Dementia and Alzheimers

Because being at home, in a familiar setting, is the best place to be

If your loved one has an injury or has received a diagnosis for dementia, a specialist form of care is often needed.

Our highly trained and empathetic carers are able to provide individuals with support specific to their limitations. Greenwood Homecare believes that clients should be able to

enjoy comfortable, independent lives within their own homes. This is why we tailor our services to suit each person’s routine.

What one person struggles with, another might handle quite easily, and so our carers get to know each individual in order to provide the very best care.

Dementia home care

People with dementia vary considerably but too often they can be pigeon-holed. Recognising the unique needs is helpful for carers, families and the people in care alike.

Necessary services can range from practical duties such as cooking, ironing and shopping to providing stability and continuity as an older person experiences difficulty in their day-to-day living.

Alzheimer’s home care

Friends and families often particularly struggle when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease.

As well as providing essential care services and assisting with practical requirements, our carers offer emotional care to both clients and their families as they acclimatise to the changes brought on by this disease.

Call us to discuss your situation and we will be more than happy to provide information about our specialist care services.

Help whenever you need it

Personalised care to suit your schedule

Daytime visits

Daytime visits provide support for you from 30 minutes up to all day long. We’ll be on hand to support you in whatever way we can, whether it is helping you to get out of bed, supporting you with household chores, or simply popping over for a cup of tea for companionship.

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Overnight care

Overnight care provides relief for your family members, whether they want to get a good night’s rest or are away on holiday. Depending on your needs our carers can be awake throughout the night or on-call and able to assist when needed.

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24/7 Live-in care

Our live-in care services give you 24/7 support, providing a better alternative to a care home. Your carer will help you maintain your lifestyle and daily routine by catering to all your needs.

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More information about Dementia & Alzheimers:

Visiting care involves your carer popping by for as little as half an hour. This type of care is helpful if you need assistance with specific activities or simply the peace of mind that someone is checking in. Longer visits can also be arranged if you require support throughout the day.

Research is increasingly revealing that remaining active and continuing to learn new things as you age, can go some way to keeping the symptoms of memory related illnesses at bay.

As we know there is unfortunately no cure for conditions such as dementia, but keeping active does show promise, so in this article, we’re going to cover ways you can help your loved ones or patients who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s to take part in more activities.

Before we get started, here’s a bit of detail about dementia:

Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia. However, memory loss by itself does not mean you have dementia.

People with dementia have serious problems with two or more brain functions, such as memory and language. Although dementia is common in very elderly people, it is not part of normal aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. AD begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited.

If you need support looking after a family member with dementia of alzheimers then we might be able to help, find out more about our dementia services here.

How to detect Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Formal diagnosis of dementia and alzheimers is always required by a trained medical professional, but if you suspect a loved one may be suffering from dementia then there are some common symptoms to keep your eye open for.

People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.

People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. In AD, over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members. They may have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home.

Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them. AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.

As someone who takes care of people suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, what can we do for them? How do we make their lives as easy as possible? Or as close as possible to their previously normal life? What activities should we do to help them?

Activities that the care provider can do together with the patient include:

Relaxation exercises

Or activities that calm oneself that may include walk in the park or a visit to the beach.

If a person with dementia can have regular time out in the daylight this will also help to set the body clock and establish a natural rhythm for the day. They are more likely to eat and sleep better, and this will also help reduce stress.

You can read more info about creating a relaxing environment for people with dementia here.

Music therapy

It is good to let people suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to listen to the songs they like to stabilize emotions.

A study shows that dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can recall memories and emotions, and have enhanced mental performance after singing classic hits and show tunes from movies and musicals — a breakthrough in understanding how music affects those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Games

Puzzles, word games, video games, board games, are just few of the games that require cognitive thinking.
A new study suggests older adults who practice specific computer training exercises that test how fast they respond to visual stimuli could face a 29 percent lower chance of developing dementia, results deemed encouraging by experts even as more work is needed to confirm the link.

