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Maintaining Health and Wellbeing: Why Care at Home May Be the Best Option

There is sometimes an assumption that having significant care needs automatically means residential care. But that needn’t be the case. There are plenty of options for receiving the care you need in your own home. For many people, care at home can even help them stay healthier for longer.

Good health and mental wellbeing are closely linked. And sometimes wellbeing comes from familiar surroundings and familiar routines. This can be particularly important for people with dementia. Being independent also helps people to feel more active and engaged, which also helps to keep them healthier for longer.

Living on Your Own

If you have a spouse, partner or family member living with you, staying in your home is easier. But even if you find yourself living alone it doesn’t mean that residential care is your only choice.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, people with dementia, ‘often feel happier if they can remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible.’ They list a few important factors for continuing to live contentedly in your own home:

  • Have a good support network of family, friends and care professionals.
  • Keep up with social activities and pastimes.
  • Make a point of calling people regularly and consider using a video calling service such as Skype.
  • Investigate local befriending groups.
  • Consider online forums and support groups if you don’t have friends or family you can talk to regularly.

The other important aspect of continuing to live a healthier and happier life in your own home is to find the right home care provider. Even if you need around the clock care to carry on living at home, it is possible to arrange this through a live-in care service. For many more people, it’s likely to be finding help with simpler tasks such as washing, dressing and housework.

Whatever the level of support you need, you should always be able to live at home if it’s where you feel happier and more independent. Talk to the team at Altogether Care and we’ll help you find the home care solution that works best for you. Contact 01305 206140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information.

Caring for a Loved One: How to Lift & Handle Safely and Properly

Being a caregiver is a demanding task. It is likely to be a role that you never asked for and maybe one that you never expected to have. It can be thankless, and it can sometimes feel like you are on your own.

Fortunately, there is help and support available from organisations such as Carers UK where you can find advice, guidance and online forums so you can share experiences and learn from other people in a similar situation.

As a family-run and socially responsible care business, Altogether Care also likes to support unpaid caregivers where we can with advice and occasional training courses.

Moving and Handling

One of the trickiest aspects of caregiving can be when you need to help somebody with restricted movement. Moving and handling comes with the risk of personal injury if you don’t do it correctly. You must also keep the dignity and self-respect of the person being moved in mind. Safe moving and handling are important aspects of the training that all our care staff go through.

Free Training Course

To help, we are offering free training to caregivers on how to move people safely. You’ll be provided with a certificate upon completing the course. It will take on Wednesday 18th March at 2pm and Thursday 26th March at 2pm.

The courses will be held at 13 Carlton Road North, Weymouth, DT4 7PY.

Booking is essential to secure your place. Please email ellief@altogethercare.co.uk or call 07881 802196 to book.

We’ll also give you free tea, coffee and cake. As well as the training you’ll have the chance to meet and talk to other caregivers.

Top Tips

If you can’t make the training here are a few moving and handling tips that will help:

  • Take account of the weight of the person. If you don’t think you’re strong enough don’t attempt it on your own.
  • Always get somebody to help if you can.
  • Make sure there are no obstacles or ‘slip and trip’ hazards.
  • Never lift above shoulder height
  • Space your feet to give you a firm and stable base.
  • Have a firm hold and keep any weight close to your body
  • Lift from the knees keeping your back straight
  • Lift as smoothly as possible

Obviously, it’s better to be shown how to do this than read about it. So, if you can, please come along to our free training session. We look forward to seeing you.

For more information, please contact us on 01305 206140 or email contact@altogothercare.co.uk

Christmas at Sherborne House & Santa’s Little Helpers

Last week, the staff at Sherborne House put their Christmas suits on and dressed as Elves to raise money for individuals affected by Dementia.

Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, which is set to increase to over one million by 2025. We take great pride in providing the best possible quality of care for some of those people affected, ensuring that their environment is comfortable and accommodating to their needs.

