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Joined Up Care Is Better Care

Any individual’s care needs are likely to change over time. The change could be temporary, for example while recovering from a medical procedure, or it could be longer term for health conditions that become progressively more acute.

What’s important is that there’s continuity. People needing personal or nursing care shouldn’t need to have to keep telling their story over and over again to different people. If your needs change from a few hours of care at home, to Live care or to residential care, there should be a seamless handover to ensure your care needs continue to be met.

Staying With A Care Provider Who Knows You

One advantage of an organisation like Altogether Care that offers a full range of flexible care and support, is that your needs can be met without changing your care provider. This means you have the reassurance of staying as part of our family, receiving care and support from people you know and who know you.

You’re always dealing with people you know and who know you.

But it isn’t just about the range of care support on offer. Information such as your personalised care plan has to flow easily and securely between different teams – so that whoever is delivering your care will have all the information they need to support you in the most effective way.

Digital Care Planning and Joined Up Care

Some time ago Altogether Care invested in digital care planning software. This helps us work efficiently and effectively to meet the individual needs of everyone we support. It also means that all the vital information about each individual and the care they need is easily available. Your care plan travels with you as you access different services.

Digital care planning tools also make it easier for us to collaborate with other healthcare professionals who might be involved in your care. Using digital tools helps us join everything together so that each person always receives the care they need.

If you are considering your care options and want to plan for the longer rather than immediate term, take a look at the different types of care we deliver. Or call one of our team on 01305 300 161 who’ll be happy to talk through your needs and options.

Would You Prefer Your Carer To Be Regulated Or Unregulated?

Choosing a care at home service is a big decision. Like all important choices it helps to be as well informed as possible.

Perhaps the most basic choice is between a regulated and unregulated care provider. But people don’t always realise that this is a choice they’re making. Home help agencies don’t tend to describe themselves as ‘unregulated.’

So What’s The Difference Between Regulated And Unregulated Care?

Being a regulated care service means we are accountable to the Care Quality Commission. We have to meet defined standards and regulations that cover everything from how we run our business to the training expected for the staff who visit your home.

We are subject to regular inspections and you can find the results of these on the CQC website. The quality of the service we provide is independently verified and made public. We have to have procedures in place to ensure that people we care for aren’t at risk from neglect, harm or abuse.

‘Unregulated’ simply means that a provider isn’t registered with the CQC. They aren’t inspected or required to meet any particular standards beyond what is covered by general legal requirements.

What Care Do You Need?

Unregulated care providers can legally offer only a limited range of services such as cleaning, shopping and general help around the home. They cannot offer personal care.

It’s relatively easy for anyone to set up a company to offer general support around the home. Many unregulated providers simply act as agents who put you in touch with a home help who you then effectively employ.

Any provider offering personal care services such as help with dressing, washing, continence or any aspect of care that needs specialist knowledge such as nutrition or hydration must be regulated. If an organisation offers these services they must be able to show you evidence of their CQC registration.

As you can see, there are some important differences between what regulated and unregulated care services can do and how care standards are enforced.

If you have any questions we’d be delighted to help. Give Altogether Care a call 01305 300 161 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

You can also find a range of information and resources on our website https://altogethercare.co.uk/

What Would Make Life Easier For Your Elderly Relatives?

Spring is a time of year when many older people and their families consider whether some extra help – or perhaps new technology – could make life easier and leave more time and energy for simply enjoying life. As families plan for the years school holidays ahead it can often become clearer that an elderly relative has more significant care needs that aren’t being met and there’s a scramble on how to fill that gap.

More Options Than You Might Think

People new to the care system are often surprised by the flexibility and choices available to them. Preconceived ideas about what receiving care means dissolve once they look at the options. Care can mean anything from a few hours a week to help with cleaning or cooking right up to live-in or residential care.

The starting point is always: ‘what would make life better?’ That’s a large part of how we see ourselves. Delivering elderly care in all its forms is what Altogether Care does. Why we do it is to help people enjoy the most active and fulfilling lives possible in their later years.

How Technology Can Help

The pandemic made us all more accustomed to doing things remotely. This trend has opened more options for elderly care. Remote GP consultations are now common, which can be more convenient if mobility is an issue, but there are other technologies and care models which are also contributing to better care.

