bethanie home care assistance Housing

Specialised Dementia Care

Specialised Dementia Care

Knowing what to do and when help is needed



Dementia impacts the entire family. The stress involved in coming to terms with a diagnosis cannot be underestimated.

Bethanie recognises these concerns and the anxiety that may arise as a consequence. These emerge because often, it is not knowing what to do, or when help is needed.

This is why Bethanie has developed a unique and dedicated six-point philosophy. The result is a process that looks at the care needs from the individual’s perspective. We focus on the person and what they can achieve, whether they are living in the community or in an Aged Care facility.

  Click here to access the Bethanie philosophy towards dementia


Person-Centred Care

Person-centred care is a multi-dimensional concept which includes valuing the customer, treating them as an individual, looking at their quality of life from their perspective and ensuring there is a social environment where they can experience well-being.

Person-centred care includes the importance of the family and friends being involved as a care partner. Our teams understand how important it is to talk with the customer and include family and friends when they plan care, both now and in the future.

If you or a loved one is not sure what to do, please call us on 131 151 or email Our friendly staff are available to answer your questions and help problem solve 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is the term used to describe the deterioration of brain function that results in symptoms such as;

• Loss of memory
• Reduced language skills
• Impaired reasoning
• Loss of daily living skills
• Changes to behaviour and emotions are also common

Dementia is not one specific disease. In fact, there are over 100 different types of dementia. The most common types of dementia are:

Alzheimer’s Disease

This is the most common cause of dementia. During the course of the disease, the chemistry and structure of the brain changes, leading to the death of brain cells

Vascular Dementia

If the oxygen supply to the brain fails, brain cells die. The symptoms of Vascular Dementia can occur either suddenly, following a stroke, or over time, through a series of small strokes.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

This form of dementia gets its name from tiny spherical structures that develop inside nerve cells. Their presence in the brain leads to the degeneration of brain tissue.

Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia

The damage is usually focussed in the frontal part of the brain, a person will have some changes in their personality and thus their behaviour is more affected than memory especially emotions.

Korsakoff Dementia

Is a brain disorder that is usually associated with heavy drinking and substance abuse over a long period of time.
People experience loss of short term memory.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Dementia

Infectious agents attack the central nervous system and the prions cause the dementia in the brain.

HIV Dementia

Dementia can occur in HIV patients in the later stages of the disease. For more details call us on 131 151 and ask to speak to our dementia consultant.

Need help?
If you or a loved one is not sure what to do, please call us on 131 151 or email Our friendly staff are available to answer your questions and help problem solve 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How can I tell?

Your ability to tell if someone you know or care for has dementia will depend on the type of dementia, and where it is located in the brain. The symptoms may include:

• Memory loss mainly in the most recent events
• Difficulty finding their way around especially when driving or visiting local places they usually know well
• Problems finding the correct words or understanding what the other person is saying
• Difficulty planning things to do or concentrating
• Difficulty learning new skills
• Problems with space, perception of colour
• Changes in physical ability such as walking, feeding yourself or swallowing
• Psychological changes which can mean the person becomes irritable, saying or doing inappropriate things being suspicious or even verbally or physically aggressive

Need help?

If you or a loved one is not sure what to do, please call us on 131 151 or email Our friendly staff are available to answer your questions and help problem solve 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How can I help?

If you are caring for a person who is often pacing and wandering it means that they need space or occupation in a meaningful activity. There are ways in which help can be given to carers to notify them that a person is missing.

If you are concerned about yourself or a relative or a friend seek help as soon as possible. Your doctor will want to exclude other types of diseases or conditions that may produce similar symptoms. At Bethanie we see the person before we see the dementia it’s all about wellbeing, living a fulfilling life that has meaning and purpose it is not about seeing a person as disabled.

An early diagnosis can help you become involved in making decisions, this should not be about you without you. It can also identify sources of support and advice.