This Christmas, the staff at Sherborne House are raising money with a raffle to contribute to the residents’ fund. Read more about our Dementia Care here.

Sherborne House Christmas Stockings

Apetito – Food and Drink for People With Dementia

Apetito has been established since 1928; they employ their own in-house dietitian and registered nutritionist to create and ensure that all meals are not only delicious but that they also meet the nutritional standards required by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), the National Association of Care Catering and the Hospital Food Standards Panel. In 2016, Apetito won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for the second time for our texture-modified meals for people who have difficulty swallowing or chewing.

Altogether Care recognises that good nutrition and providing an enjoyable dining experience are central to promoting good health and well-being among our residents, values we hold dear at Sherborne House.

In September, Sherborne House held a food tasting afternoon delivered by Apetito. The afternoon was a resounding success with residents, family members and staff enjoying an array of mouth-watering dishes; with cleared plates all round.

Following on from this successful afternoon with everyone having the opportunity to fire questions fielded by a team of staff from Apetito; the question was asked whether Sherborne House should adopt Apetito? The decision by all was a resounding yes.

So, what does this mean for our residents?

We can now offer our residents a choice of over 200 delicious meals and desserts, so there’s something for everyone, with a wide range of meals tailored to every taste, dietary and cultural requirement.

For residents who have dementia, we acknowledge that the enjoyment of their meal starts with the eyes, with every mealtime a highly sensory experience, the visual aspect is essential.

We wanted to make a difference for all of our residents but  faced our biggest challenge was the presentation and taste of our texture modified meals for residents with swallowing difficulties. Typically, these meals were shapeless, somewhat tasteless, not to mention visually unpalatable. We are now delighted that the meals we now provide are visually appealing; with clean plates all around proving the success of the new recognisable shaped foods.

Most importantly, using Apetito means that all of our meals meet Care Quality Commission (CQC) and National Association of Care Catering (NACC) standards and are in line with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) guidelines. The meals carry the optimal nutritional value, all while catering for dietary requirements and conditions such as dysphagia.

Joy for All Companion Pets at Sherborne House

Sherborne House residents welcomed a new addition to the home earlier this month – a Joy for All Companion Pet Cat.

Joy has certainly been a big hit with the residents. Many of them spend hours talking and interacting with her.

Joy is a wonderful robotic stuffed toy cat that is lifelike and engaging, as well as being cute and cuddly. Being battery-powered means that Joy can act and move like real cat when petted or hugged.

Research has linked animal assisted therapy to improvements in mood and quality of life for elderly people, especially those with dementia, for quite some time now. However, the research jury is still out on whether robotic pets are as effective as their flesh-and-blood counterparts. Nevertheless, having a few in Sherborne House has certainly had a positive effect on residents and their relatives during their visits.

A Society Learning to Live with Dementia

Until somebody develops effective treatments to prevent or control dementia it is going to be an increasing fact of life for many of us. Not just for the estimated one million plus people who are expected to develop the condition in the UK by 2025, but also the many more people who will be affected as family, friends and carers.

There’s little doubt that the general population would benefit by understanding more about dementia. This can only help take away some of the fear and stigma that unfortunately still surround the condition. It can also help us to build a society and environment that are more dementia friendly.

One thing people often get confused about is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. Technically, dementia is a syndrome. That means a group of symptoms that don’t necessarily have the same cause. In the case of dementia, the symptoms relate to reduced ability in areas such as memory and reasoning. Different people experience dementia in different ways.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. It is believed to account for between 50 and 70 percent of cases. Although recent research suggests that many people thought to have Alzheimer’s may, in fact, have a newly discovered type of dementia-related illness called limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or Late.

Dementia can also result from other conditions such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, and can be caused by strokes, vascular diseases, depression and chronic drug use.

Understanding Dementia

In many practical ways, the exact cause is less important than understanding how dementia can affect people’s ability to relate to the world and people around them, how it might affect their behaviour, and how best to make life for people with dementia more inclusive and less stressful. This can only come from greater knowledge and being more comfortable about discussing the issues that surround dementia.