Altogether Care is an advocate of technologies that can contribute to smarter home care. In partnership with the charity AbilityNet, friendly tech volunteers provide free IT support to older people and disabled people of any age, anywhere in the UK.  We recently ran an AbilityNet drop in hub at our Weymouth Care Home.

There is also remote digital care technologies that are easy to install such as Ethel, a smart care hub. This works through a simple-to-operate tablet that includes medication reminders, video calling, remote ‘check-in,’ call-me requests and more. A really valuable feature is vital signs monitoring to provide early alerts of potential issues. Ethel can also be connected to motion, power and contact sensors placed around the home. Altogether Care are piloting the use of Ethel in partnership with Dorset Council for a limited number of clients.

There is no replacement for people, but these technologies and efficiencies will all contribute to improving and maintaining your loved ones care at home.

Starting The Conversation

For families, the hardest part is usually starting the conversation. Asking what would help your relative get more enjoyment from life might be a better starting point than suggesting they need to be cared for.

It’s also helpful to know what options are available. So take some time to look at our website to explore care at home, assisted living, holiday and day care, residential and nursing care options.

To learn more about how Ethel delivers greater peace of mind for elderly relatives needing care support at home, please visit www.ethelcare.co.uk, or for help with making technology accessible for your loved ones, AbilityNet can assist with knowledge about any device.

If you have any questions we’d be delighted to help. Give Altogether Care a call, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

A Warm Welcome from Altogether Care

Altogether Care Teams with the Warm Welcome Campaign to offer comfort to those in need

The weather is cold and Altogether Care are pleased to announce that we have opened up our office hubs in collaboration with the Warm Welcome Spaces campaign.

During the worst cost-of-living crisis in 70 years, the Warm Welcome Campaign emerged as a collective response to build a movement for a fairer and friendlier society by supporting warm and welcoming spaces in every community in the UK.

Join Us

Altogether Care is happy to be able to offer a Warm Welcome Space at our Care at Home offices across the South-West. Pop into our offices for a hot drink, soup, and a cake. Mostly importantly, why not call in for a chat? We have 14 offices in total from Southampton to Exeter.

Poverty can compound isolation and loneliness and prevent people from connecting with others. The dark evenings and cold winter months can be challenging for everyone, especially those who feel lonely and isolated, and anyone who can’t afford to keep heat their homes or get enough to eat.

By working together, Warm Welcome and Altogether Care will ensure everyone has somewhere warm and friendly to go. No one should be left to get through winter alone.

Over 14.4 million people live in poverty in the UK and over 7 million people experience chronic loneliness. Let’s work to bring people together.

 

Values Created Our Heritage And Are Building Our Future

Before you can be an organisation that delivers care, you have to be one that cares about each individual who uses our services and those who help deliver them. 

That core value inspired our foundation 35 years ago and still drives us today.

Altogether Care is a family-owned business, just like it was when we started. When Brian and Margaret opened our first care home their priority was to treat people who use our services and those who help deliver them as you would a member of your own family. 

Like all good families the business is built on the principles of listening, caring and mutual respect.

We Look After The People Who Look After You

The experience of people who use our services is determined by the skill and dedication of the staff members who care for them. The better we look after them the better they can look after you. 

We aim to recruit people who share our values and then encourage them to stay with us to develop their capabilities and careers. They can then provide a better standard of service for our residents and those who prefer to be cared for in their own homes. 

Keeping The Caring Ethos Alive

Continuity is vital. The management board that runs the company today continues that tradition and family ethos. Around three quarters of our senior managers are people who built their careers within Altogether Care. 

From a single care home, the group has grown substantially. We now have two larger homes catering for a wide range of care needs and offer care at home and live-in care across Dorset, Devon, South Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire

We continue to grow and develop but the values we live by will never change.

Stay Warm This Winter While Keeping Energy Bills Under Control

Keeping warm in the winter months is vital for your physical health and mental wellbeing. This can seem harder to do when energy bills are at an all-time high. But there are ways to stay warm and comfortable without cranking up the central heating. 

