Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

August 1st, 2017

Say the word ‘skincare’ and you probably think of a beauty routine, involving cleansing, toning and moisturising,

But at DoCare, skin care has a very different meaning in relation to our clients. It is all about helping our clients to keep their skin healthy.

Here’s something we adopt, using the handy acronym SSKIN

  • Surface: we check to ensure our client has the right support
  • Skin: we inspect skin to look for any problems – early inspection means early detection
  • Keep: we help our clients to keep being as mobile as possible, and change their position so they are comfortable and less prone to sores
  • Incontinence: we help our clients to stay clean and dry
  • Nutrition: we help ensure clients have a nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids.

 So what is a pressure ulcer?

A pressure ulcer (also known as a bed sore) is damage on the skin and underlying tissue that can lead to an open wound. They are caused by pressure and friction on bony areas like the bottom, heel, hip, elbow, ankle, shoulder and back of the head.

Pressure ulcers cause people long-term pain and distress and can mean longer stays in hospital.

An elderly person is more at risk if they:

  • cannot move easily
  • have poor nutrition
  • have a health condition
  • are aged over 70
  • suffer from incontinence

Fortunately, around 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable and at DoCare we do our bit to keen them to a minimum.

 

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare’s Field Manager.  If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch.  If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

July 21st, 2017

New research is being published all the time about dementia, its causes and ways of preventing the disease.

A report out this week is of particular interest. It suggests more than a third of dementia cases might be avoided by tackling aspects of lifestyle including education, exercise, blood pressure and hearing.

With the number of people living with dementia rising – in England and Wales it is estimated this will be 1.2 million by 2040 – the report has huge implications.

The new report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, stresses that dementia is not an inescapable part of ageing – and that action can be taken to reduce risk.

“There are a lot of things that individuals can do, and there are a lot of things that public health and policy can do, to reduce the numbers of people developing dementia,” said Gill Livingston, professor of psychiatry of older people at University College London and a co-author of the report.

For many of the factors, including exercise and social activities, the best approach to reducing dementia risk is not yet clear, but Prof Livingston said steps can still be taken.

The results reveal that as many as 35% of dementia cases could, at least in theory, be prevented, with 9% linked to midlife hearing loss, 8% to leaving education before secondary school, 5% to smoking in later life and 4% to later life depression. Social isolation, later life diabetes, midlife high blood pressure, midlife obesity and lack of exercise in later life also contributed to potentially avoidable cases of dementia, the report notes.

By contrast, 7% of cases would be prevented if a solution to the leading genetic risk factor for dementia were found.

This is great news. The startling increase in the numbers of people with dementia is largely driven by people living longer, which means the earlier we all start taking positive steps – stopping smoking, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet – the better.

And even when people do have dementia, there is so much that can be done to help mitigate the symptoms.

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare’s Field Manager.  If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch.  If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

July 11th, 2017

We keep a careful eye on the news that is published about dementia, and about possible treatments.

So we were really interested to read recently about a brain training computer game which has been shown to improve the memory of people who are in the very early stages of dementia and could potentially help such people avert some of the symptoms.

The gameshow-like app has been developed by researchers at Cambridge University. Their small trial showed people who played the game over a month had around a 40 per cent improvement in their memory scores.

George Savulich, who led the study at Cambridge University, said: “We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy ageing and mild Alzheimer’s disease.”

The results, which were published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, showed that as well as improving their memory scores in the game, people who played it retained more complex visual information than those who didn’t.

Now there is no suggestion at the moment that this is in any way a cure. But the results are encouraging. Imagine what it would be like if the power of technology could be harnessed to help slow down – perhaps even prevent? – dementia. That would be something worth celebrating!

This blog was written by Service Manager Rachel Houghton. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

June 23rd, 2017

Bring your dog to work? Why not!

We love an interesting national awareness event, and one that caught our eye is today’s National Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

One of our team, Freya, has been known to bring her beloved dog into our head office here in Stroud, and we all love to see him. And Steve and I also bring in our puppy Dexter from time to time.

Bring Your Dog to Work Day is an annual event that raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs, as well as providing a bit of fun for employees.

Pets make wonderful companions, particularly to people who are living alone, as many of our elderly clients are. In fact some – like Daxi, who belongs to our client Arthur – provide more than companionship; Daxi comes from Canine Partners, and he is an assistance dog, helping Arthur in the same way that Guide Dogs help people with little or no vision.

Unfortunately, caring for a pet often isn’t possible for elderly people. This is where services like TheraPaws – run by the Mayhew Animal Home – can help. Volunteers take their dogs into a care setting to engage with older people, encouraging social interaction to promote emotional and physical wellbeing. They specialise in visits to people with dementia and to palliative care centres, and go on regular visits to care homes, day centres, hospices and hospitals.

