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Dementia Care Guide for Family Members


In 2019 the Management Team undertook a Dublin City University Level 8 course in Person Centred Dementia Care. This accredited qualification now recognises Homecare Solutions as a Dementia Champion of Care in our community. In 2021 we worked with Skillnet and helped to develop a Certificate in Person Centred Dementia Care for carers working in a home setting with QQI accreditation. We partnered with The Waterfall Clinic to develop an exercise regime helping to maintain the client's independence at home. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of Dementia, according to Prof Shane O’Mara of TCD.

At Homecare Solutions, we are trained and experienced to deliver a Person Centred Dementia Care Programme. This allows us to provide an alternative to a residential care home for your loved one. Homecare Solutions are experts in the care of the elderly. Research shows by remaining in your home or a familiar surrounding with a regular routine and a trained professional delivering their care, a person with Dementia will maintain their independence for a longer period of time.

The rate of progression can be significantly influenced by health and the physical and social environment. We are passionate about supporting and helping families live a whole and well life with their Dementia diagnosis in the comfort of their own homes and community. This guide aims to support and assist families in understanding this condition and coping with the challenges they can face on their Dementia journey. 




What is Dementia?

Dementia is the umbrella term which describes several conditions that cause damage to brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common but has many different types – over a hundred. They include Frontal temporal, Lewy body, Vascular, and many more.

Dementia is a term used to describe a range of cognitive and behavioural symptoms that can include memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication, changes in personality and a reduction in a person’s ability to carry out daily activities such as washing, dressing, cooking as well as others. Dementia is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain. How quickly Dementia progresses depends entirely on the individual.

10 Early Warning Signs:

  1. Memory loss affecting daily life
  2. Inability to plan and resolve problems
  3. Reduced ability to complete familiar tasks
  4. Confusion in time or place
  5. Difficulty with spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words/writing
  7. Misplacing items or reduced ability to retrace steps
  8. Impaired judgement
  9. Social withdrawal
  10. Changes in mood and personality



Communication – Key Points

  • People with Dementia may have difficulties with expressive language and comprehension – this can be very frustrating for carers and people living with Dementia.

  • Necessary to look for the emotion behind the words

  • Only a small portion of our communication is verbal; use other methods.

  • The responsibility for person-centred communication lies with the carer.

  • People living with Dementia respond to emotion, even if they cannot understand words – Validate the Emotion.

  • Ensure the person has aids, e.g. hearing aids, glasses

  • Ask questions in ways that don’t require complex answers.

Get the M.E.S.S.A.G.E 

M - Maximise Attention
Attract attention, Avoid distraction, One topic at a time

E - Watch your Expression
and body language, show interest, remain relaxed and calm

S - Keep it SIMPLE
Short, simple, familiar, clear choices

S - Support the Conversation
Give time, Find the word, Repeat then rephrase, Reminders of the topic

A - Assist with visual aids
Gestures and actions, objects and pictures

G - Get the message
Listen, watch and work out behaviour and nonverbal messages

E - Encourage and Engage in Conversation
Interesting and familiar topics (reference ‘Getting to Know Me’ document) Opportunities to talk


"We are trained and experienced to deliver a ‘Person Centred Dementia Care Programme, ’ allowing us to provide the alternative to a residential care home for your loved one."


Living Well with Dementia

Post Diagnostic Supports: Five Strand Approach

1 Understanding and planning

Information about progression and advice on changing needs, future planning and promoting understanding of the condition

2 Staying Connected

Maintaining existing connections and interventions which provide additional support to maintain emotional and social connectedness

3 Staying Healthy

Supporting healthy behaviours; many post-diagnostic supports include strategies for preventing distress and disability whilst promoting health and social well-being

4 Supporting Cognition

Supports and Interventions which can maintain cognitive abilities as well as provide other benefits


5 Supporting Emotional Wellbeing

Supports and interventions which can enhance emotional well-being throughout the dementia continuum.



Creating opportunities for meaningful activity

Activities need to be person-centred and meaningful to the person.