Social interaction

Constant simple conversation will let the patient think about different topics and expresses own opinion.

A study funded by The United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research showed that patients who had at least an hour of social activity per week — had lower rates of agitated behaviors as reported by their caregivers. They also had better quality of life as measured by a questionnaire and fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Scrapbooking

This will remind them of the people and the things they love. This will also improve their creativity.

Many studies have recently shown the cognitive benefits associated with scrapbooking for seniors. These benefits can help reduce the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s and alleviate the depression associated with old age, making scrapbooking especially useful.

Diary/Journal Writing

This will allow them to write especially significant things that happen to them during the day.

A study conducted by Weyerman et. al entitled Personal Journal Keeping and Linguistic Complexity Predict Late-Life Dementia Risk: The Cache County Journal Pilot Study showed that participants being a journal writer significantly predicted a 53% reduction in all-cause dementia risk.

Reading

Reading is a good brain exercise and this way, it helps improve memory.
In one study, researchers tested almost 300 older adults’ memory and thinking ability every year for 6 years, and the participants answered questionnaires about their reading and writing habits, from childhood to their current age.

After the participants’ deaths (at an average age of 89), the researchers examined their brains for evidence of the physical signs of dementia, which typically include lesions, plaques, and neural tangles, the brain abnormalities often associated with memory lapses.

Those people who reported that they read were protected against brain lesions and tangles and self-reported memory decline over the 6-year study (Castel, 2018).

Crafts for Alzheimer’s patient

Arts and crafts. Letting them do what they love and good at improves cognitive function and promotes coordination. This may include:

  • Flower arrangement
  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Coloring
  • Greeting card making
  • Drawing
  • Pottery
  • Knitting

Researchers followed 256 people whose average age was 87 at the beginning of the study. Over four years, 121 participants developed mild cognitive impairment, a condition that means having thinking and memory problems, but problems that are not severe enough to affect daily life.

The people who engaged in artistic activities such as painting or drawing, in both middle age and when they were 85 and older, were 73 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not engage in artistic activities.

Memory care activities

 

If physical ability is not an issue, care provider may involve the patient with simple daily activities. Care provider may start it from the moment the patient wakes up until they go to bed. It is also important to assess and acknowledge the time bracket that the patient performs best. Allowing them to get involved with simple daily activities will promote sense of independence making them less likely to get stressed.

Setting a time table for the activities creates pattern or establishes routine that the patient can look forward to, therefore letting them be aware of the time of the day. Such activities include but not limited to: If physical ability is not an issue, care provider may involve the patient with simple daily activities.

Care provider may start it from the moment the patient wakes up until they go to bed. It is also important to assess and acknowledge the time bracket that the patient performs best.

Allowing them to get involved with simple daily activities will promote sense of independence making them less likely to get stressed. Setting a time table for the activities creates pattern or establishes routine that the patient can look forward to, therefore letting them be aware of the time of the day.

Such activities include but not limited to:·

Making the bed

Allow them to wash up and brush their teeth on their own

Let them make the decision on what to wear for the day

Putting on their clothes

Let them tie their shoes

Let them set the table

Involve them on weekly meal planning

Watering the plants in the garden

Helping in folding clothes

Separating whites and colored clothes for the laundry

Since we give direct care to our loved ones suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, it is important to learn as much as we can about them especially the activities that we can do for them daily to improve their quality of life.

Activity tips for Peterborough residents

Visit the Dementia Resource Centre

The Dementia Resource Centre in Peterborough is a fantastic local point of call. Run by the Alzheimer’s Society, there are a range of activities held on a weekly basis, which offer an opportunity for people with Dementia to socialise and have fun, whilst also providing some respite and companionship for carers. There’s something to suit every taste: typical group sessions include chair yoga, ‘knit & knatter’, current affairs and mens or ladies activity groups.