The first area to look at is your home and whether there are any draughts from poorly fitting windows or doors. Often, fitting draught excluder strips is a cheap and easy way to help keep warm air in and cold air out.  

Single glazed windows, or even older double glazed windows can transfer a lot of heat. Putting up heavier thermal curtains can make a significant difference. 

Fuel Yourself 

Our bodies are pretty effective heating systems. Like any heating system they need fuel. Eating properly, with at least one hot meal each day is essential. Regular hot drinks will also help keep you feeling warm. A care at home service can help out with daily hot meals if it feels a bit of a struggle. 

Keeping that heat in with warm clothes and slippers or thick socks is obviously a good idea. It also helps to keep on the move as much as possible as this will convert some of the calories you’ve eaten into heat. So stand up, walk around and do a few stretches if you’re able. 

Warm Yourself, Not the Room 

There are plenty of electrically heated clothes on the market such as socks and waistcoats. These can be highly effective at keeping you warm without turning on the heating. Similarly, modern electric blankets don’t cost a fortune to run. 

Efficient Heating 

While it’s possible to keep warm without turning on the heating at all, it’s not necessarily a great idea. Unheated homes can suffer from damp and poor air quality, which can cause mould and respiratory problems. But you can concentrate the heat where it’s needed by turning down radiators in rooms you don’t use.  

The flow temperatures on gas boilers are often set too high. If you have a combination gas boiler, turning the flow temperature down to about 600 will ensure it runs more efficiently. 

If you have any questions about care at home or any other service  give Altogether Care a call, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk. We’ll be happy to answer any questions. 

Live-In Care Designed Around Your Life

Flexible, personalised care plans are designed to always ensure you receive the right level of care and are adapted as your needs change. Take a look at the level of live-in care options with Altogether Care in our infographic below:

Here’s What You Need to Know About Live-In Care

For many people, live-in care offers the best of everything. There are so many benefits of people remaining in their own home, where they are surrounded by a familiar environment, their own possessions and staying in a community where they feel they belong. Choosing Live-in care ensures  there’s somebody on hand for companionship and to help out with those tasks they find challenging.

When people opt for live-in care they often tell us they wish they’d done it sooner. What held them back was a concern about loss of their privacy or independence. They also assumed that their normal routine of life would be upended and their social life would suffer.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As with all care services offered by Altogether Care – you’re in charge. The service adapts to you,  and not the other way round.

Live-In Care – How it Works

First, there will be a conversation between you and your live-in carer about how you want the service to work. You’ll have a personal care plan designed to meet your choices, needs, and wishes.

Your preferences for activities, eating times, meals and hobbies, care routines and your medication needs all go into the plan. There shouldn’t be any disruption to your established routines and way of life. It’s just that somebody is on hand to make it all easier for you.

As your needs change your care plan will be updated. Your live-in carer will offer help when you need it but won’t interfere with any aspect of your life that you don’t want them to.

Our Good CQC rating offers reassurance of the quality of care provided. Here’s what a couple of our live-in care clients had to say:

“Clearly experienced and well trained in all aspects of care. She immediately and competently took on the new tasks as my mother’s health deteriorated, this included: using the hoist, using tools to help move my mother in bed, administering drugs etc.”

“We just wanted to say in passing that Mariana is the best carer our loved one has had from Altogether Care- so caring and sensitive to her changing needs. The duty doctor, who visited  last week, said likewise. We hope that Mariana will be able to stay for her lifetime, subject to holidays.”

Levels of Care

You can choose from three basic levels of care and each will be fine-tuned to suit your needs:

  • Level 1 is mainly for companionship and general support to live independently.
  • Level 2 offers greater assistance with daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or help with mild physical disability or dementia.
  • Level 3 offers support for people suffering from a significant physical disability, dementia or other medical conditions that need sensitive and more intensive life care.

There’s also the option of night cover; sleeping or waking night  care.

If you’ve considered live-in care, but not yet done anything about it, give Altogether Care a call, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk. We’ll be happy to answer any questions.

