- Maria Theresa O. Seguerra
We do not have any control over our health and ageing. Many believed that we are all masters of our own destiny especially with how well we look after ourselves and how well we age (Nelson, 2013).
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In this assessment, we are tasked to recognize and carefully look into the support needs of older adults suffering from geriatric health conditions most especially those with dementia. Furthermore, we are required to weigh the good side and the undesirable impacts of pre- conceived judgments and myths related to dementia and other common geriatric health conditions on patients and their families, individuals, and teams in the organisation and the whole of the said organisation.
Lastly, it is necessary for us to be able to know and endorse various ways to support, lessen or diminish the negative influences of dementia and other common geriatric health illnesses on clients and their families, individuals and teams in the organisation and the entire organisation as well.
Five Geriatric Support Organisations
- Age Concern NZ
This organization supports older adults with feelings of loneliness and alienation. They provide accredited visiting services to comfort geriatric clients an hour per week for them to enjoy social talks, share common interests and do fun activities together with the support service volunteer. Also, this group caters free and private services concerning elder abuse and neglect prevention all throughout New Zealand.
They help older people to feel happier, healthier and protected. In addition, help is always available to up keep and maintain the older client’s well-being in all aspects of life such as giving tips and advices whether or not to move out from their places, the appropriate places for them to stay, home support services, and helping out with housing repairs and maintenance.
Lastly, this support organisation extends an extra mile to help older people decide matters regarding money. Most frequently asked questions with what to do with their money and properties are answered by this support group (Age Concern New Zealand, 2014).
This support group offers up to date, significant and detailed information for older people in New Zealand. The site contains a wide database of directory and details about retirement villages, lifestyle villages and living, home help services, residential care, private hospitals, dementia care, rest homes, public hospital and all sorts of third age services for older adults (Eldernet ltd, 2015).
- Grey Power NZ
This organisation supports the voice of all NZ citizens who are in their 50s and over. This group helps in health promotion and maintenance of well- being of the citizens who are 50 and above (Grey Power NZ, 2015).
This offers help to old people in deciding about staying home, retirement villages, home care, day care and rest homes. In addition, this group offers services that easily direct elderly people of New Zealand through the healthcare system (Auckland District Health Board 2000-2004).
- SuperGold Card
This special type of card is for seniors and veterans of New Zealand. It includes big discounts and concessions such as free public transportation in appreciation for the older people’s contribution to the country. This card is even accepted in Australia in cases when elderlies travel to that country (Ministry of Social Development, 2015).
Six Service Provisions
- Residential Care
This refers to a long term care given to elderlies in a residential setting rather than in their family home. This includes rest home care, continuing care, respite care, dementia care. There is a criteria given for people to enter residential care settings contracted by the DHB and these are:
- Assessment by a DHB or DHB NASC must be done as to whether the person’s needs are considered as high or very high needs which are irreversible.
- They should be assessed as persons who can no longer be supported by the family or within the community.
- The person must be aged 65 or over; or aged between 50 and 64, unmarried and with no dependent children.
Lastly, the person must be entitled for a publicly funded health and disability services, must be New Zealand citizen, or permanent resident otherwise, they are personally liable to pay the full cost of their care (Ministry of Health- Manatu Haouora, 2014).
- Domiciliary care
This type of service provision is given to older people who still live independently in their homes yet needing personal help and assistance in their activities of daily living because their needs are assessed to be moderate or high (Northern Health and Care Trust, 2013).
- Sheltered housing
This service provision caters to older people who still wants to live semi independently. They are provided with self- contained flats or bungalows with wardens on site or off site. Although they live on their own, they still receive proper personal care and meal provisions are available to them (Age UK Group, 2015).
- Memory Services
This offers accurate screening and problem- solving service to older people who are suffering from mild memory problems. Their purpose is to boost the independence of elderlies with memory difficulties. Also, this service provision caters support and in depth advice to clients and carers as well as suggestions on proper medications to be taken, memory aids, referrals to other agencies that work with people with memory problems (Health Point, 2004- 2015).
- End- of- life support
This provides holistic comfort and support as well as social support to people who are suffering from a dying and advanced illness.