Sessions run at this centre are ideal for those acclimatising to life with Dementia or as a carer, as they are designed to be accessible for all. Some sessions run for a set period of weeks, so it’s worth making enquiries to find out what’s available for you to join.

Singing for the Brain

Singing for the Brain is also run by the Dementia Resource Centre, but deserves a special mention on its own because singing has been proven to have such a positive effect on people with Dementia and their carers. These sessions begin with gentle movement activities, followed by informal singing sessions that are enjoyable and stimulating for people with Dementia. They offer a relaxed environment in which to share an activity together and meet like-minded people.

Dementia Cafés

Dementia Cafés are a space to relax and unwind, gather support and information for living with Dementia and meet people in the same situation. There are many regular meetings dotted across Peterborough and the surrounding area, so you’re sure to find one close to you. You can find your nearest Dementia Café and other social groups through this search.

Hobbies and at Home Activities

Even if your loved one isn’t able to continue enjoying a past hobby, there are ways to help them connect with the things they love. A keen sewer may enjoy painting or other crafting, while culinary extraordinaires might still enjoy trying a new recipe with the help of a family member. These kinds of activities are easier for people with Dementia to participate in than passive pastimes like reading or watching television. Look at what’s on offer in your local area – there may be a Dementia-friendly group that’s linked to a past favourite hobby, such as the gardening group at the Dementia Resource Centre.

Many people with Dementia and their carers find it enjoyable to share memories together, such as by scrapbooking or visiting favourite destinations. In all these activities, take your cues from your loved one. If an activity they used to enjoy doesn’t bring them pleasure, don’t force it, but explore other ways to share an experience together.

Take Gentle Exercise

Exercise is key to positive physical and emotional health, and can be enjoyed at any level. Peterborough’s Dementia Resource Centre offers accessible, fun sessions, aptly named ‘Oomph!’, that help people with Dementia stay active and socialise.

Of course, the great outdoors is available at any time. Alongside walks in your local area, Peterborough and its surroundings have many sights of natural beauty to offer the community. Ferry Meadows Country Park is an area of outstanding beauty not far from your front door.

Have an Adventure

If you’d like to take a trip with your loved one, but are worried about places being equipped to care for someone with Dementia, help is at hand. Dementia Adventure is a charity that helps carers and their loved ones get out in nature. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with your family in new ways, and help your loved one enjoy a new, fulfilling experience.

Creating a structured timetable for your day helps ensure loved ones are given the opportunity to take part in motivating activities, and can make life easier for you as carer. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website for example plans and tips on structuring a routine that works for you and your loved one.

Two thirds of people with Dementia live at home. Ensuring your loved one has the right support, whether that’s dropping in to check on them or helping them make home adaptations, can extend the time they’re able to enjoy living independently.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with Dementia, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here, we’ll explore the practical steps you can take to make living with Dementia more manageable.

Know What Support You’re Entitled To

Before you try and take on everything yourself, it’s worth exploring the support that’s out there for Dementia patients and their families. Your local GP, Memory Clinic or Adult Social Services will be able to help you organise a Community Care Assessment and (if relevant) Carer’s Assessment. In the early stages, these can recommend adjustments to the home to support independent living.

Depending on your situation, and whether as patient or carer you face many demands on your time (such as a dependent family or a full time job), you may also be entitled to services like respite care or day care.

Carers Trust is a good place to look for support if you need respite care, or to find emergency care if you’re suddenly unable to provide it.

Home Adaptations

Even if you or your loved one’s Dementia is in the early stages, it’s helpful to make home adaptations so the process doesn’t become overwhelming later down the line.

Making Things Easy to Find

Most of the home adaptations that help a person with Dementia don’t require any spending. In case of memory loss, make sure everything you use on a daily basis is in an easy to reach, clearly labelled cupboard. Another easy dementia support idea is leaving doors to different rooms open. This can help an easily disoriented person find their way around the house.