Care homes that specialise in dementia care, such as Sherborne House in Dorset, will clearly have a greater role to play as the population ages and more people are affected. But we all have a part to play by being more understanding about a condition that a significant number of us will be affected by – directly or indirectly.

How to Spot the Early Signs & Symptoms of Dementia

By 2025, it is estimated that there will be more than 1m people in the UK with dementia. The quality of life of these people will depend to a large extent on how early they are diagnosed. Yet, very few of us are clear about what to look for.

According to the NHS website, possible early signs of dementia include:

  • memory loss
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty with familiar daily tasks, such as confusion over the correct change when shopping
  • struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • being confused about time and place
  • mood changes

Where one or more of these symptoms occur at a level that doesn’t significantly affect everyday life it is called minor cognitive impairment. Sometimes the symptoms don’t get significantly worse for a long time, but sometimes they are an early indicator of dementia.

Cognitive impairment isn’t (as many people believe) ‘all part of getting old.’ If symptoms are observed, it’s essential to get a proper diagnosis as quickly as possible.

Alzheimer’s

The largest cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may ask the same question repetitively, become confused in unfamiliar environments or become withdrawn or anxious.

In the longer term it’s possible that there will be a blood test that can quickly diagnose common causes of dementia. Early test results are encouraging and further research is underway.

As a family member or close friend, you are likely to be the first people to notice any signs for concern. It’s important to encourage the person to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.

While the facts can be hard to face, the reality may be less scary than the uncertainty. And it’s always better to know so that appropriate steps can be planned.

In the early stages, dementia symptoms can often be managed. But eventually it may be necessary to receive residential care at a home equipped to deliver dementia care such as Sherborne House in Yeovil.

Putting the Fun Back Into Food for People With Dementia

For people with dementia, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can be difficult. People often feel less like eating for a number of reasons. Food might not taste the same as it used to, or sometimes it can be physically hard to eat because of pain or reduced motor skills and coordination. Depression is also common, meaning that meal times and food lose their appeal.

When communication becomes difficult, the only way to express the fact that food is too hot, too cold, hard to eat, or just doesn’t taste right may be to leave it. And not eating or eating the wrong things could make a condition worse. While there is no conclusive proof, there is a growing body of evidence to say that a healthy diet, low in salt and saturated fats, and high in antioxidants and Omega-3s can help slow the onset of dementia.

Dementia and Nutrition

There are many things that can be done to encourage people with dementia to eat and drink more and the Alzheimer’s Society has some excellent information on its website. We use many of these techniques at Sherborne House, which specialises in dementia care.

Overall, we aim to reconnect people with the enjoyment of food and eating. Partly this is through the design of the eating environment so that mealtimes are calm and as free of distractions as possible. We also encourage residents to engage with their food by preparing healthy sandwiches and fruit salads and by baking cakes. These are fun, social activities that help to associate food with positive emotions and thoughts, rather than being a source of anxiety or conflict.

The positive culture around eating not only stimulates appetites, it helps residents feel more confident and in control of their lives. Discussions about food can also stimulate reminiscence and maintain sensory abilities.

On the one hand eating and drinking can be a challenging aspect of dementia care, but they can also be therapeutic and encourage greater engagement with other people and enjoyment of life.

Why not come and see for yourself what life at Sherborne House is like? Contact us today on 01305 300 161 to arrange a visit.

Dementia Talk at Sherborne House

Members of the public are invited to a talk on dementia at Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil on Thursday 18th January at 6pm.

Teresa Mason from The Alzheimer’s Society will talk about what it means to have dementia and how loved one’s can support family members who may have dementia.

For more information please contact Sherborne House Care Home on 01935 423210.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Sherborne House is part of Altogether Care and provides residential care for those with dementia.

 

Why Sherborne House?

