Urgent Call to Address Delay in Dementia Care Discussions, Says Vida Healthcare

Recent findings indicate that over half of the British population regrets not addressing the topic of care homes with their relatives sooner.

  • 57 percent said they waited to move a loved one into a care home until after a health crisis
  • 75 percent said that having the conversation about moving into care was very difficult
  • 43 percent admitted to lying to loved ones during the process

Vida Healthcare, a premier dementia care provider in the UK, is advocating for a change in the perception of elderly care. Their research uncovered a widespread lack of clarity among Brits regarding the various care services available, contributing to delayed decision-making. Notably, 23% of adults are unsure about what residential care entails, 24% are unclear about nursing care, 28% are uncertain about dementia care specifics, and 31% are unfamiliar with social or respite care details.

This confusion often leads families to postpone necessary care discussions until a crisis arises, complicating the process further due to the avoidance of difficult conversations and decisions. Moreover, negative perceptions of care homes persist among 20% of the surveyed individuals, adding to the reluctance to consider such options.

Half of those with family members in care reported resistance to moving, primarily due to attachment to their home (47%), fear of losing independence (36%), and anxiety (33%). However, the experiences of those who moved into care homes were significantly positive, highlighting the benefits of supportive staff (22%), improved care quality (21%), better-than-expected facilities (21%), pleasant surprises (15%), and excellent specialist care (12%).

James Rycroft, Managing Director at Vida Healthcare, emphasizes the need to transform the UK’s view of care homes: “Moving a loved one into a care home can be difficult for all involved. By the time someone starts considering a care home, it’s likely their loved one may be in need of more care than what can be provided at home, and individuals may have come to a point where they can no-longer provide the care and support their loved one needs. Our research found that adults are often putting off conversations because of feelings of guilt – more than a third (36 percent) of UK adults that we spoke to admitted to avoiding the conversation of moving a loved one into care as they felt guilty about doing so, a stigma that we’re dedicated to challenging and changing. It’s important to accept that you are human and there is only so much you can do – an individual cannot provide the level of care that a dedicated care home can.”

Bob Kirby, reflecting on his own journey with his late wife, Jan, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, shares: “Jan and I never made promises we couldn’t keep and we were realistic in our expectations about going into care if needed.” The move to Vida Healthcare provided crucial specialist care that significantly eased his burden.

From their experiences, Vida Healthcare has identified key reassurances for families considering care:

  • You can’t provide the level of care that a care facility does
  • You haven’t failed a family member by not keeping them at home with you
  • You should prepare more and talk about options earlier
  • You and your loved one will feel safer
  • Plan the move and make it as smooth as possible

James concludes: “Family members of people living with dementia and other conditions that mean they need to move into a care home shouldn’t feel like they have failed their loved one by not keeping them at home with them. On the contrary, being supported by a care provider can ensure that yourself and your loved one are cared for in a respectful and dignified way, that allows independence to be maintained as much as possible, all the while helping to improve your loved one’s wellbeing and quality of life.”

For further details on Vida Healthcare’s services, please visit www.vidahealthcare.co.uk.

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