Technology Tools

Technology that can help a person living with dementia to stay at home can be accessed through your local Independent Living Centre.
• Identity Tags – these are simply worn around the neck or the waist they include emergency contact details , name and any allergies
• GPS Monitors – these devices are small monitors with a remote location enabling the user to be found or located from areas in the community
• Mobile phones – some devices have an app for GPS technology
• Watches using satnav technology –with the advancement of technology you can purchase a watch with GPS technology

Driving Assistance

A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that a person must stop driving immediately. However, it is likely that as dementia progresses, a person will lose their ability to drive safely. You should discuss driving with your doctor, who may refer you to a specialist. Insurance companies require that any condition likely to affect a driver’s ability be disclosed to them. More information is available through your local licencing authority.

Getting a diagnosis of Dementia

Evidence shows it can take up to 3 years to obtain a diagnosis with dementia, however one of the key components of treatment is wellbeing. This is very powerful if a person with dementia seeks help as soon as is possible. For example, if a person with dementia can seek a life that allows their choices, their decisions, enables their freedom, allows their respect and dignity this is very powerful and is the basis for a person to have a quality of life that enables them to be who they are. For further advice contact the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 or Alzheimer’s Australia for information about the benefits of Memory clinics and support for you and your family.


Communication is the most important aspect of care for the person who has dementia. In the early stages some people may struggle to find the right words or mix-up the order of the words whilst they are speaking. As their dementia progresses they may lose track of what they were saying mid-sentence or forget your name or others close to them.

This can be distressing for everyone. The memory loss caused by the dementia can cause frustration for the carer as they have to repeat the same answer repeatedly. It is important not to assume that a person who has dementia cannot notice your mood or does not think or understand, they may not be able to remember what you have said but they will remember how you made them feel. If you lose patience and snap at them they will become anxious, become angry or frightened.

Here are some tips:

• Reduce noise and distractions such as television or radio when you are speaking with a person
• Face the person, never approach and talk from behind, good eye contact is important
• Speak clearly using simple short sentences, offering too many choices or asking for complicated decisions is likely to be confusing. For example offer 2 choices. Would you like tea or coffee? Not, what would you like a hot drink?
• Stop doing other tasks when you are speaking to them
• Dementia makes it harder to process information so give the person enough time to respond
• If the person asks about someone who has died never remind them that they died years ago, ask them where they think the person has gone and distract them by starting an activity that they enjoy engaging them in something else
• As a person who has dementia becomes confused, their reality may be different to yours attempt to enter their world and imagine what they are thinking
• Humour can be a great release and help you to feel closer. Try to laugh with the person never laugh at them this is degrading
• It can be hard to control your frustration but arguing will make your day more stressful
• Always calm down or walk away if you feel frustrated as we all have good and bad days

Changes in Relationships

Changes in relationships are common when a partner develops dementia .You may find it difficult to cope with the way the person responds to you .Try not to take it personally. Imagine living in a world of not knowing who you are, what is happening and feeling confused, abandoned and frightened. Try to provide answers that are reassuring and calming at that moment. A hug or a gentle touch of a person’s hand is reassuring if a person allows you to do so.

Need help?

If you or a loved one is not sure what to do, please call us on 131 151 or email Our friendly staff are available to answer your questions and help problem solve 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How can Bethanie Help?

Help with advance care planning

Advance care planning is about writing down your wishes while you can still say what you want. Talk about what is important, so your family and friends can make decisions about what to do when you no longer can. You also need to tell your health professionals about any plans. It is helpful to discuss any choices with them when putting the plan together. Planning can sometimes be something to do later (“why now?”) or not at all (“it’s not something that I want to talk about”). It does need to be talked about though to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive tells medical and healthcare professionals your decisions. It is very similar to an advance care plan. Advance directives can tell the doctors about certain kinds of treatment. This includes treatments that you want or don’t want, no matter how sick you are. This could be antibiotics, fluids or life support. Involving your close family and friends in the discussion means they will know why decisions have been made.

If you or a loved one is not sure what to do, please call us on 131 151 or email Our friendly staff are available to answer your questions and help problem solve 24 hours a day, seven days a week.