Make Christmas Easier for people with Dementia

Home Care Agency

Christmas can pose difficulties for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, but there are strategies that can help.

NHS England has this advice on how to make Christmas easier to cope with for someone with dementia.

  • Put decorations up gradually so it doesn’t come as too much of a change
  • Help people who are frail or living with dementia feel included by getting them to assist with hanging a bauble or other simple tasks
  • Spread out family visits to keep things low key and familiar
  • Don’t overload on food – a full plate can be difficult to tackle for somebody with dementia who might have eating difficulties
  • Be flexible with planning – be prepared to change plans if something isn’t working

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

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Tips to reduce the chances of developing dementia

Home Care Agency

A Major review has recommended 12 health measures that can reduce the risk of developing dementia.

The biggest known risk factors for dementia are:

  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Head injury
  • Depression
  • Hearing loss
  • Exposure to air pollution
  • Lack of exercise
  • Education
  • Little or no social contact

Minimising these risks could potentially prevent or delay up to 40 per cent of dementia cases globally, according to the review of the latest evidence by 28 leading dementia experts from around the world.

The review finds that individuals can partially protect themselves by: Not smoking, drinking less than 21 units of alcohol per week, maintaining good blood pressure, avoiding activities that could lead to head injuries, using hearing aids if needed, eating a healthy diet, and exercising and socialising regularly.

It’s never too late to think about reducing your risk!

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2250401-these-are-the-12-ways-you-can-drastically-cut-your-dementia-risk/

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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Caring for someone with Dementia

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More than 47,000,000 people in the world are living with dementia. Numbers are expected to increase by 300% over the next thirty years.

Dementia – of which Alzheimer’s is a form – is a horrible disease that takes away mental faculties and even a personality; it is not just sufferers that are affected. There are millions of people providing billion of hours of care for loved ones suffering from dementia. Caring for someone with dementia can become a full-time job and many caregivers admit the burden of care has affected their own health.

Providing care for dementia patients is by no means easy. If you find yourself in this position, effective strategies for communication and care can make things a bit easier.

Helping People with Dementia

Communication

As your loved one moves through the stages of dementia, their ability to communicate is going to get worse. Keeping communication effective for as long as possible is essential for their mental well-being.

You will have to learn how to communicate effectively throughout the stages of dementia.

  • Turning off the TV or radio. Close curtains or blinds and shut the door. This will help your loved one focus. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
  • Don’t start talking until you have your loved one’s attention. Ensure they are listening. Address them by name, remind them who you are if necessary, and use gentle touches to keep them focused.
  • Remain positive in attitude and body language. Although your loved one may have experienced some mental decline, they will pick up on body language. Try to keep open, don’t fold your arms, keep your tone upbeat, and your mood positive.
  • Speak clearly and slowly but don’t dumb things down – this may only cause more frustration. Repeat things if necessary.
  • Remember to listen – spend as much time listening as speaking. You;ll need to be patient and may need to ask them to repeat things. Don’t get frustrated!
  • As you chat with your friend, client or loved one, there may come a point when they cannot remember certain words, or they lose track of their thoughts. They may become agitated. Acknowledge their feelings and offer a distraction to avoid further distress.

In the early to middle stages of dementia, your friend, client or loved one will have some awareness that their mental ability is getting worse. This can be frustrating and scary, which is why it is so important for you to be patient and understanding in the moments when they are really struggling to communicate. Just be patient, ask questions, and make sure to listen intently.

Keeping Dementia Sufferers Safe

In the early stages of dementia, they may still be able to care for themselves, albeit with a little help. As things progresses, your loved one may struggle with daily tasks such as preparing meals, bathing, and getting dressed. Part of your job as a caregiver is to make adaptations in the home to ensure safety.

  • Take an objective look around the house to spot potential danger zones, such as the garage, storage room, or basement, and install new locks or other safety devices where needed.
  • Disable the cooker so your loved one cannot use the it without supervision – you may need to make adaptations to the sink and bath, as well.
  • Double smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Install locks to keep your loved one from wandering outside – make sure the locks are hidden or out of reach.
  • Add extra lighting to keep stairwells, hallways, bathrooms, and doorways well-lit to prevent accidents.
  • Put medications and cleaning products in a locked drawer or cabinet – if your loved one can still be trusted with medication, make sure they have a pill organizer that you refill for them.
  • Install safety measures in the bathroom, such as grab bars and non-slip mats. Avoid using rugs that might slip out of place.
  • When you start to become concerned for their safety at home, you might consider installing a camera or smart speaker so you can see / talk to them easily.