One of our team recalls the delight of her elderly mother, living in a nursing home, when a visitor brought in a golden retriever to see his relative. As a dog-lover and lifelong dog owner, those few minutes spent with the dog made her day.

So what do we think of pets here at DoCare? They’re fantastic.

This blog was written by Una Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

June 10th, 2017

At DoCare we’ll be donning our aprons and getting down to a bit of baking by joining in national Cupcake Day on June 15, to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

And we’d be delighted if you would make it a date and drop into our head office in Stroud to buy some cakes. Our staff and friends will be baking, donating and serving tea, coffee and cake all day.

Last year, dedicated cupcake makers around the country united to raise £330,000 to help support research into dementia. That’s more than enough to fund 11 PhD researchers for a year, giving them the opportunity to undertake vital, potentially lifesaving work.
So at DoCare, we will be baking and selling some yummy cakes for you to buy to help raise money for this great cause. Pop in and buy a cake and have a cuppa with us in our training room. We’d love to see you.

Plus we’ll be running a fun photo competition for the loveliest and – possibly – most unusually decorated cakes.

Do call in and help us support such a fantastic cause, or get in touch with the team here for more details.

This blog was written by Una Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

May 31st, 2017

Summer is upon us, bringing warmer weather but also an increased chance of dehydration.

And older people are more at risk than most of dehydrating, because as we get older our brains are less able to sense dehydration and so don’t send the “I’m thirsty” signal.

So how do you stay hydrated?

Drinking water is always the best option, but other drinks can also help. Even tea and coffee can have a positive impact, as long as drunk in moderation to avoid too much caffeine. Fruit juices and squash will also aid hydration, but do beware of drinking too much, due to the high sugar content.

Foods with a high water content – such as melons, tomatoes, and lettuce – can be thirst-quenching. And soup or broth is also a good antidote to dehydration.

Here are our top tips on keeping hydrated:

  • Keep a bottle of filled water to hand – tap water is fine, and reuse the bottle
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime
  • Drink water before, during, and after exercise
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water before diving straight to food. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule – for example, with a meal, when you wake up and before you go to bed
  • Drink water when you go out to eat. It will keep you hydrated, and tap water is free!

And here are some important signs to look out for, which will indicate dehydration:

  • Little or no urine
  • Darker coloured urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • No tears when crying

At DoCare we encourage our clients to stay hydrated, and have some nice branded water bottles for our staff to take out and about with them. So enjoy the summer, but remember to keep topping up on water!

This blog was written by Marie Pride, Team Leader for Stroud and Dursley. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

May 19th, 2017

This week is Dementia Awareness Week, run by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Its aim is clear: to raise awareness of the condition which is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer.  The Alzheimer’s Society is asking everyone to unite in the battle against this condition, which affects not just the person living with it but their friends and families.

At DoCare, we have many clients who live with dementia, and we do all we can to support them and their loved ones, including giving our staff specialist training so they can provide the very best level of service.

And as this is national awareness week, here are a few facts about dementia that you may not have known, which we gleaned from the Alzheimer’s Society:

  1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

We all forget a name or a face sometimes. Especially as we get older. But dementia is something different. Memory problems are one of a number of symptoms that people with dementia may experience. Others include difficulties with planning, thinking things through, struggling to keep up with a conversation, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and it doesn’t just affect older people. More than 40,000 people under 65 in the UK have dementia. This is called early-onset or young-onset dementia.

If you’re worried about your memory, or about someone else, the first thing to do is make an appointment with the GP. We know it can feel daunting, but the quicker you talk to your GP, the sooner you can get the information, advice and support you need.

 

  1. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease cause nerve cells to die, damaging the structure and chemistry of the brain.

There are lots of other causes and no two types of dementia are the same. In different types of dementia there is damage to different parts of the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease tends to start slowly and progress gradually. Vascular dementia after a stroke often progresses in a ‘stepped’ way. This means that symptoms are stable for a while and then suddenly get worse.

 

  1. It’s not just about losing your memory

When most people hear the word dementia, they think of memory loss. And it does often start by affecting the short-term memory. Someone with dementia might repeat themselves and have problems recalling things that happened recently. But dementia can also affect the way people think, speak, perceive things, feel and behave.

Other common symptoms include:

  • difficulties concentrating
  • problems planning and thinking things through
  • struggling with familiar daily tasks, like following a recipe or using a bank card
  • issues with language and communication, for example trouble remembering the right word or keeping up with a conversation
  • problems judging distances (even though eyesight is fine)
  • mood changes and difficulties controlling emotions. For example, someone might get unusually sad, frightened, angry, easily upset, or lose their self-confidence and become withdrawn.

