Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

December 2nd, 2016

 

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects one in every 500 people in the United Kingdom – that is 127,000 of us. It generally affects those over the age of fifty.

With statistics like these, it is likely that most of us know at least one person affected by Parkinson’s. And, of course, among our clients are a number of people we support who are living with the disease.

For every individual who has the condition, the combination of symptoms is different.  They can also change with alarming speed, so that a task that could be completed independently in the morning may be impossible, without help, just hours later.

 

Challenges of Parkinson’s disease

 

To help understand the complexity of challenges faced by our clients with Parkinson’s, and in line with our person-centred approach to care, many of our DoCare team are now volunteering for additional training.

The first group have graduated from the course, which was devised by Parkinson’s UK, with flying colours. I am delivering the course, having first undergone the training myself. Our first group did brilliantly, and we have plans to run further courses.

The training was a real eye-opener about Parkinson’s and how it affects people. It has really helped our support workers who took part to understand the disease, and appreciate the challenges some of our clients are dealing with on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis.

Our ethos at DoCare is to make every day a better day for all our clients, by providing a tailored support service with a personal approach. This latest training initiative is one example of our commitment to delivering a consistently high level of care.

Further information about Parkinson’s disease is available at https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/ .

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 14th, 2016

Any holiday requires planning and a holiday with someone who lives with dementia requires considerable attention to detail. However, this should not be a barrier to embracing well-earned rest, new experiences and a change of scenery.

There is a wide range of holiday options available to people with dementia and their carers, from specially tailored adventure holidays, to centre-based breaks with trips and entertainment included.

Independent travel offers flexibility and choice but involves more detailed planning. Package holidays are also an option, as long as your travel agent is aware of your needs and can meet them.  Basically, the world is your oyster – as long as you have done your homework!

People with dementia may find a new environment confusing or worrying if something doesn’t go to plan. It is also important for the carer to be able to relax and have a good time. So, things to bear in mind might include whether a small hotel with fewer corridors would be best, and whether travelling at quieter times of year might also be a good idea.

The benefits of taking a holiday can far outweigh the task of preparation. For those living from dementia, the extra stimulus can be hugely beneficial.  Often, carers aren’t seeking time away from the people they care for but a space, with appropriate support, where they can normalise their relationships again, as husband and wife, or parent and son or daughter.

Two organisations we’ve come across offering very different types of holidays for people with dementia and their carers are:

  • Revitalise revitalise.org that sets aside several weeks a year in three of its centres, with dementia-trained staff who can give you quality time with the person you love. Subsidies are available for these breaks.
  • Dementia Adventure dementiaadventure.co.uk focuses on outdoor activities and connecting with nature, providing land or water-based activities for people at different stages of their dementia journey.

The Alzheimer’s Society has a useful fact sheet about travelling and going on holiday at www.alzheimers.org.uk.

Any service that provides support for people with dementia, and those who care for them, has to be applauded.

 

This blog was written by Rachel Houghton DoCare’s Service 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.

 

October 29th, 2016

We’ve been lucky to have had such a glorious autumn, but the clocks going back is the first sign that winter is fast approaching and now is the time to get prepared.

The DoCare support team will be reminding clients that:

Staying warm – both in the house and outdoors – is a top priority during the colder months, so getting chimneys swept and the heating system serviced by an approved engineer is crucial.

A serviced boiler is both safer and more fuel efficient. It would also be a good idea to check that windows and doors have efficient seals, to keep the cold wind out and the warm air in.

Make sure you take advantage of help with paying winter fuel bills, if needed: www.ageuk.org.uk has information on funds available and how to claim.

Getting into a cold bed means losing essential body heat, so a hot water bottle, wheat bag or electric blanket are ideal ways of preparing the bed before getting in. And, if you haven’t done so already, dig out your cold weather clothes, ensuring you have plenty of thin layers that will trap heat close to your body.

Having at least one warm meal a day is recommended – buying store cupboard and freezer basics, will ensure you can do this even if the weather is bad or you just don’t feel like braving the shops.

If you aren’t very mobile, making a thermos of your favourite hot drink or soup to keep near you will help ensure you are keeping warm and having enough fluids.

Staying healthy and safe is vital – taking up the invitation for a free flu jab from the GP is a very good idea, as flu can be both debilitating and dangerous. While you are doing that, you could ensure you have plenty of any prescription medicines you need and check whether the surgery has a prescription delivery service.

Falls are a common cause of hospitalisation in winter months, so try to prevent being a casualty by staying indoors in icy weather, ensuring you have footwear with good non-slip soles and making sure leads for plug-in heaters, for example, are not causing a hazard in the home.