- NURSING HOMES
Suitable for long term care especially in the later stages of dementia. Most patients will necessitate 24 hours medical care and management. Most common services provided by nursing homes are helping with their basic personal cares such as showering, toileting and such, assisting and monitoring their daily intake of prescribed medications, providing recreational activities to them and providing special provisions by health care professionals like the podiatrist, hair dresser, occupational therapist, physio-therapist.
A stigma is a pre- perceived thought attached to a person’s personality and character that usually seen as a drawback in society. Most people experiencing dementia have not gotten away from this society’s humiliation, the families and loved ones of these demented clients are the ones who are mostly affected by this and they are in constant battle with this dilemma.
The following are some of the stigmas identified:
- Social isolation of the individual and their family
As dementia advances, it becomes harder for the family to cope up with this illness. The gradual transition of the client makes it more difficult for the loved ones to handle this pressing issue especially when depression breaks into the person’s emotion which usually adds up to the feeling of isolation and when they will come to realize that they are more of a liability to the family now than a provider.
- They should be encouraged to participate in recreational activities such as art classes, van trips and concerts.
- Inform the family that the client needs constant visits from them so they would not feel alienated.
- Allow the elderly to do their activities of daily living independently. Respect their decision if they refuse to ask help from the health providers in doing their personal cares.
- Assumption of automatic loss of independence
This stigma can elicit and stir enormous resentment, feelings of worthlessness and depression due to the reason that they can no longer bring out even the simplest tasks to be done and are not able to comprehend the complex tasks anymore.
- Encourage them to participate in all sorts of activities to make them realize that they still are capable of doing things on their own.
- Allow them to seek advices from therapists to boost their self- worth and pride.
- In assisting them to do physical activities, make sure the health provider should be realistic enough as to how much activity can be done at one time.
- Unable to make decisions about own care
As this irreversible illness progresses, the cognitive aspect of the person with dementia gradually deteriorates as well. Simple personal tasks can be hardly carried out by them such as bathing, toileting, washing and even eating can even be a hassle for them. Such minor things can be forgotten resulting to poor personal hygiene, malnutrition and at risk for all sorts of injuries and accidents.
- Offer them choices of food to eat and monitor their weights weekly if possible. If disturbing changes are noted, always give them fortified drinks mixed with their food and or daily supplemental drinks to take.
- Respect their clothing preferences but make sure you see to it that what they chose to wear is appropriate for the day. Always be there to assist them and let them do what they want to do so as to promote independence.
- Always allow them to participate in simple tasks.
- Dissatisfying interactions with the medical community
The healthcare providers are those people who deal with the demented clients the most thus they play the very critical, and significant role in this aspect. In order to keep track of the proper treatment given to the client, the family should:
- Constantly keep in contact with the service providers to be able to be informed of the client’s progress and changes, and whether the level of assistance has changed from the time they were admitted to the facility or has it improved in time.
- Make it sure that the client’s carers are well- trained and well equipped with knowledge and skills so as to bring about the best care expected to the demented client.
- Uncertainty of support services and treatments
There is no such thing as cure for dementia and if by chance any treatments can be found to reverse the illness, many would surely support this cure and become part of the solution.
- As a healthcare provider, always keep the family informed of the support services that can help with the demented loved one. Many health professionals work well along with people suffering from this illness.
- Although treatments have not been found yet, always communicate to the family the facts and share accurate information regarding the disease so as to avoid misconceptions regarding the illness. Also, let the family know that it is always important for the demented client to stay involved in meaningful relationships and activities.
Nelson, S. (2013). How to age well (1st edition). South Carolina, USA.
A+ Links Home Health: DAY ASSESSMENT – Auckland City Memory Service : Healthpoint. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.healthpoint.co.nz/public/community/a-links-home-health/day-assessment-auckland-city-memory-service/
Domiciliary Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/services/352.htm
End-of-Life Care – National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/end-of-life-care
Home | Carers NZ. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.carersair.net.nz/
Residential care questions and answers | Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/health-older-people/long-term-residential-care/residential-care-questions-and-answers
Sheltered housing | Housing choices | Home & care | Age UK. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ageuk.org.uk/home-and-care/housing-choices/sheltered-housing/
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