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Respite care for people with younger onset dementia

Everyone, including the main carer, needs to have time out to make sure they don’t burn out. One option to explore as early as possible is respite care.

Family members of people with younger onset dementia may find themselves caring for a person with dementia, for dependent children and even for ageing parents all at the same time. They might also be working full time.

Respite care allows carers to cope, and can help the person with dementia stay living independently for longer. Respite care can be given:

  • in the person’s home
  • in a day centre
  • in a community respite cottage for overnight or weekend care
  • in a residential aged care home
  • as emergency respite.

The Commonwealth Government funds many types of respite care. To find out about respite options - including emergency respite care - call a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 during business hours (or 1800 059 059 outside business hours). Information is also available from the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500, or from Carers Australia on 1800 242 636.

Because the person with dementia is not aged, it is important to find someone prepared to listen who is able to find options other than aged care facilities.

The doctor who cares for the person with dementia may develop a Health Care Plan that can help with the cost of specialised services such as physiotherapy. A doctor might also arrange for an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Although the person with dementia is not aged, this type of assessment is sometimes used to access a range of health services that can help the person with dementia and their carer.

Talk to your doctor or call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 to find out about care plans and assessments.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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Alzheimer's Australia | Using respite care

Respite careenables families and carers to have a rest, go out, attend to business or go on a holiday. Many people find that a regular break means that they can recharge and avoid burn out. It also gives a person with dementia an opportunity to socialise and meet other people. The Government funds many different types of respite to help families and carers. If you want to know more about what respite is available in your area there are a number of organisations that can help you.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | Taking care of yourself

Taking a break Taking a break from caring, often called respite or respite care, is important for anyone providing day to day care for someone with dementia.

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Dementia: problems with sleeping - myDr.com.au

Problems with sleeping are common for people with dementia. Here are some strategies to help carers cope with them.

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Alzheimer's Australia | Taking a break

Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally tiring and stressful. Families and carers can easily become isolated, particularly if they are unable to leave the person they are caring for. Regular breaks mean that you can have a rest, go out, attend to business or go on a holiday and gives carers something to look forward to and experiences to look back on.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Carers Victoria - Respite & Support

The services which enable you to take a break are broadly referred to as respite and include in-home help provided by a support worker, recreation-based activities and assistance with special equipment.

Read more on Carers Victoria website

Carer Life Course - Dementia resources

Provides information on dementia and memory loss and on services that exist for carers and sufferers including counselling, social and therapeutic activities and support groups

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Dementia - Factsheets

Dementia is a name given to a group of symptoms which result from failing brain functions. The major signs are memory loss, confusion, disorientation and lessening of intellectual functioning.

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Alzheimer's Australia | Services available for people with Younger Onset Dementia

The task of living with or caring for someone with younger onset dementia can be difficult, and at times feel overwhelming. However, there are a number of organisations which provide services to help both the person living with dementia and their carers continue caring for people with dementia at home.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program

The National Younger Onset Dementia Keyworker Program: Provides individualised services and support for people living with younger onset dementia, their families and carers. Raises awareness of younger onset dementia through the provision of education to WA health networks and local community. Builds capacity to meet the needs of younger onset dementia within the disability, aged care, community and residential care sectors through consultation, networking and collaboration with service providers and consumers.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | Activities for people with dementia

Each day there are many things that provide us with purpose and pleasure. For a person with dementia, the need for a good quality of life is not diminished. However, without some assistance from family and carers, their ability to achieve purpose and pleasure is much more difficult. Ideally, activities should:

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