Handling Difficult Behaviors

It is common for those with dementia to wander off, often without any destination in mind. Try taking your loved one for short walks to reduce restlessness. You may also need to install new door locks or create physical barriers so they can’t leave without your knowledge. Technology can also help here with sensors, smart locks and cameras.

Personality changes are also not uncommon. Your loved one may become combative, impatient or agitated at times, sometime even to the point of aggression. Try to remember that they have no control over their behavior and don’t mean to hurt you. These behaviors typically have a trigger – fear, confusion or environmental factors can cause unpredictable behaviour. If you can identify the trigger, you may be able to avoid problems.

In due course, cognitive ability and awareness will decline to the point that the patient does not react or communicate in any way. Before reaching that stage, however, they may develop repetitive speech or paranoia.

Actions, and behavior may worsen at the end of each day. This is known as “sundowning.” Try to remain patient and identify and understand the triggers and underlying factors that may be contributing to these actions. You may also need to develop distraction tactics if they become fixated on something.

Think About Professional Help

It could be a full 10 years or more from diagnosis to needing full-time care. That is a long time for carers to be putting someone else’s needs before their own. At a point, you are going to have to ask yourself some difficult questions – is it time to seek professional dementia care help?

24 hour care for Alzheimer’s patients is very expensive, but your loved one may be more comfortable in their own home and that might mitigate some of the other challenges as their dementia progresses.

One option could be regular 1 or 2 hour care visits to give relatives some respite. Allow them to get out to the shops or to socialise. Domiciliary care companies are experienced at looking after dementia suffers and can be a great support.

If in-home care is not an option, moving them into a care facility may be a better choice. Caring for a loved one suffering from dementia is exhausting, both physically and mentally. Remember, your loved one has no control over what is happening to them. While you can empathize with them and offer love and support, you need to remain realistic about what is and is not possible.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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The TV repeats help people with dementia

Care agency service

TV repeats and familiar songs can help people with dementia by stimulating memories and keeping the brain active.

And while people with dementia might not remember the exact details of a film, they may recall how they felt at the end.

Experts say it is the emotional details of a favourite film or song that remain lodged in our minds.

Whether it’s an old song they used to enjoy or a classic film, reminiscing can be beneficial to someone with dementia – it can help to maintain their self-esteem, confidence and sense of self, as well as improve social interactions with others.

However, every person with dementia is different, so it’s important to listen and accommodate your loved one’s unique needs and wishes.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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Hospitals with Vintage Makeover to help dementia patients

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Photographs and films, ration books and a 1950s televisions have been used to transform wards across the UK into reassuringly familiar settings – including 1950s tearooms and seaside beach huts.

NHS England believes the “dementia-friendly adaptations” will help patients who struggle to adjust to their surroundings.

It is hoped these items from bygone eras may help trigger patients’ memories. If patients are engaged in meaningful activity and given mental stimulation, then they sleep better, feel less agitated, are less likely to get up in the night and less likely to fall.

Having a dementia-friendly place to stay may help these patients adjust better to their surroundings and reduce their reliance on medicine.

Hospitals taking part in the project

  • London’s Royal Free Hospital
  • West Yorkshire’s Airedale Hospital
  • Hull Royal Infirmary
  • Royal Preston Hospital
  • Wirrals Arrowe Park hospital
  • Grantham Hospital’s Manthorpe Centre:
  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate:

Themes include:

  • A cinema room where patients can watch footage of old street scenes and sporting events from the 1950s and 1960s.
  • 1940s style reminiscence room, featuring pictures of ration books and old photographs
  • A ‘memories pub’ complete with replica beer taps and vintage posters.
  • Dementia wards, corridors and day rooms kitted out in a vintage seaside theme with beach huts signposting patient bays and a retro boardwalk mural.
  • A 1950s-themed “memory room” where patients can relax among period furniture, artwork and a replica 1950s television.
  • A day room, where patients can do a jigsaw or listen to the hospital choir sing music from the 1940s and 50s, with a retro television cabinet and vintage-style furniture.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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Talking with Someone with Dementia

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It can be difficult for people without dementia to engage with people that have. People living with dementia can find it hard to communicate.

It’s important that the environment you talk in is conducive to a good chat. Try to minimise background noise as people with dementia can become easily distracted.

