How do I find dementia-specific nursing homes?


Aging Care Reviews

Dementia specific nursing homes provide a safe and stimulating environment for people with dementia. But, like everyone, seniors with dementia have unique and varying needs, so it is important to find a nursing home that provides the right level of care. We have provided this guide about dementia in nursing homes to help you find the best care option for yourself, your family member or friend.


Do all nursing homes cater for seniors with dementia?

Although many residential nursing homes are dementia-friendly and have dementia-specific areas, not all nursing homes cater for seniors with dementia. With there being over 300 types of dementia, dementia symptoms vary between people and also change over time as the disease progresses. If a person’s symptoms are mild enough, they may do well in a nursing home that doesn’t cater specifically for dementia, but is dementia-friendly; however, this may not be a good long-term solution because their needs will change over time.

Before deciding on which kind of residential care is right for your loved one, it is important to understand the level of care needed to meet their specific care needs. When it comes to understanding the level and type of dementia-specific needs your loved one may need, an Aged Care Assessment will help nursing homes determine if they can effectively care for them. Read more here about the Aged Care Assessment.

The Aged Care Decisions team can help you with the assessment process and guide you towards finding a suitable nursing home that can cater for a loved one with dementia. Contact us online or call us for a chat on 1300 775 870.


What are the different types of dementia care found in nursing homes?

In Australia, you can choose between three options for dementia care in nursing homes:

  • Dementia-friendly
  • Dementia-specific
  • Secure dementia

The specific care needs of the person with dementia will determine which option is right for them. Please see below for more information about each type of dementia care.


Dementia-friendly nursing homes

Dementia-friendly nursing homes usually suit seniors with mild dementia symptoms, who need help with tasks like cooking, shopping and personal care but are able to move around on their own. Staff can supervise medications if required. Dementia-friendly nursing homes are not suitable for residents with high-level dementia needs.


Dementia-specific wards

Many low-care and high-care nursing homes have dementia-specific units or sections. Seniors with more advanced dementia or additional medical conditions would benefit from living in a dementia-specific unit. Dementia-specific units have specialist doctors who work with residents. They are supported by registered nurses, personal care assistants and allied health workers. All staff in a dementia-specific unit are experienced in working with dementia. The Specialist Dementia Care Program funds the dementia-specific units in residential nursing facilities.


Secure dementia wards

A dementia ward is another name for a dementia unit. They are separate wings or sections of a low-care or high-care nursing home that cater specifically for residents with dementia. Secure dementia wards are suited to people who have advanced symptoms of dementia, both psychologically and behaviourally, who would not be safe in a general nursing home environment and are often at risk of wandering. They provide a secure space where residents can feel safe and comfortable. Many secure dementia nursing homes also offer completely secure gardens so residents can wander outside without risk of leaving the grounds. The ward or unit also keeps residents safe by using a pin code for entry or exit.

If you have questions about dementia care in nursing homes, speak to our friendly team of Aged Care Decisions specialists. They are familiar with the various options available and can help you decide which type of facility would offer the best level of care for your loved one. Our online form is quick and easy to fill out, and a specialist will be in touch shortly thereafter to discuss your individual circumstances with you.


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What extra precautions do nursing homes take for dementia residents?

Dementia residents face additional challenges unique to their disease. These can include wandering off, becoming disoriented and forgetting to do some of the tasks that would normally keep them safe. Dementia specific nursing homes need to cater for these needs to ensure the safety and health of their residents. Many residential homes are using new methods of managing dementia symptoms, such as music and dance therapy and pet therapy. These therapies can help reduce anxiety and keep dementia residents calm. Read more about the benefits of music therapy and pet therapy in our dedicated articles.

Nursing homes also need to take these additional precautions in caring for residents suffering from Dementia:

  • Signage that is easy to read and understand
  • An environment that is easy to navigate
  • Colour coding to help with navigation
  • A smaller facility or unit that caters to fewer residents
  • Low noise levels
  • Secure areas, including secure outdoor areas to prevent residents from wandering away
  • Staff who are experienced with and trained in caring for people with dementia
  • Engaging activities specifically designed for people with dementia

When you tour a facility, you have the opportunity to ask how they cater for people with dementia. You can also ask how they work with residents and their dementia symptoms to create a positive and stimulating environment. Understanding dementia in nursing homes will help you find the right home for the person receiving care.


How do I find dementia specific nursing homes?

Once your loved one has been assessed, you will be able to start looking for dementia nursing homes that cater for their specific care needs. Our extensive database of aged care facilities lets you compare dementia-friendly nursing homes or those with secure dementia wards. We will provide a list of potential nursing homes, which will allow you to create a shortlist of your favourites. We can then help you organise tours so you can narrow down your search and find the right nursing home for someone with dementia.

At Aged Care Decisions, we are committed to make this process as easy and stress-free as possible. We aim to ensure each of our clients find the right aged care option. Our aged care specialists work with over 1000 nursing homes around Australia and can help you compare those in your local area. We offer a free service so that everyone has the opportunity to access specialised aged care assistance when they need it. Call us today on 1300 775 870 or complete our online form.


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