How to Delay the Onset of Dementia – Alzheimer’s Month 2023

Dementia is increasingly something more people are having to learn how to live with, affecting individuals and caregivers alike. The theme of Alzheimer’s Month 2023 attempts to underline the notion that dementia doesn’t necessarily have to be an inevitable consequence of ageing.

The ‘Never too early, never too late‘ campaign aims to make us all more aware of factors that increase our risk so we can take steps to delay the onset of dementia. By being aware of these factors, individuals can take proactive measures to postpone the onset of dementia and potentially mitigate its occurrence.

Risk reduction strategies apply to us all, including people who’ve already received a diagnosis.

Dementia Risk Factors

Common factors that increase the risk of dementia include: a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of social interactions, obesity and high blood pressure. It’s evident that many of these factors are interlinked. Click here to find out more about the research behind dementia risk factors and prevention methods.

An active social life, physical exercise and a good diet are the building blocks of good mental and physical well-being. Altogether Care puts a lot of emphasis on these factors in all of our care homes, and not just for people receiving specialist dementia care.

Find out more about Dementia Care in our Care Homes.

There have been two new drugs in the last year that appear to slow down memory and thinking decline in people living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Results released in July 2023 for one of the drugs, Donanemab, showed that it works better the earlier it is given.

Today is the Best Time to Change how You Live

One major point behind the campaign is that whatever lifestyle you’ve lived up till now, you can still make a change to a healthier way of living. It could make a significant difference to your risk of developing severe Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

And if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with dementia, there’s plenty you can do, whether you opt for residential care or care in your own home.

At Altogether Care, we view residential dementia care as a way of providing people with an environment where they are supported to be more active, engaged and healthy. It’s about delaying the onset of symptoms, not solely managing them.

If you’d like to talk to someone about Alzheimer’s or dementia care, give Altogether Care a call, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Discover Compassionate Care at Altogether Care Salisbury

Amid the clearing rain, a new chapter began with the grand opening of Altogether Care’s Salisbury branch on August 18, 2023. This milestone marked a significant step in delivering high-quality domiciliary care with a focus on compassion, showcasing our dedication to supporting individuals and families in need.

Seasoned professional Debbie Sheldon assumed the role of Registered Manager for the Salisbury branch, relocating from our previous Salisbury location. This transition signifies more than just a new address; it’s a strategic move to a larger, revitalized office space. Our central location at 62 St Edmunds Church Street, SP1 1EF, enhances accessibility for the community.

The road to our newly renovated office space was a journey guided by Karla Jordan, our regional Support Manager, who oversaw the transformation from near dilapidation to a shining example of refurbished excellence in Salisbury. The new branch embraces the family values upheld by Altogether Care, signifying a comprehensive approach to care. Living accommodations for international employees foster inclusivity and camaraderie, while a dedicated training room reflects our commitment to continuous growth and learning for our care staff.

Dignitaries including: The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Salisbury, Mr Atiqul Hoque, and The Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Dame Elizabeth Neville, graced the grand opening. A symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the occasion, followed by refreshments that celebrated unity and shared purpose.

Debbie Sheldon, the driving force behind the Salisbury branch, expressed her delight in the community’s response. Neighbours and staff joined in the celebration, underlining the strong bonds nurtured by Altogether Care over our 35-year legacy as local care providers. CEO Stephen Knell, along with co-founders Brian and Margaret Westlake, joined Debbie to mark this significant moment.

Altogether Care’s legacy of excellence shines through our consistently ‘Good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for our Salisbury care at home services. This accolade underscores our commitment to providing exceptional care and support, tailored to the diverse needs of our community, including domiciliary care, live-in arrangements, and waking nights.

Choosing professionals for your care needs offers more than quality support; it gives you the freedom to cherish moments with loved ones. With a focus on expertise, Altogether Care ensures that you and your family can find peace in the knowledge that your well-being is in expert hands.

For those seeking guidance, our compassionate team is just a call away at 01722 442525. As local care providers, our dedication to personalised care is unwavering. A free home care assessment is available, designed to cater to your unique circumstances, strengths, needs, and wishes.

The grand opening of Altogether Care’s Salisbury branch isn’t just an event; it’s a pledge to provide compassionate care within the local community. With Debbie Sheldon’s leadership and a dedicated team by her side, Altogether Care Salisbury embodies a future where care is both personal and comprehensive. Step into a world where compassion meets expertise – step into Altogether Care Salisbury!

