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Care home or home care? Difficult decisions for people with dementia and their carers
  1. Michael Wortley
  1. Peer Support Group Facilitator, Alzheimer's Society, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Michael Wortley, michael.wortley{at}alzheimers.org.uk

Abstract

The majority of people, including people with dementia, would prefer to be cared for in their homes until the end of their lives. However, that is often dependent on the ability of an informal carer (a family member or friend) to provide care at home. Caring for a person with dementia, particularly as the condition progresses, can be very stressful, both physically and psychologically. If the carer receives insufficient support, then the person with dementia is often admitted to a care home. When carers are no longer able to maintain care at home, they can experience negative emotions, such as guilt, sadness, shame and loss. This article will discuss reasons why family/friends of people with dementia want to care for their loved one at home, their perceptions of care homes, the need to open up discussions about place of care early in the disease trajectory and some of the advantages of care homes. In so doing, it will draw on issues raised by carers who participated in Alzheimer's Society's Carer Information and Support Programme. It is hoped that the article will provide both health and social care workers with insight into the difficulties experienced by the family/friends of people with dementia.

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