every day. Try to be consistent whenever possible.

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Did you know?

The number of people with dementia is increasing rapidly. It is estimated that there are currently 1,400 people in Jersey living with dementia, many of whom have not as yet obtained a formal diagnosis; this number is set to double over the next 25 years.