Finding the Right Care at Home Service for You

Our care at home team want to make life as easy as possible for you in the comfort of your own home. Altogether Care’s care at home services include a range of specialist options to offer you more choice such as: Personal Care, Practical Support, Learning Disability Care, Respite Care and plenty more.

Take a look at our infographic below to find out more on our care at home options:

For questions about our care at home services contact us today on contact@altogethercare.co.uk call 01305 300 161 or visit altogethercare.co.uk/care-at-home for more information.

Respite Care – Because Carers Also Need to Care for Themselves

Being a carer is an immense privilege and an opportunity to show genuine care and support to someone dear to you. However, it’s important to acknowledge that juggling multiple responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming. Thankfully, there are ways to alleviate the strain and ensure your own well-being.

Respite care offers a valuable solution without the need for prolonged separation or residential arrangements. Opting for a care at home service allows you to enjoy occasional breaks, whether it’s a day off or an evening of relaxation. It gives you time to take a break to recharge the batteries while ensuring your loved one receives the care they need.

Respite care doesn’t have to be residential and doesn’t have to be for an extended period. Day centres and local activity groups might also allow you to take a bit of time off from caring.

Summer is the time when most of us look forward to getting away for a holiday. There’s no reason why carers can’t enjoy a week or two in the sun. You probably deserve it.

Perhaps you could consider the possibility of a brief duration of respite care within a care home as an alternative option. This arrangement can prove beneficial for all involved. It provides your loved one with a chance to experience a different environment and take advantage of the companionship and social engagements available in our care homes.

Taking time for yourself and returning refreshed helps reenergise you as a carer, making the responsibilities of caregiving feel lighter and less burdensome. It is a crucial investment in your own well-being and the well-being of those you care for.

Paying for Respite Care

In some cases you might get financial help from the council towards the cost of respite care. This depends on the care needs assessment and means testing.

If you receive carer’s allowance, you can normally take a break of up to four weeks in any six month period without it affecting your entitlement.

The most important thing is to remember to take care of yourself. Your health and wellbeing are also important and you deserve a break as much as anyone else.

If you’d like to discuss your respite care options, give Altogether Care a call, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Experience the Joy of the Outdoors: Steepleton Manor Care Home Residents Embrace the Benefits of Getting Out Together in the Fresh Air

Residents from Steepleton Manor Care Home had a wonderful day out. They went on a special adventure with the help and support of an amazing local charity – Cycling Without Age in Weymouth. They rode together in a trishaw bike to enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having and the fresh air.

Lisa Mathews, our activities coordinator, joined the residents on their exciting 14-mile journey. Volunteers from Cycling Without Age made sure that each resident had a chance to enjoy this invigorating experience as they felt the wind in their hair and a sense of freedom during the ride.

The experience started by the beautiful seafront in Weymouth, passing along the seafront and the busy harbour then following the Rodwell trail to Ferrybridge. The residents had the chance to see the beauty of nature and enjoy the peaceful sights and sounds around us.

We cycled through Radipole Park and eventually returned to where we started at Lodmoor. The residents’ smiles showed how much they had connected with the world around them and experienced the simple joys that we often overlook, like the sounds of nature and the sight of flowers. It was clear that getting out in the fresh air had a profound impact on them. They slept well that night.

This inspiring story reminds us that everyone deserves the chance to enjoy the outdoors, regardless of their age or circumstances. Exercise and fresh air are beneficial for everyone, enriching lives and creating a stronger sense of community.

Getting together really supported individuals to feel part of a group, and combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation.

So, let’s ask someone to step outside with us, take a deep breath, and embrace the many benefits that nature offers and feel more fulfilled and less lonely.

Moving On From Loneliness

Loneliness is definitely something that many people experience in later life. Perhaps a partner has passed away and other family members live too far away to visit often. Reduced mobility can also make it harder to get out and meet people and socialise.

One of the hardest things about loneliness can be talking about it. Loneliness Awareness Week aims to change that. In 2023 the week will run between June 12-18 and is being organised by the wonderful Marmalade Trust.