Tackling Forgetfulness

It’s helpful to leave memory jogging reminders for things likely to be forgotten, such as a note to remember keys by the front door or to turn off the tap in the bathroom.

To avoid forgetfulness leading to more serious problems, ensure the house is fitted with gas and smoke alarms. It’s also possible to buy flood detectors for earlier warnings that taps might have been left on upstairs.

If you or your loved one takes medication, using a pill dispenser with day or time sections can help keep on track. You can even buy pill dispensers with an alarm that reminds you when it’s time to take the next one.

Home Safety

To maintain general safety at home and reduce the risk of a fall, there are some simple steps to follow. Installing grab bars in the bathroom and investing in a shower stool helps avoid slips. If you aren’t sure where a grab bar would be most effective, suction cup varieties can be installed without tools and moved around to find the best place.

Similarly, bed rails can prevent a loved one falling out of bed during the night and are a useful aid for getting up in the morning. It’s also important to ensure there is a clear path through each room – watch out for rugs or objects at ground level that could be trip hazards.

There are a range of mobility aids to support individuals in getting around inside and outside. A cane is a handy tool to support balance. For those relying heavily on support, quad cans or two-handed walkers are the most stable. Over time, an alternative to assisted living may be moving the bedroom downstairs in the family home, so consider if this is an option for your family.

If a loved one living alone is a real worry, it may be worth investing in a pendant alarm, to ensure they can contact someone in the event of a fall. Bear in mind that this might not suit everyone, so introduce assistive devices with tact, and remember that it’s ultimately a personal decision.

Supporting Memory

A few simple tweaks to daily routines can be a great help to a person living with Dementia. You could organise for a daily paper to be delivered, which acts as a reminder of the date and is an enjoyable pastime. Keeping a diary of events, and having this on display, is a useful reminder of upcoming commitments.

Set up direct debits for any payments that need to be made regularly to avoid forgetting to pay them. You could also arrange for a loved one to make telephone reminders of important dates or events to stay on track.

All these changes won’t take place overnight, and it’s important to be aware of the disorienting impact that making too many changes at once can have. At all stages, keep your loved one informed of what’s happening, and consult them before making adaptations to their home, even if you think they may not be able to understand. Because, ultimately, you want to do what’s best for them.

In the mid to late stages of Dementia, a person’s behaviour and needs may change considerably. This can be distressing both for them and their loved ones, but knowing what to expect can help you prepare you for this moment.

All behaviour is a reaction to something, so try to view any changes in behaviour as a response to a need, rather than being completely random. You may notice the following in your loved one:

  • Lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Withdrawal from the world around them
  • Restlessness
  • Social anxiety
  • Screaming and shouting
  • Repetitive behaviour, or saying the same thing over and over
  • Losing or hoarding objects
  • Loss of inhibitions

There are a number of explanations for these behaviours. An individual who struggles to recognise familiar people and places may feel withdrawn from their society, or become anxious and worried they are in the wrong place. They may become increasingly nervous about trying new things or leaving the home, as they know they may feel disoriented in a new space.

If they are in pain, they may become restless or frustrated as a result. Shouting or wandering about can also be a response to a basic need, such as wanting to use the toilet or being thirsty. A simple dementia support plan can involve monitoring when different behaviours occur, and keeping track of possible triggers. This can help you get a sense of how best to help your loved one.

What You Can Do

In the instance of a recurring behaviour change, it’s important to rule out underlying health conditions that may be part of the cause, so schedule an appointment with your GP.

As carer, you can build your loved one’s self-esteem and feelings of security by planning a structured day with stimulating activities, including something to occupy their mind and physical exercise.

Check out our guide for activities for people with Dementia for some ideas.

Making sure your loved one is comfortable can help prevent unexpected behaviour. Try to reduce background noise and clutter than may be confusing, and ensure they have a comfortable, familiar place to sit and sleep.