Making the decision to put your loved one into a care home is never going to be easy. There are many things to consider and weigh up before you can even begin looking at potential care homes. How much will it cost, how will we fund it, what care do they require, where is best to be located – and the list goes on. So what makes a care home individual and well catered for your loved one? This is likely to depend on your and their priorities, but having well trained caring staff, located in a homely well equipped environment, with a range of stimulating and life enriching experiences to enjoy – might begin to look like an option for consideration.

Sherborne House was created with residents in mind. Specialising in Dementia with a newly opened dedicated nursing care wing, the home is furnished and decorated for you to feel at home and at ease, but also with Dementia in mind, sensory touches and memory triggers have been incorporated that research has shown really benefits the cognitive process. Sherborne House is uniquely set-up to provide the highest standard of physical, emotional and mental care available with a sensitive and supporting approach – never patronising, but always encouraging.

Keeping your loved one stimulated and continuing to provide life enriching experiences are also a priority for Sherborne House.  A daily activities programme is designed around our residents, with opportunities to get to know other residents better, activities include mental and physical stimulation – and a change of scenery with seaside trips and visits to places of local interest. Where required, we also call upon various alternative therapies such as; physiotherapy, reflexology Reiki and aromatherapy to complement residents care needs.

At the start of May we opened our new nursing wing at Sherborne House, this features spacious living areas and access to landscaped gardens to enhance resident’s facilities inside and outside.  We are accepting new residents for this wing now.  So why not come and visit us to take a look for yourselves at the facilities Sherborne House has to offer? To arrange a visit please contact us on 01935 423210.

We understand how difficult it can be to organise financing your loved ones care, so to make the process easier we have put together some guidance outlining the current Government arrangements for the assessment process and funding towards care home fees, you can take a look at this guidance here. To find out more about Sherborne House or our other selection of care options please visit our website.

Understanding Dementia Care

Understanding how to care and support a person suffering from Dementia can be a challenge. Dementia is the umbrella term for a wide range of symptoms linked with the decline of memory to a level which then affects a person’s ability to independently function as they once did. The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease but there are also many other forms of dementia which are less common but display similar symptoms and will have similar effects upon the person suffering.

Living with dementia can have a big emotional, social, psychological and practical impact on a person especially as the disease develops. Forgetting short term memories and finding themselves very confused can upset, frustrate and anger someone suffering. In some cases their long term memories will be their strongest and nostalgic environments, pictures and music can be the triggers to open them up.

As the disease develops and the person begins to forget more this can affect:

• Personality
• Confidence
• Social ability
• Independent abilities and skills – at the beginning this could include driving and cooking but as the disease is progressive can develop to feeding themselves and controlling bodily functions

Despite the biggest impact being on the person suffering from this disease, their carer’s, family and friends will also face a huge challenge adapting to support and care. This video portrays one man’s struggles coming to terms with how his wife has changed from suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease. Often families wish to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible, in familiar surroundings, where they can care for them. But as a progressive disease it often comes to a point where professional care is required in the form of a specialist care home.

It can be difficult to choose which care home will be most beneficial to your loved ones care needs. Altogether Care’s specialist dementia care home is Sherborne House. Person-centred care is principle in our philosophy, believing that those living with Dementia who are well supported by a professional team giving them their time and energy are more likely to lead fulfilling lives for longer. Sherborne House has been furnished and decorated with Dementia in mind, incorporating sensory touches and memory triggers that research has shown really benefits the cognitive process. Clinical care is supported with a healthy diet, using fresh ingredients and menus to suit all tastes and requirements and at times we will also call upon various alternative therapies such as; physiotherapy, reflexology Reiki and aroma-therapy to complement clients care needs.

We understand how difficult it can be to entrust a care home with a loved one who you have watched suffer from the changes of Dementia which is why we offer you to spend the day with us to really get a feel for our homes.

To find out more about the tailored care that we can offer you, get in touch 01305 300 161.

Some recent day to day activities