Dementia continues to offer many challenges for sufferers and their carers alike.

According to The Dementia Services Information and Development Centre at St James’s Hospital, there are 42,000 people living with Dementia in Ireland today. 5% of the Irish population aged 65 years of age have this condition. People in their 90s are 50 times more likely to have Dementia than those in their 60s. It is estimated that there will be between 65,000 and 140,000 Dementia sufferers within the next 3 decades.

We recently transferred an elderly gentleman from a Dublin suburban Nursing Home to a Nursing Home in the West of Ireland. This gentleman was in his mid eighties and according to his Nursing Home Director, he had moderate Dementia that was diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to the transfer we went through our pre-transfer booking and assessment form. This allowed us engage in a meaningful way with our client’s carers and nurses and enabled us to assess the risks associated with the transfer.

Following the assessment it was considered important for our client’s safety and well being that he would transfer in the company of his favorite carer, a gentle man from the Philippines, who was his “regular” carer. As it turns out, he proved to be a gifted carer too.

TheAmbulette-03 transfer began without incident with the collection from the Dublin Nursing Home. Our client who was ambulant was assisted into our accessible vehicle and made feel comfortable with a fresh, clean, throw and a bottle of water for the journey.

As we proceeded into the country it became clear that our client was a rural man and showed great interest in the farming scenes that we passed as we went by.

So much so that our client wanted to get out of the car (which was moving at Motorway speed) to get a little closer to the farming action.

Prior to departure, his carer and I had discussed how we would manage this eventuality and had decided on a particular course of action. The car is equipped with an Internet connection and an I-pad and his carer quickly opened up a farming related website that captured our client’s attention diverting him from his earlier desire to leave the car. The rest of the trip went smoothly as our client was engaged with the farming images that the carer provided on the I-pad.

We arrived at his new Nursing Home some 2 hours later. The weather was awful and our client, sensing some change in circumstances, was reluctant to leave the vehicle and enter the new Nursing Home. Following several attempts at coaxing him and offers of hot tea and food our man was “not for turning” and said “he wouldn’t leave the car today”.

DSC_8526Slowly we opened the car windows to allow some cold air into the car and our client had a change of heart. He willingly entered his new home and was made feel really welcome, comfortable and cared for from the start. This little account illustrates the need for planning, patience and more than a little ingenuity when dealing with transfers of people with dementia.

I’m very happy to report that CareCabs staff, policies and procedures and vehicles coincide to ensure people with dementia can be transferred safely and comfortably today.