What is Loneliness?

The Marmalade Trust defines loneliness as a mismatch between the level of social contact we have and the level we’d like to have. There’s a strong personal element as some people need company more than others.

Acknowledging that you feel lonely is the first step towards doing something about it. This is actually true for a whole range of care and support needs. Removing the stigma is essential if we want people to open up about their feelings. Being lonely is often down to circumstances – and circumstances can be changed.

Explore Your Options

Loneliness isn’t inevitable in later life. 

There are many options that would allow you or someone you know to lead a more active social life.

When we talk about care needs it’s easy to assume that we mean someone who is struggling to look after themselves or has a medical condition. We define a care need as anything that stops you enjoying the most fulfilling life possible. Loneliness and lack of social contact definitely fall into this definition.

In the case of loneliness, a care at home service can offer daily conversation and companionship. Care at home can also help get you to social activities and identify groups you can join.

A simple conversation can lead to a big change and a more engaged life. Give Altogether Care a call on 01305 300 161, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Altogether Care Bridport Branch Shines a Light on Mental Health and Dementia Awareness Week

Altogether Care Bridport branch is making waves with their proactive team and trained Mental Health First Aider (MHFA). Their recent initiative aimed to recognise and support Mental Health and Dementia national Awareness Week, and the results were nothing short of inspiring.

To demonstrate their unwavering support and raise funds for these important causes, the team organised an enjoyable bake sale. Perfectly coinciding with the national bake day, this event was a testament to their dedication and compassion. Leading the charge was Sheelagh, whose role as a Mental Health First Aider and social butterfly made her the ideal candidate to spearhead this event. Registered manager Kellie Gumbrill eagerly enlisted Sheelagh’s expertise, and she embraced the responsibility with enthusiasm.

To ensure the bake sale’s success, the team sought guidance from the Dementia Awareness website, utilising their fundraising pack to decorate the exterior of their Bridport office. The decision to hold the event on a Wednesday, coinciding with Bridport’s bustling market day, ensured maximum participation. Bridport’s market is renowned for its lively atmosphere, attracting a multitude of local market traders and a supportive community. Carers from Altogether Care enthusiastically contributed by making, buying, and donating baked goods. Some even involved their families in the baking process, creating a truly enjoyable experience. The resulting cakes were not only visually appealing but also incredibly delicious.

Kellie has strong connections with her team and nurtures an inclusive culture, recognised the isolation that can be faced by international carers. Angelo is a carer who has come over from Sri Lanka and who has recently moved his wife Sharmila to Bridport, and Sheelagh went above and beyond to show kindness and compassion to her. Understanding her limited social interactions, Sheelagh extended a warm invitation to Sharmila, providing her with an opportunity to engage with others and lend a helping hand at the bake sale.

The pictures captured during the event tell the tale of an overwhelming success. Sheelagh, as an MHFA, interacted with numerous local individuals who were captivated by their stall and the treats on offer. This fostered open communication, with many feeling comfortable enough to share personal stories about their experiences with dementia and mental health. Such genuine interactions perfectly align with Altogether Care’s main objective of encouraging open conversations, showing kindness and care, and raising much-needed funds.

In the end, the team accomplished a remarkable £110.38 for these worthy causes. Equally important, they significantly raised Altogether Care’s profile and showcased its family-based values within the community. Congratulations to everyone involved in this remarkable achievement!

By championing Mental Health and Dementia national Awareness Week, Altogether Care Bridport branch has left an indelible mark on the community, offering hope, support, and a delicious way to make a difference. If you’re ever in need of someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to drop by for a cup of coffee and a chat – we’re always here and happy to help.

Honouring Our Diverse Workforce Through Food

Food is one of the things that unite us all, no matter where we come from or what we do. It is a universal language that speaks to our senses and our souls. That’s why, at Altogether Care, we celebrate our diverse workforce through food.

Recently, we had the pleasure of sharing a meal with Jinson Jose, one of our mental health first aiders based in Sherbourne House, Yeovil. Jinson comes from South India and has made his home in Yeovil, where he enjoys cooking dishes that remind him of home.