  • Use the getting to know me document to understand likes, dislikes, routines, the life story of the person living with Dementia, their family and their childhood memories.
  • Photographs, books, magazines, games, puzzles, companionship, going for a walk.
  • Music, Radio, TV, Exercises, Art, chores. Please keep it simple and adapt to the capability of the person.
  • Practical activities such as baking or gardening
  • Socialisation during activities 

Home Environment


For a person living with Dementia, the home can pose difficulties and sometimes risks. Some simpler adaptations can make it safer for everyone. Bear in mind that Dementia is progressive; it is vital to reassess the home and physical environment regularly. Our expert team will help and guide you and will provide you with useful recommendations.

Some suggestions are as simple as reducing clutter, keeping a calendar up to date and visible, using a whiteboard noting the time and day of the week or leaving out clothes in the correct order for dressing. Consider making adaptations to your home, like adding stair or bathroom rails, changing the lighting or removing trip hazards both inside and outside. Putting clearly written labels or instructions on doors, presses, or household objects can be helpful. For more support and details about Memory Clinics, please look at;


The benefits of Using 'Getting to Know Me.'

We use "My needs and Preference (Getting to Know Me)" with every client we have. We seek to understand our clients and their history so we can choose the suitable carer and help create a meaningful connection between our clients and carers. 

  • It enables us to support the person with what they want and need rather than guessing.
  • It allows us to look for the person behind the illness and helps us better understand the causes of someone's behaviour or distress.
  • Dementia changes a person's ability to interact with their environment, but the person is still there. It allows us to support the person to engage in activities that are of interest and meaningful to them. A person may have advanced dementia but can still engage to some extent in something that has held great interest for them.
  • It enables us to build relationships based on understanding and empathy.
  • It can provide the basis for risk assessment and enablement across various situations and know what is essential to the person.


  • Dementia does not always lead to disability; what part do we play?
  • Beware of assumptions and perceptions.
  • Remember to look for the person behind the illness. Focus on strengths
  • It is possible to live well with Dementia with the correct support and education
  • The responsibility to adapt is with the carer; people with Dementia cannot adapt to us.

Signposts to support as necessary 

Below are some details on each of the services we have gathered to benefit our clients and their families. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will help with initial support from your community. As a home care provider, we want to enhance our community engagement with local support groups for people with Dementia.

Local Health Office

Services: Information and Advice (Homecare Packages, Home Help Services)
Location: HSE Oak House, Millennium Park, Naas Phone: 045 880 400

Family Carer Training Kildare

Services: Dementia Family Carer Programmes, Information and advice, Activities and Groups.
Location: Co. Kildare
Phone: 1800 341 341

Naas Active Retirement Association

Services: Activities & Group Outings
Location: McCauley Place, Naas
Phone: 085 877 7619 (Ina McCarthy)

Alzheimer Café

Services: Activities and Groups
Location: McAuley Place, Naas
Phone: 087 605 7264

Psychiatry of Later Life Kildare / West Wicklow

Services: Information and Advice (Diagnosis & Clinical Care)
Location: Sarto House, Sarto Road, Naas
Phone: 045/887002

Newbridge Social Club

Services: Dementia Social Club, Awareness, Information and Advice, Activities and Groups
Location: Newbridge Parish Centre, Station Road, Newbridge
Phone: 086 145 0663

The Waterfall Physiotherapy Clinic

Services: Group Exercise Class, Falls Prevention and Balance Rehabilitation
Location: Claregate St, Kildare Town
Phone: 045 535 344

Past Times Community Choir

Services: Dementia-friendly choir
Location: McAuley Place, Sallins Road, Naas, Co. Kildare.
Phone: 045 448 316 and 083 170 9589

Sister Rice Drop-in Centre

Services: Dementia carer Support Group, Activities and Groups
Location: Clane Centre, Ballingappa Road, Clane, Co. Kildare
Phone: No: 086 607 4089


Download the Dementia Care Guide           Home Safety Checklist          Download the Needs and Preferences Booklet

We are an owner managed, independent, non-medical homecare provider based in Naas, serving the Kildare, West Wicklow and greater Dublin areas.

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