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.

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.

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?