Website helps dementia patients live at home for longer

Summary

Flanders’ dementia expertise centre has created the website full of practical tips for patients, families and care professionals

Accessible support

A new website aims to make it much easier and cheaper to find the right tools to help dementia patients live independently for as long as possible before moving to residential care.

More than 130,000 people in Flanders have dementia, a number that’s predicted to double within the next 40 years as the population ages. Many patients wish to remain in their own home for as long as possible and there are strategies to support people who wish to do so, including care plans and practical modifications to their home.

However, the available support tools that could be relevant to a person with dementia are not always well known among the public or even among care professionals. That’s why Flanders’ dementia expertise centre has created a new website, which will be launched on 19 November.

It contains general advice as well as specific tips on how to adapt each room in a house, which will be updated as new insights and products become available. The website is financially independent of care service providers. A companion book by Meredith Delaere and Isabel Vermaete of residential care group Woonzorggroep GVO will be published on the same day, in accessible format.

Win-win

People with dementia and their carers can use the website to find information quickly and accessibly, but it is also aimed at occupational therapists. The centre is calling for targeted action to make occupational therapists more aware of the role they can play in allowing patients to stay in their own home for longer. It would also like to see the creation of a library service that lends practical tools, meaning patients and their families are not obliged to buy items that may no longer be needed when they patient’s health and capabilities deteriorate.

“Moreover, virtually no financial contribution is currently provided for medical aid that can be relevant for dementia,” the centre said. “Yet there is a win-win situation: by financially supporting the use of resources, living at home for longer is supported and the move to more expensive residential care centres is postponed.”