Caring for those with Alzheimer’s

By 5th September, 2019 Care No Comments

This month is Alzheimer’s awareness month, so we will focus on this on our blog, offering a little advice for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Living with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia has a big emotional, social and practical impact on a person and those around them. The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is down to more than just having the condition. The relationships that person has, their environment and the support they receive shapes a person’s experience. Therefore if you are able to recognise this and be as supportive as possible, this will help the person living with Alzheimer’s.

You can help this person to feel valued and included, but this support needs to be sensitive to the person as an individual and focus on promoting wellbeing. This is what we try to achieve at Grosvenor Lodge. Our focus really is on person-centred care – treating the person as an individual and finding a care plan that suits their needs and interests. Each person is unique with their own life history, personality, likes and dislikes. At Grosvenor Lodge we get to know each of our residents before and when they move in to make the transition as easy as possible and so that they feel we are a home from home.

Although dementia affects people differently, there are a few things to consider when caring for your loved one which focus on reducing the frustrations for both of you:

  • Schedule: Establish a daily routine. Some tasks are easier when the person is most alert and refreshed, so plan tasks and appointments around those times where possible and be flexible to adapt to the person each day – if they are having a bad day – rearrange plans as much as possible
  • Time: Understand that tasks may take more time than they used to so allow more time, so you don’t feel rushed which could cause frustration.
  • Involve: Allow the person with dementia to do as much possible without always stepping to do everything for them. Could they dress themselves if you laid the clothes out on the bed in the right order?
  • Choice: Allow choice without overwhelming. Perhaps offer a choice between two items. For example ask if they would prefer to go for a walk or watch TV.
  • Instruction: Keep instructions simple. People with dementia prefer clear, one-step communication.
  • Distraction: Minimise distractions such as the TV at mealtime and during conversations to help your loved one focus.

There may reach a time when it is no longer safe for your loved one to live independently, and this is a tough time for you both, however we will support you both through this transition, getting to know you and understand your loved one’s personality and what they enjoy. We get our residents involved in the running of the care home as much as possible involving them in the weekly shopping choices, gardening, setting the table, pairing socks – whatever they would like to be involved in! We also have more elaborate entertainment, like when Elvis came to visit, to grant one resident’s wish.

We also have outings for those who are able, and tailor these to the individual, whether that’s a cup of tea by the sea, a spot of shopping or a trip to the local DIY shop. All our residents are different and enjoy different activities and we hope that if you visit you will see that our care is truly person-centred.

Make a Wish and We Make it Happen

By 14th August, 2019 Care Home No Comments

We are delighted to announce our very own “Make a Wish” programme. We are inviting residents to put forward things that they have always wanted to do and we are going to make it happen!

 

We pride ourselves on our person-centred care and this is just one more way we are helping to cater for our residents’ needs and interests as individuals. Alongside this we are also adding an Alexa in each room with personal playlists of music and books, we arrange outings to appeal to individual hobbies and interests, and we try to involve residents in decisions about the home, like our cheese and wine night where residents voted on which cheeses they would like to be served in the home going forward.

 

We are continually looking for new ways to improve the home and are excited about the launch of our “Make a Wish” programme. This will give our residents the opportunity to think about things they would like to do and see and then for the home to help make them happen.

 

The first “wish” from one resident was to see Elvis, so we booked an Elvis impersonator to come to the care home and perform for all the residents. It was a roaring success, the residents enjoyed a dance and a sing-a-long and Peter was over the moon that we had made his wish come true saying, “it might not have been the real Elvis, but you never would have known, it was great to see Elvis from the comfort of my armchair!”

 

The second wish from another resident was to have a Doberman visit the home, this has always been his favourite breed of dog. We have pet pals visit the home each month, however they have never brought a Doberman, so we are now looking for one to make this resident’s wish come true.

 

We wanted to give the residents as much choice as possible over their activities and entertainment programme, and we love the idea of making some wishes come true. It has been well received by residents and carers alike and we are looking forward to making as many wishes as possible come true over the coming months.

 

In the pipeline we have wishes to go to Australia, to meet the Queen and to dance in the rain. Some of them more difficult than others, but if the resident can’t go to Australia, we will bring Australia to the home with Aussie BBQ, didgeridoo playing, and the carers putting on their best Aussie accents “G’day Mate”!

What is person centred care?

By 17th July, 2019 Care, Care Home No Comments

The NHS defines person centred care as a process that is people focused, promotes independence and autonomy, provides choice and control and is based on a collaborative team philosophy. It takes into account people’s needs and views and builds relationships with family members. It recognises that care should be holistic and so includes a spiritual, pastoral and religious dimension. The delivery of person centred care requires both safe and effective care and should result in a good experience for people.  

But what does this really mean?

For us at Grosvenor Lodge, it means we take time to get to know every resident at our care home, before they arrive and while they are living with us. We learn what they like to do, their hobbies, what they used to do for a living, how they like to be cared for. We then use all of this information to put together a care plan and work together with the resident to ensure they are happy with their plan.