Finally, always ask for help if you need it, from family, neighbours, friends or, of course, the DoCare support team.

This blog was written by DoCare Director Una Mills.  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 7th, 2016

Working in the social care sector is much more than a job: it’s a passion. At DoCare we are passionate about providing quality care for our clients and also looking at the bigger picture and playing our part in improving services across the board.

House of Lords trip

 

So my husband and fellow director Steve and I were delighted to be invited to a reception at the House of Lords, organised by The Adam Smith Institute and LCS Health and Social Care Policy & Research.

The aim of the event was to bring together people involved in the social care sector, and look at ways to bridge the divide between social care and health care for the benefit of the UK population.

Hosted by Baroness Gardner of Parkes, the speakers included Lord Lansley, former Secretary of State, Department of Health; Ian Smith, chairman of Four Seasons Health Care’ and Dr Jim Featherstone, chief operating officer of Healthcare at Home.

It was fascinating to hear different people’s views and ideas. We all agreed that, while there is undoubtedly pressure on funding in social and health care, there are steps that can be taken to improve delivery of services.

On a personal note, we were delighted to find that we were guests of honour, as a result of our winning the Care Employer Award at this year’s Great British Care Awards. Also, the tea and view across the Thames were marvellous!

It was an insight and also a treat for us, but one that we know has come about thanks to the fantastic team we have around us. If we could have taken them all up to the Lords with us, we would have!

 

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.

July 1st, 2016

 

With so much in the media about diversity in Britain, we thought it worth reiterating DoCare’s position.

We at DoCare embrace diversity both among our clients and our staff. We are privileged to work with so many different people, valuing their uniqueness and celebrating our differences whilst respecting each other’s rights to be ‘different’. As a result we have had new experiences, heard different viewpoints, tasted new recipes all while developing stronger relationships.

As part of our induction training we have always included equality and diversity as one of our topics and of course it is now part of the Care Certificate Standards (Standard 4) which came into effect in April 2015.

Living and working alongside each other in harmony, with the aim of making every day a better day for our clients – whatever their background – is, and will remain, our priority.

This blog was written by Pam Tozer, DoCare’s Training Support 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.

 

 

June 28th, 2016

We were worried to see a headline recently which reported that doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual meeting had passed a motion declaring a diagnosis for dementia as ‘pointless’ unless backed up with support.

Twiddle muffs

Around 850,000 people in England are thought to be living with dementia and the number of people being diagnosed has almost doubled in the past six years.

However, the doctors feel that there is not enough support for their patients post-diagnosis.

This aspect of their argument we understand. The NHS is very stretched and caring for ever growing numbers of people, with the whole range of conditions, not just dementia.

But we would never say a diagnosis is pointless. We know, from our own research and from what we see among our clients who have dementia, that the earlier a diagnosis is made, the more can be done to support that person. And that support does not need to come just from the GPs or the NHS.

Relatives, friends, and homecare providers, such as the team here at DoCare, can do much. And the person with the diagnosis can also take his or own steps to try to slow down the advance of their condition.

For example, we know that providing meaningful moments for people – even simple things like potting up a plant, or taking a walk around the garden – can add interest and stimulation to people with dementia.

Playing with ‘toys’ when agitated can help a person; many of our clients have a ‘twiddle muff’, which is a knitted muff with bits and bobs hanging off it, which can be held in the lap and played with.

We create chatter boxes for clients, containing mementoes – like photos, or bits of knitting, or familiar smells – which will spark feelings and memories.

Early diagnosis also means the person with dementia can make choices about their future while they still can and access other services and groups.

All these are simple techniques, which anyone can try, and which don’t cost the earth but help enhance the lives of people with dementia.

 

This blog was written by Kerry-Ann Lees, DoCare’s Dementia Lead and Field Management Team 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.

 

 

 

 

June 28th, 2016

 

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has launched new fire safety packs for people with dementia – what an excellent idea.

Glos Fire and Rescue Service launch new dementia packs

Glos Fire and Rescue Service launch new dementia packs

The new dementia packs are based around the national ‘FireKills – fire safety in the home’ booklet and were created by the brigade working with focus groups to develop fire safety resources for people living with dementia.

Andy Hermiston, deputy chief fire officer, said: “All fire and rescue services have pledged to improve the safety and wellbeing of those with dementia. GFRS is one of the leading fire and rescue services in the country in terms of dementia awareness and we are really keen to try and help people with dementia to stay safe and independent in their own home for as long as possible.”