Jinson’s favourite dish is Fish Molly, a creamy curry that’s packed with protein and bursting with flavour. It’s a classic South Indian dish that’s not as well-known in the UK, where North Indian cuisine is more popular.

During our meal, Jinson shared his passion for cooking and how he loves to cook with his family back in India. He’s brought that tradition to Yeovil and shares his love of cooking with his colleagues at Altogether Care.

The smell of fresh ginger, garlic, peppercorns and turmeric filled the air as Jibin, our resident chef at Yeovil care home, prepared the Fish Molly in the kitchen. Colleagues from the care home couldn’t resist the aroma and came to join us for a taste.

Jinson shared that many of the ingredients used are grown locally in his home town in South India and food and spices such as peppercorns are picked fresh and dried outside in the sunshine.

It was heart-warming to see how food can bring people together, even in the workplace. We captured some photos to share our experience with you.

If you’d like to try making Fish Molly at home, we’ve included the recipe and instructions below. It’s a tasty, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare dish that’s sure to become a new favourite in your household.

We believe that celebrating our diverse workforce through food is a great way to promote inclusivity and respect for different cultures. We encourage everyone to embrace the richness of our differences and come together over a shared love of food.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams fish fillets (any firm white fish like kingfish, salmon, tilapia, or cod)
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thin coconut milk (optional)
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 2 green chilies, split lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper /powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil (preferably coconut oil)
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

For tempering (optional):

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • Curry leaves

Instructions:

1.            Clean the fish fillets and cut them into medium-sized pieces. Marinate the fish pieces with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Keep them aside for 10-15 minutes.

2.            Heat oil in a deep pan or kadai over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.

3.            Add the sliced onions and green chilies. Cook until the onions turn golden brown.

4.            Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute until the raw smell disappears.

5.            Lower the heat and add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and black pepper powder. Mix well and cook for a minute.

6.            Pour in the thin coconut milk (optional) and bring it to a gentle boil. Add salt to taste.

7.            Carefully add the marinated fish pieces to the pan. Gently stir to coat the fish with the spice mixture. Be careful not to break the fish pieces.

8.            Cover the pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Be sure not to overcook the fish.

9.            Once the fish is cooked, pour in the thick coconut milk and give it a gentle stir. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on low heat.

10.          In a separate small pan, heat coconut oil for tempering (optional). Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add dry red chilies and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds until the leaves turn crispy. Pour this tempering over the fish curry.

11.          Remove from heat and garnish with some fresh curry leaves.

Your Fish Molly is ready to be served! Serve it hot with steamed rice, appam (rice pancakes) or bread. Enjoy your meal!

Salisbury Domiciliary Care Branch Celebrates the King’s Coronation!

We are delighted to report that our Salisbury domiciliary care branch recently held a wonderful coronation celebration at Archers Court, the home of some of our private clients.

The attendees included Joyce Skinner, Sharon Fletcher, June Watts and Pamela Light, and our own FCS Sarah Davies and Registered manager Debbie Sheldon were there to help celebrate the occasion.

We all donned our finest red, white and blue Union flag hats in honour of the occasion and decorated the room with royal bunting, adding to the celebratory atmosphere. We also prepared cupcakes decorated with coronation flags and made coffee and tea for our clients. Sharon and June were especially proud of us, expressing their delight at how amazing and caring we all are.

The residents were so impressed, they have asked us to come back for another coffee morning!

It was a truly heart-warming experience to witness such a celebration of the coronation of King Charles, and it was a pleasure to make our clients feel special. We feel privileged to have been a part of this special event and look forward to more events like this in the future!

How do You Know when Dementia Care is Needed?

As we get older it’s not unusual to become a little less sharp mentally or even a bit forgetful.

At what point should you become concerned that a loved one is developing dementia and might need specialist care? And if care is needed, what should you look for?

Every individual is different. We all have our own views and attitudes about residential care. And in every case there are different levels of support available from family members and friends. This makes it more or less impossible to set a universal benchmark for when somebody will need specialist residential dementia care.

When Should You be Concerned?