But for us it is much more than a care plan, we want our home to be their home, so we try to cater to the individual and what I mean by this, is for example one of our residents is a retired builder, so he loves a trip to B&Q and helping out with any jobs we may have around the home, so we make sure whenever we need to go to the DIY shop he is invited and if we have some jobs that are safe for him to help with we ask for his help. A trip to B&Q isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so it wouldn’t make sense to invite all the residents. We have another resident who loves tennis, so we are trying to arrange a trip to go and watch a match. For those who can’t get out of the home, we try and make their stay as personalised as possible. We are currently in the process of buying Alexa’s for each room and setting them up with each residents’ favourite songs and talking books.

Person centred care is also about involving the residents in decisions about the home, so we have also held cheese and wine nights so they can vote for the cheeses they would like to have in the home, rather than just cheddar. We have also invited residents into the manager’s meetings so they can give feedback on how we are doing and make suggestions on how we can do things better. One suggestion was that the residents would really like their hot meal served on a warm plate, something simple for us to do that would make a big difference to the residents’ enjoyment of mealtimes.

Not everything can be personalised, and so we offer a wide range of activities and entertainment that residents can choose whether they want to be involved or not. There is always a quiet space for relaxing, and watching TV or listening to music and residents are welcome to relax in their rooms if they prefer where they have their own TV and will soon have their own Alexa if they don’t already.

We take pride in our work, and really do want to deliver the best quality of life for our residents. We want living with us to be enjoyable and we want the residents to be happy, so we do everything in our power to make that happen and we feel the best way to achieve this is by treating each resident as an individual and listening to them and what they would like to do! 

Living with Dementia

By 29th May, 2019 Care No Comments

What is dementia?

Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. These conditions are all usually progressive and eventually severe. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

There are over 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and 70% of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.

Dementia can affect all aspects of a person’s life as well as those around them. 

However, it is important to remember that:

  • they are still the same person even though they have problems with memory, concentration and planning
  • everyone experiences dementia differently
  • focusing on the things the person can still do and enjoy will help you both stay positive

Keeping socially active for as long as possible is good for confidence and wellbeing. There are many dementia-friendly activities available, have a look online to see what might be available near you.

In Brighton, for example they run dementia-friendly gardening sessions every Tuesday. Being outdoors in the fresh air amongst nature is amazing therapy for the soul. That’s why our care home gardens are so important. We try to get out in the garden as much as possible, whether it’s for a spot of gardening or for tea and cake.

The same company also organises a monthly dementia-friendly cooking class. The Alzheimer’s Society also runs different sessions to work on maintaining skills.

Here are a few tips to help manage dementia

  • Have a regular routine
  • Put a weekly timetable on the kitchen wall or fridge and schedule activities for when you are at your best
  • Keep your keys in an obvious place
  • Have a list of helpful numbers by the phone
  • Use direct debits for regular bills
  • Use a pill organiser box
  • Make sure your home is safe and dementia-friendly

The way your home is designed and laid out can have a big impact on someone with dementia. 

That’s why we spent time and money investing in our care home’s layout and decor creating colour coded ‘zones to aid orientation. It is also vitally important for us that our residents feel at home, which is why thought, care, and also input from residents themselves has gone into the decoration of each and every one of our 28 bedrooms. Each door is clearly numbered and with consent, photos are attached to aid orientation.

Symptoms of memory loss, confusion and difficulty learning new things can mean someone with dementia may forget where they are, where things are and how things work. We think of ways to help residents live a full and independent life for as long as possible, welcoming visitors whenever they choose and hopefully providing as much of a home-from-home feel as we can.

A Care Team to Write Home About…

By 9th May, 2019 Care Home No Comments

Kennedy, one of our lovely Care Assistants took the time out from her busy day to tell us what life as a care assistant at Fairdene Lodge our sister care home is really all about…

I’ve been working in care for over five years now, it’s something I always wanted to do. Having grown up with a cousin with learning disabilities I enjoyed helping her and playing with her growing up. So much so that I started volunteering at a day centre and that’s where my career in care began. I wanted to work in a role that I found rewarding, and being a care assistant I find really rewarding.

I’ve been at Fairdene since November 2018 and I can say hand on heart this is the best care home I’ve worked at. This is because of the real focus on person centred care (as it is at both our care homes) and the staff are really friendly. As a team we work to give every resident the best possible quality of life and we offer a wide range of activities alongside our care to achieve this. 

We try and offer a mix of physical and mental activities and we are always welcoming people into the home to offer different activities from singers with instruments to get everyone involved to Pet Pals who visit once a month with different animals for the residents to meet and pet. A couple of months ago we had goats at Fairdene – the first time I have ever seen a goat in a care home! The residents loved feeding the goats and the little tickle of the goat eating out of their hands.