The packs were launched last month as part of National Dementia Awareness Week and we were delighted that several officers from GFRS came to our own dementia awareness event, to show the pack and to talk to visitors to the open day.

Resources in the pack include prompt cards, reminding people with dementia of things that need doing around the home, such as closing doors or turning off cookers. They also include a dark coloured back plate which can be fitted around a smoke alarm which are easier for people with dementia to see.

For more information, including how to book a free safe and well visit,click here  or contact the community safety team on 01452 888777.

For more information about support for people with dementia, who want to remain living at home, please get in touch with the DoCare team.

May 5th, 2016

New findings suggest women are more affected by Alzheimer’s disease than men.

Women with this form of dementia see their cognitive abilities decline more dramatically than men at the same stage of the disease, and language and memory skills are also impacted more severely.

The findings come from researchers at Hertfordshire University, who believe a drop in oestrogen levels in women after the menopause may be the cause of the gender difference.

Another factor is that the cognitive reserves of men are greater on average, as they are more likely to have worked than women.

In the UK, women make up two-thirds of the 850,000 people living with dementia, a condition which Alzheimer’s is a form of.  It’s worth bearing in mind, this means there may be more male than female carers looking after their loved ones, a topic discussed recently at a dementia forum in Gloucestershire.

At DoCare, we were really interested to see this research, as many of our clients have dementia, some with Alzheimer’s disease. This type of research brings the medical profession a step closer to finding a cure and also identifying risk factors, as well as pinpointing ways to help slow down the progression of the disease.

We know from our experience that the earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner measures can be put in place to help slow its progress.

Professor Keith Laws, who led the study, said: “Genetics are hard to change but easier to screen, cognitive reserve is modifiable and with more women working, the next generation may suffer less. It is therefore fundamental that we continue to identify the role of sex differences to enable more accurate diagnoses and open up doors for new treatments to emerge.”

Well said. And in the meantime, we at DoCare will play our part in supporting our clients with dementia, and their families, so they can live as full and active a life as possible; making every day a better day.

This blog was written by Kerry-Ann Lees, DoCare’s Dementia Lead and Field Management Team 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.

 

 

 

February 23rd, 2016

Loneliness, particularly among elderly people, is no stranger to the headlines. There are believed to be more than one million people aged over 65 who are lonely – around 10-13 per cent of older people.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, back in 2013, said it was a cause of “national shame” that thousands of people felt lonely.

This month, councils have warned that loneliness needs to be recognised as a major public health concern, with fears it could pile further strain on to local services, unless action is taken.

More than three quarters of GPs say they see between one and five lonely people a day; while research shows loneliness can be more harmful than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The statistics go on …

While we have an ageing population, and increasingly stretched resources, it is difficult to see an overall solution.

But things are happening at grassroots level. For example, in Rotherham there is a scheme where GPs identify those and risk, and then link people to community services. In Exeter, a Men in Sheds scheme brings men together to socialise. In Warwickshire, there are a range of interventions aimed at older, isolated people. The Local Government Association has partnered with Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness to publish ‘Combating Loneliness,’ which offers guidance for councils.

For our part, at DoCare we know that the service we provide encompasses so much more than the just the practical things we do, like shopping, washing, or making meals. Our visits are a lifeline for elderly people, many of whom live alone. For some, a friendly face from DoCare will be the only person they will see each day.

It’s great news that all these initiatives are happening. We believe they will make a difference, and at DoCare we will carry on doing our small bit to help combat loneliness among our clients, making every day a better day for them and for their families.

 This blog was written by Una Mills, Director for DoCare.

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 career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

February 11th, 2016

This winter so far has been marked by mild weather and rain – a lot of rain! But now it has finally turned colder, elderly people in particular may be feeling the chill.

 We’re all too aware at DoCare of how much the cold weather can affect our clients, the majority of whom are elderly, and we guarantee to struggle through ice and snow to provide the very best service.

 But everyone can do their bit for older people at this time, so here are a few suggestions: 

  • Why not pay a visit to an elderly neighbour to check up on them and ensure they have essential supplies?
  • Check to see whether their curtains are being drawn every day – if they aren’t, knock on the door and ask if all is well  
  • Is the milk being taken in? If not, pay them a visit 
  • Do you see their lights on in the evening? If you don’t, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

We’ll be making thousands of visits this week, next week and every week to clients, bringing peace of mind to them and their families. We’ll be making sure they are keeping warm and have supplies at hand to stay warm and safe.

This blog was written by Sue Mothershaw, DoCare General 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 career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online