Why Flexibility Is The Key To Maintaining Independence In Later Life Care

A person’s care needs change over time. This could be down to the ageing process and a gradual loss of physical or mental capabilities, or it could be a temporary situation caused by illness or an accident.

As care needs change, the top priority for most people is to maintain as much independence as possible. The route to achieving this is through flexibility. For a care provider like Altogether Care, this means more than simply offering a full range of care services. Most importantly, it means listening, understanding and working with you to design a care package that meets your needs and can easily adapt as those needs change.


Independence can have many meanings – so it’s important to be clear what we’re talking about. At its heart it means that you are the one making the decisions. And that you continue doing as much as you are able to for yourself. The organisation providing your care services is there to help you achieve your goals – not to decide what’s best for you.

When somebody is struggling with a task there’s a big difference between saying ‘we’ll do that for you’ and ‘which bits of that task do you find most difficult and can we help?’

Staying In Your Own Home

Independence for many people means staying in their own home for as long as possible. The flexibility that makes this possible includes care services that range from simple help with daily tasks, to regular nursing care visits up to full-time live-in care. If adaptations are needed to make your home easier to live in the choices about any changes are still yours.


If you decide that residential care is the most suitable option this doesn’t mean surrendering your independence. Residents in our care homes are encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves and continue to decide what care support they need and how they want to spend their time.

The approach to flexibility at Altogether Care is about much more than the range of services we offer – it’s about our approach to your individual needs and choices. This ensures that maintaining your independence is always a priority.

For more information about our care services, contact 01305 206 140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

A Loved One Has Been Diagnosed With Dementia – What Happens Next?

When somebody is told that they have dementia, it will trigger all sorts of thoughts and emotions. Responses can be a mix of shock, sadness, fear and sometimes even relief that there’s an explanation for some of the changes they have experienced.

The inevitable question is, ‘what next?’. Living with dementia changes your life, whether you are the person with the diagnosis, a loved one or a carer. There are practical issues to consider as well as those related to care and emotional wellbeing. A carer’s life can be stressful and challenging, so it’s best to be prepared.



Dementia inevitably changes close personal relationships. It helps to talk openly about what this will mean for everyone concerned. If your spouse or partner is diagnosed with dementia, it will mean a huge adjustment for both of you. Inevitably, your main concern will be for your partner but don’t forget that you will also be affected and that you need to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing.

You may be able to find training and local support groups to help you in your role as a caregiver. Support and online discussion groups – such as the Alzheimer’s Society Talking Point – are also available to help your loved one cope with the adjustment.

Above all, it will take time for your loved one to adjust to the diagnosis. You could suggest counselling, perhaps at a memory clinic, which can be a big help. Charities such as Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK provide services that may also help. These include helplines, support groups, day centres, shopping services and home care.

A diagnosis brings an entitlement to a care and support needs assessment from your local council. You can arrange this by contacting social services or through your GP, consultant or other health service professional.


Carer’s Assessment

If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what help could make your life easier. The types of help you could get include:

  • Respite care so you can take a break
  • Training in how to lift safely
  • Help with housework and shopping
  • Access to local support groups

This is definitely the time to look after your health and that of your loved one – including regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet. If your loved one is feeling depressed after their diagnosis they may need plenty of encouragement and cajoling to take good care of themselves.

Practical Considerations

There are inevitably some practical issues to plan for. Here are the main things to consider:

  • Register as a carer with your GP.
  • Make sure that your loved one has an up-to-date will and has assigned lasting powers of attorney for when they are no longer able to make financial or healthcare decisions for themselves.
  • Claim any benefits that you are entitled to. These could include a Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance. As a carer you may be eligible for a Carer’s Allowance.
  • Make sure that papers relating to your loved one’s bank accounts, mortgage or rental documents, insurance policies, tax and pension details, bills and guarantees are in order and easy to find.
  • Think about advance care planning so that your loved one’s wishes for their ongoing care are written down.

At some stage in the future, it’s likely that care support will be needed – either care at home or residential and nursing care. Contacting a care provider such as Altogether Care will help you understand the options available and how your loved one’s needs might change in the future.

For information on Dementia Care options, call 01305 206140 or email info@altogethercare.co.uk.

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