Concerns usually arise when dementia starts affecting everyday life. For example, a relative finds it difficult to complete familiar tasks like cooking or washing, gets confused about time and place or persistently misplaces items by leaving them in illogical places.

None of these automatically mean it’s time for specialist residential care. But it does mean there are care needs that need to be properly assessed. This will give you and your relative a clearer picture of the care options available.

Each case is different and everyone should, as far as is possible, make their own decisions about the care they need. The situation is more acute and sensitive if somebody can no longer care for themselves or live safely in their own home.

Choosing a Dementia Care Home

If residential dementia care is the best option, your local council will give you a list of suitable homes. Checking

online reviews and CQC inspection reports is a helpful place to start but won’t necessarily tell you what will be the best choice for a particular person.

We could give you a list of objective criteria to help you choose a home, but sometimes it comes down to the home that ‘feels right’. This could be about the standard of the accommodation and the range of activities on offer.

Or, it might just be about the staff and how interested they seem in learning about your relative (their personal history, likes and dislikes, for example) and meeting their individual needs.

Visit the homes on the shortlist, take as long as you need to make the right decision, and involve your relative as much as possible.

Dementia Care at Sherborne House

Sherborne House in Yeovil specialises in dementia care. The care we offer is professional and compassionate and very much centred around the needs of each individual. Our team aims to balance care and personal safety with wellbeing, independence and quality of life.

If you’d like to discuss dementia care needs in general or take a look around Sherborne House please get in touch.

What Next for Care Costs?

Many people worry about the potential cost of personal care as they get older. Some are concerned that paying for the care they need will eat away their savings and assets and leave nothing to pass on to their children. Others worry whether they’ll be able to afford care costs at all.

While there are very real issues around the cost of care, sometimes the future isn’t as bleak as people assume. This quick summary of care cost funding will make sure you have accurate, up-to-date information for your financial planning.

Care Cost Cap

Before diving into the details we should look at the care cost cap that is scheduled to come into force in October 2023. The cap aims to ensure that no individual will pay more than £86,000 for personal care (either residential or care at home) during their lifetime.

A couple of points to note. Care costs incurred before the cap is introduced won’t count towards the total. Also, the cap doesn’t apply to the accommodation element of care home fees.

Care Needs Assessment

The process starts with a care needs assessment carried out by your local council. This is a formal statement of the personal care you need. Care not included in your assessment probably won’t be included in the care cost cap.

Means Testing

The financial support you get will be affected by your income, savings and other financial assets. Your property is included in the calculation only if you are going into residential care, and only then if you don’t have a spouse or dependent relative still living in your home. It may be possible to enter into an agreement with your local authority so that they recover your care costs from your estate after you die.

If you have capital worth more than £23,250 you will be expected to pay for all of your care costs (the upper capital limit). If your capital adds up to less than £14,250 the council will pay for your care costs. Between these two figures there’s a sliding scale for your contribution.

It’s planned for the upper capital limit to increase to £100,000 in 2025.

Hopefully this has helped to clarify the situation. If you have any questions about funding or any other aspect of care, please call Altogether Care on 01305 300 161, email contact@altogethercare.co.uk, visit our website or use our care calculator.

Steepleton Manor Care Home Celebrates Valentine’s Day

Steepleton Manor’s 2023 Valentine’s Day was absolutely full of love and fun was had by all in attendance.

The residents and staff spent some time working on arts and crafts to create some things for display and to gift to one another. They decorated the activity room with hearts made out of red tissue papers and pink card and wrapping paper that had all been laminated to last.

One of our residents made a card for her husband who has dementia, who was delighted to receive a homemade card from his wife as he hadn’t received one in a long time. It was a special moment as he recognised what the card his wife had made was and what it was for on such a special day. Another resident also made a card for his partner who came to visit that day. She was also very happy receiving a Valentine’s Day card from someone so special.

The residents enjoyed a chocolate fountain with plenty of skewers of fruit, marshmallows, biscuits, and small pieces of cake. The residents particularly enjoyed getting hands on with the task by helping staff to break up all the chocolate. Plenty of mess was made and fun was had by all.

The day ended with everyone in high spirits and delighted to have had such an action packed day of love and chocolate.

Some recent day to day activities