Dementia Care at Radius

Receiving a dementia diagnosis and moving into care can be extremely stressful or even scary for both those it affects, and their loved ones. While dementia is very varied in its presentation, our experienced and compassionate care teams are well trained and equipped to deal with individual situations and ensure the best outcomes for each person.

Our specifically targeted services and specialist staff create a secure environment that is both safe and nurturing.

Combined with facilities designed to meet the needs of people with dementia, we’re able to offer a safe and supportive environment that enables the best possible quality of life to be maintained. A calming and comfortable setting is our priority, and ensuring that both our patients and their families can rest easy, confident that they’re in good hands and are treated with dignity and respect.

A safe and supportive place

We have Radius facilities that provide rest home and hospital Dementia level care which means that we can support residents with everything from minor symptoms through to acute disability where ‘round the clock supervision is required.

In situations where dementia care has been advised by your assessor, they will guide you on the process of selecting an appropriate level of care.

If you are exploring options or are concerned dementia care might be required for a loved one but aren’t sure where to start, don’t hesitate to call us to talk it through. Or, organise a visit to one of our facilities so we can show you how we care and help you understand how it works.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease but a term that describes a group of degenerative illnesses that affect the brain. Memory, cognition, speech, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities are all affected by Dementia. Dementia is progressive, meaning that it gradually gets worse, and then, eventually is terminal.

Understanding Dementia

Often still incorrectly called “senility” by many people, dementia affects up to 50,000 people in New Zealand. The previous widely held belief that dementia is a natural consequence of getting old has been proved false, when it is in fact a serious medical condition. For each of those 50,000 people there are friends, family and Whānau that are also affected.

What are the symptoms of Dementia?

The symptoms of dementia can vary widely, but the main characteristics will almost certainly include memory loss, loss of communication skills, reasoning skills and judgement. Confusion in normal situations and performing everyday tasks are also common. Forgetting where things are, or even who people are, is also a symptom. Poor judgement in finances is something that needs to be watched out for, for example giving large amounts of money over the phone to telemarketers.

What are the different types of Dementia?

Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately 70% of dementia sufferers, and is characterised by brain cell death. People are likely to experience confusion, memory loss, mood changes and can have trouble speaking and walking. The other 30% are from other causes, with vascular dementia being the second most common. Vascular dementia is when the blood vessels in the brain block or restrict blood flow, denying the brain vital oxygen and nutrients. There are some causes of dementia that can be reversed, such as vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other types of dementia are Lewy Body Dementia, some Parkinson’s Disease patients experience symptoms of Dementia, Frontotemporal, Wernicke-Korsakoff (lack of vitamin B-1 induced by excessive alcohol consumption).

What are the stages of Dementia?

The progress of Dementia can be broken down into three main stages.

Stage 1 Preclinical (minimal signs or symptoms), mild cognitive impairment. The person can generally remain living at home with some additional support or supervision. The diagnosis of dementia is made. This stage can go on for many months

In stage 2 of the Disease, symptoms will include more significant memory loss, confusion with times and places, difficulty with common tasks and problems with language. Changes in behaviour and mood are noticeable which can lead to changes in a person’s personality. At this stage it is often becoming unsafe for the person to remain living in their own home, and the care burden is such that dementia specific aged residential care is required. This stage can progress quite quickly in some older people.

Stage 3 is where the person with dementia becomes less and less physically able. The physical symptoms of dementia such as incontinence, reduced mobility, inability to perform simple activities of daily living will ‘override’ the behavioural symptoms of dementia. Some people with dementia at this stage may no longer require dementia specific care, but may be assessed as needing hospital level care.

What are the treatments for Dementia?

In the majority of Dementia cases, the disease can not be cured. There are some exceptions, such as Dementia caused by thyroid and vitamin deficiencies, but for the most part, Dementia is a degenerative disease which will only get worse over time. There are however treatments for Dementia which, in some cases, can slow the disease and may actually reverse the symptoms. Depression, for example is a fairly common symptom of Dementia, which your Doctor can prescribe anti-depressants for. With all cases of Dementia, it is best to prevent further damage by minimising risk factors, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, or stop smoking. But perhaps the best treatment for Dementia is love and support.

Is there a cure for Dementia?

Unfortunately no. There is no cure for dementia, but medical advances are made every day around the world. There are a range of medications that can help with some of the symptoms, to improve memory for example, but every individual’s treatment is unique.

What Causes Alzheimer’s?

The short answer is we simply don’t know yet. However, as more and more research is conducted into Alzheimer’s, it’s becoming clear that there are many different risk factors which can contribute to the disease. Age obviously is the biggest factor, with family history, genetics and head trauma also all playing a part. Other factors such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure may also be a factor, but at this time the research is inconclusive. Women are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.

Learn more about the types of
care we have at Radius Care

View all care types