But it’s not all about dancing and singing we also use meaningful activities to create a real homely feel. So if residents want to get involved in the cleaning of the home they can – whether that’s sweeping up, helping clear after meals or helping us take in deliveries. All tasks appeal to a different personality, so our ex-builder resident likes to be involved in taking in the deliveries, while our resident who used to work in the boxing industry tells us stories about al the sights and celebrities he’s seen.

No two days are the same at Fairdene Lodge, and when you arrive at the beginning of your shift, you never know what kind of day it might be, but it’s good to know on the more stressful and taxing days that I have such great team support. We all help each other out and we get the chance to reward our fellow team mates with “employee of the month” voted for by us!

I love having a laugh with the residents and hearing everyone’s stories, but what I really love about working at Fairdene Lodge is going home feeling that I have done some good, that I’ve made a difference.

The Unfamiliar Benefits of Drinking Tea

By 7th March, 2019 Care No Comments

Drinking tea is quintessentially British and a big part of daily life in our care home, but have you ever thought about the benefits your average cuppa has to offer? From medicinal benefits, to positive effects on mental health and even helping fight against illness and cancer. We love a good cuppa at Grosvenor Lodge, and there’s nothing more soothing than sitting down with a nice fresh brew and a bit of company.

For us here, the main benefits are its calming effects, routine and sociable aspects of having a cup of tea. Here are some of the many other benefits that drinking tea may have – although many of them are still theories, we like to think a good old fashioned cup of tea is doing us the world of good.

  • Tea keeps us young. Antioxidants contained in tea can help slow down the ageing process and help your cells to regenerate and repair. Teas of all varieties contain high levels of antioxidant polyphenols that can help keep your body healthier and some studies suggest even ward off some cancers.
  • Tea lowers stress hormone levels. Black tea has been shown to reduce the effects of a stressful event. This might be why the British response to any drama is to offer a cup of tea!
  • Tea can cause a temporary increase in short term memory. Not feeling on your game today? Try drinking some tea. The caffeine it contains may give you the boost you need to improve your memory, at least for a few hours.
  • Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Tea helps to prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots which are very often the cause of heart attacks and strokes. Some studies have even found that black tea drinkers were at a 70 percent lower risk of having a fatal heart attack.
  • Tea is calorie-free. Tea itself has no calories unless you choose to add sweeteners or milk, making it a satisfying, low-cal way to wake up and maybe even shed a few pounds. Unless, like us you enjoy a cake or biscuit with your brew!
  • Tea can help prevent arthritis. Research suggests that older women who are tea drinkers are 60 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who do not drink tea. The same effect has not been measured in older males, however, but additional studies may prove otherwise.
  • Tea may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. New studies are suggesting that regular tea consumption may help protect the body from developing this neurological disorder.
  • Tea can lower blood sugar. Tea contains catechin and polysaccharides which have been demonstrated to have a noticeable effect on lowering blood sugar.
  • Tea can prevent iron damage. Those suffering from iron disorders may be helped by drinking tea, which contains tannins that limit the amount of iron the body can absorb.
  • Tea can help with nasal decongestion. If you’ve got a bit of a cold, drinking black tea with lemon may help clear up some of the congestion.

Now there’s 10 good reasons to go and stick the kettle on!

Also this week is Dementia UKs 10th anniversary of “Time for a Cuppa” so why not raise some money for a great cause and enjoy the health benefits of a few cups of tea with some friends or colleagues?

Caring for the Vulnerable this Winter

By 11th December, 2018 Care Home No Comments

As the temperature drops and the nights get longer, it’s more important than ever to think about those more vulnerable than us, including the elderly. For some it can be a period of time where social contact reduces, so here are our thoughts on how you can help the vulnerable over the festive period.

1. Several short visits would be better than one long visit

Try and plan a few phone calls or cups of tea, Christmas can be a lonely time of year for some, try to think beyond your immediate family. Is there a neighbour who would love some company over the festive period? Why not pop round with a mince pie…

2. Hypothermia – spot the early signs

Fuel is becoming more expensive, and as we head into colder weather, elderly may try to cut back on the heating to save on the bills. A room that might seem warm enough for you may not be for the infirm or those who cannot exercise, an ideal temperature would be 20-21 Celsius. Early signs of hyperthermia can include:

  • cold feet and hands
  • shivering
  • slower than normal speech
  • slurring words
  • acting sleepy
  • pale skin
  • being confused or angry

3. Falls

As the ice sets in, many vulnerable people have falls and breaks can often be left untreated. If they have had a fall check any bruises just in case. Similarly, many vulnerable people are afraid to go out in poor weather conditions, so why not offer to help with a weekly shop?

4. Dehydration

Having the heating up higher can make people dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect your energy levels and can leave you feeling tired or confused so try to ensure the elderly and vulnerable are drinking enough water.

5. Medication

Over Christmas, daily routines go out the window and this could make it easier to forget to take important medications. Perhaps set alarms as reminders, or pop in at medicine times.

If you are ever worried about a loved one or neighbour, please call 111 or in an emergency dial 999.