Try to establish eye contact and be on the same level as the person you are talking to. This will help them pick up on visual cues about the conversation. People with dementia won’t move or talk at the same pace as you, so take you time and speak slowly and clearly.

People with dementia can often remember feelings but not what has caused them. An effective way to start a conversation with someone living with dementia is to really look at their mood and comment on it, for example ‘You look happy today’ or ‘You seem worried today.’

Keep sentences short to make it easier for a person with dementia to follow you. Think of a subject meaningful to you both. Be a good listener and give them time to think and respond. For those with short term memory loss it is easy to forget the beginning of a conversation.

Having a visual aids can really help people with dementia stay focused. Pictures and objects will help. For example have the medication with you if that is what you need to talk about. If it is about a family member, have a picture of that family member with you.

There are lots of online resources to help start conversations or just help the dementia suffer relax and reminisce. For example: https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk/blog/music-website-help-dementia-suffers/

For those living with dementia, their long-term memories will be precious and often still vivid to them.

Work, childhood, music or food are all great topics of conversation.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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New type of dementia identified

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Dementia is not a single disease, but is the name for a group of symptoms that include problems with memory and thinking.

According to new research published in the journal, Brain, some elderly people have a form of dementia that has been misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s.

Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or Late, shares similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s, but it is a distinct disease. Unlike Alzheimer’s, it is thought that it tends to cause a more gradual decline in memory.

It may partly explain why finding a dementia cure has failed so far.

There are lots of different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s is said to be the most common and most researched.

Scientists have been striving to find a cure for dementia, but with so many different types and causes of the disease, the goal has proved difficult.

Having a better understanding of Late might lead to the discovery of new treatments, say the researchers.

Read more about these latest findings on the BBC Website here

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

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Whiteboard Idea Helping Dementia Sufferers

Dementia whiteboard

Talking to the BBC, Dr Philip Grimmer says he was “struck” by the whiteboard and had not seen anything like it before

Words of reassurance written on a whiteboard by a daughter to her mother have led to a global conversation about dementia.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome – a group of related symptoms – associated with an ongoing decline of brain function. It can affect memory, thinking skills and other mental abilities.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia.

Dr Grimmer says the daughter explained that the board aims to reduce “anxious phone calls” made by her mother to relatives, and has been placed in her eye-line at her home in Chippenham.

Dr Grimmer told the BBC: “I’d not seen anything like it before in thousands of house visits. It’s caring, reassuring and sensible – it’s just such a simple idea.”

Read the full article on the BBC here.

Dr Grimmer is now looking forward to sharing the responses he has received from his tweet to his patient’s daughter.

He said: “Dementia is such a heartbreaking subject for so many people and this simple solution to support often elderly relatives has resonated with so many people around the world.

If you are in the UK and need support regarding dementia there are a variety of options on the NHS website.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

elderly care

New BBC Website to Help Dementia Sufferers

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A new website https://musicmemories.bbcrewind.co.uk/ aims to help dementia sufferers by connecting them with the songs they remember and love.

A phenomenon known as the “memory bump” means the music we hear between the ages of 10 and 30 – when we become independent – carries more emotional resonance than any other.

Music therapy has been shown to alleviate depression, anxiety, hallucinations and mobility problems in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

The website, which launched recently, allows people to browse nearly 2000 songs, classical works and TV theme tunes from the last 100 years. Creating a playlist of personally meaningful music.

Read more about the benefits of music in a BBC article here
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-45664458

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester. Read more about our independent care service on our website here.

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What are the early signs of dementia?

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850,000 people in the UK have dementia (according to the Alzheimer’s Society), with one in six aged over 80. Although there is no cure, early diagnosis can help ease the symptoms, which include behavioral changes and memory loss.

The symptoms can be divided into three main stages. It can take years to progress from mild to serious, and each person will develop them at a different rate.

The NHS state that the most common early symptoms are memory lapses including:

  • Forgetting place or object names
  • Forgetting recent conversations
  • Regular repetition or asking the same question several times
  • Poor judgement and finding it tough to make decisions
  • Forgetting events or whereabouts of household items
  • Becoming less flexible or resistant to trying new things

There may also be mood changes, increased anxiety or confusion.

As the disease develops from the early stage, memory deteriorates further, with names of loved ones harder to recall. Even recognising friends and family can become difficult.

For more details, go to alzheimers.org.uk

For more information about how we help people and relatives of those suffering from dementia, please see our main site: https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk