Dementia: When to call on Professional Care?

Dementia: When to call on Professional Care?

When is it time for a person with dementia to get professional care?

In SA, there are two options available:
  1. Home-based care.
  2. Facility care.

Lots of questions arose from our consultations with families living with a person with dementia. Question of how can we trust other people with our loved one with the disease? ADASA does consultations to guide the family through this process.

How does ADASA assist?

Mainly through consultations by a professional person qualified in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The consultation is 1 to 2 hours long. Each person is unique and, therefore, has different needs.

These needs are based on the following:
  • Previous life experiences
  • Cultural practices
  • Stage of the disease


It is difficult to place a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s in a specific stage as stages may overlap. Cognitive skills are based on brain structures that help us learn, concentrate, remember, and solve problems.

Cognitive impairment refers to difficulties remembering (short term), learning new things, concentrating, or making personal decisions that negatively affect everyday life. It is an inclusive term that describes any characteristic inhibiting cognitive or thought processes.

The above aspects are evaluated in a consultation, which makes it individualistic so that the family can understand the key ways dementia or Alzheimer’s affects the individual as the disease progresses.

Consultations also include future planning and the way forward. Much attention is given to working out a caring plan for both carers and patients.

Guidelines to make a proper recommendation in consultations.
ADASA bases it on the following guidelines:
  • Professional knowledge of this disease.
  • Act on Elderly People, Act 13 of 2006, Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • Chapter 2: Rights of the Elderly person – creating an enabling and supportive environment for older persons.
  • Chapters 3 and 4: Rules and regulations for carers at home and facility care
  • Chapter 5: Abusing older persons – types of abuse, how to report it and protection for older persons against abuse.
  • DQ 98 form: Evaluation form that social workers and facilities (nurses) use to evaluate what level of care the patient needs.

Guilt feelings, promises and many myths about facility care are mentioned in consultations. We pay attention to all these aspects, work through the family’s feelings, answer all the questions about the misconceptions, and guide everyone through this process.

Keep in mind:

Always keep the patient’s dignity and quality of life in mind.

As carers be honest with yourself if you cannot cope anymore with the situation. Working with people who have dementia is stressful.

The first step for carers to prevent “burnout syndrome” is to recognise that their work is stressful and that expressing distress is allowed and is not a sign of personal weaknesses.

Also, remember the person living with dementia’s bill of rights – to be cared for by individuals well-trained in dementia care. It is important to treat them like an adult and not a child.

By Welma Geldenhuys

ADASA wants to support you in this journey. Please connect with a regional manager or social worker in a nearby region at