Symptoms of dementia gradually get worse over time. How quickly this happens varies from person to person – and some people stay independent for years.

 

  1. People can still live well with dementia

Although there is no cure for dementia, scientists and researchers are working hard to find one. Until that day comes, support and treatments are available that can help with symptoms and managing daily life. These can allow people with dementia to lead active, purposeful lives and carry on doing the things that matter to them most.

There are drugs available that may help with some types of dementia and stop symptoms progressing for a while. This is one reason why it’s important to go to the GP as soon as you suspect there’s a problem.

Other things that can help with symptoms of dementia include:

  • cognitive stimulation, which might involve doing word puzzles or discussing current affairs
  • life story work, sharing memories and experiences with a carer or nurse to create a ‘life story book’
  • keeping as active as possible – physically, mentally and socially – which can boost memory and self-esteem, and help avoid depression.

Researchers are working with people with dementia and their families to look into the causes of dementia.

They’re looking at how it might be prevented and diagnosed earlier, and how to improve quality of life for people living with the condition. The more we understand, the more we can do to help people stay independent and live the life they want for as long as possible.

Call the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22 if you’d like to talk to someone for information, support or advice.

In the meantime, at DoCare we are joining in national Cupcake Day on June 15, when we will be making and selling cupcakes, all to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. Do pop into our head office in Stroud and support us.

This blog was written by Una Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

 

 

May 11th, 2017

We always love it when scientists corroborate something that we have always instinctively known, and this happened again recently.

Australian researchers have shown that doing moderate exercise several times a week is the best way to keep the mind sharp if you’re over 50.

A review of 39 studies showed thinking and memory skills were most improved when people exercised the heart and muscles on a regular basis.

What is really good news, is that according to the research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this is true of people who already showed signs of cognitive decline.

Even for those less able to take demanding physical exercise, activities like gentle T’ai Chi are highly beneficial.

We already know that exercise is a great way to reduce the risk of physical diseases, like type 2 diabetes and some cancers, but it’s great to find out it also helps ward off the brain’s natural decline as we enter middle age.

The theory is that through exercise the brain receives a greater supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients that boost its health as well as a growth hormone that helps the formation of new neurons and connections.

Joe Northey, study author and researcher from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise at Canberra, said: “Even if you are doing moderate exercise only once or twice a week there are still improvements in cognitive function, but the improvements were better the more exercise was done.”

We know from our experience at DoCare, that many of our clients find exercise a challenge. But it seems from this research that even sitting in a chair, doing simple leg and arm movements, will be a great help.

This blog was written by Christine Ryder, DoCare Team Leader. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

 

April 13th, 2017

We were amazed to read about new research by scientists at the University of York, which suggests that there is a potential link between eating Marmite and activity in the brain.

Marmite - beneficial link to brain activity

Here’s an excerpt from the Alzheimer’s Society’s new release:

The study found that participants consuming a teaspoon of Marmite every day for a month, compared to a control group who consumed peanut butter, showed a substantial reduction of around 30 per cent in their brain’s response to visual stimuli, measured by recording electrical activity using electroencephalography (EEG).

Commenting on the research Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“Evidence shows that our diet plays an important role in the way our brain functions. This research only looked at how people in their 20s responded to visual stimuli rather than testing their thinking or memory, so there’s no way to say from this study whether eating Marmite can affect your dementia risk. But the study does give us a deeper understanding of how certain aspects of diet could affect the function of nerve cells in the brain.

“Along with eating a healthy diet, the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia are to exercise regularly, avoid smoking and keep your blood pressure in check.”

At DoCare, we’re not sure if this is definitely good news for Marmite lovers. What we are pleased with is the extent of the research which is being undertaken into brain activity, and the potential causes of and cures for dementia.

The more work that is done, the closer we are to finding a solution to this condition.

This blog was written by Jinny Searle. DoCare Team Leader. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

April 12th, 2017

 

This year for the first time we did something different with our office Christmas tree, and turned it into a ‘memory’ tree. Our staff and their families were invited to hang up a little card with a message for a loved one who had passed away.

DoCare's memory tree

DoCare’s memory tree

The idea worked well, and was very popular. We had messages left for parents and grandparents, and some children also wrote messages; it was very touching.

Of course, we eventually had to take the Christmas tree down, but we wanted to keep the cards that had been hung on it. And it gave us the idea to have a permanent place for people to leave a memory or a message.

So now we have a permanent ‘tree’ in the office. We are rehanging all the cards that were left on our Christmas memory tree, and are inviting staff and their families, and also clients and their families to add cards as and when they wish.

Our team have access to cards, so when a client passes away, they can invite the families to add a card to the tree. We believe in a small way this may help with the grieving process.

 

This blog was written by Una Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.