A sudden outburst in behaviour is a result of genuine pain or distress, so needs to be treated as such. Try asking your loved one how you can help them in a calm, low, voice. Being there to reassure them may be enough to soothe them. It can help to hold their hand or place a hand on their arm to act as a calming presence.

Sometimes, giving yourself space and stepping away from the problem is all that can be done. Giving you and your loved one a breather, and coming back to activities later on, can be enough to reset the behaviour.

The advice for maintaining a healthy lifestyle with Dementia is the same for those in any state of health: eat well, spend time out in the open, and exercise. To a carer, however, this may seem like a lot to ask for! In this guide, we’ll give you some tips on how to help your loved one maintain a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle with Dementia. And, if the need arises, we can provide dementia home care to support you and your loved one.

Get Moving

Taking part in physical activity isn’t just mentally stimulating – it helps ward off low mood and depression, as well as reducing the risk of developing other health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

If your loved one enjoyed taking part in a regular fitness or sports group before Dementia, explore whether this is something they could continue. Would it be possible to arrange transport for them, or to have a friend within the group buddy up with them and make sure they’re comfortable?

For those unsure where to begin, there’s a great range of exercise and activity groups aimed at people with Dementia in the Peterborough area. The Dementia Resource Centre offers chair yoga classes as well as sessions named ‘Oomph!’, which are engaging activity groups for people with Dementia. These specially crafted sessions are designed to be fun and accessible for all.

Stay Mentally Active

Having a range of mentally stimulating activities is key to leading a fulfilling and meaningful life. While some activities that you used to enjoy together may be too complex for people with advanced Dementia, there are plenty of ways to encourage loved ones to get involved.

Your loved one might enjoy being read the paper or other favourite books and discussing current events. Creative activities like cooking, crafting or gardening are mentally stimulating, as well as being an opportunity for carers to bond with their loved one over a shared interest.

As with physical activity, support is at hand if you’re lost for ways to entertain your loved one. The Dementia Resource Centre hosts ‘knit and knatter’ sessions, designated women’s and men’s activity groups and ‘Singing for the Brain’, an informal choral group for people with Dementia and their carers. Scheduling a range of mentally stimulating activities promotes the positive wellbeing of your loved one, as well as making your day as carer more enjoyable.

Tips for Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet has a positive impact on mood and energy levels, as well as reducing the risk of developing health problems associated with being over or underweight or poor nutrition. As a carer, you can help your loved one stay in their best health by guiding them in terms of food choices.

The advice in terms of what to eat isn’t rocket science: limit foods that are high in fat or salt, and avoid processed foods and high sugar options as much as possible. Emphasis should be placed on eating a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

If eating is a challenge, there are some steps to take to make the process easier and more enjoyable. Try and make the environment as natural and inviting as possible, letting your loved one have a role in food preparation and choose when, where and what they eat (within reason). Limit visual and noise distractions during eating, so that the individual is able to focus on their food. It may help to eat with them and turn mealtimes into a social occasion.

Being mindful of a loved one’s health is especially important where Dementia is concerned, as they may be unable to articulate their needs, or recognise when they need medical help. With your support, a person with Dementia can continue to enjoy their best physical health for as long as possible.

In most cases of Dementia, there will come a time when a person is unable to continue living completely independently. As sad and disappointing as this is, it’s important to be aware of the different dementia care options available to you or your loved one, so that, when the time comes, you’re as ready for the next stage as possible.

Here we’ll explore the main options available for long term care for individuals with Dementia, and help you decide which is the best option for you.

Home Care

Many people live happy, independent lives with Dementia. Home care can prolong this stage for as long as possible by providing additional support where it’s needed, without restricting independence, or forcing an individual to move out of their home.

Dementia home care can support an individual with Dementia by providing companionship and helping them with day to day tasks that might otherwise make living at home too challenging, such as preparing food or looking after pets. Our home care services are flexible, so this is a great choice if you anticipate your care needs changing over time.

If your loved one has Dementia and you personally are unable to provide the care they need, enlisting the support of home care gives you the peace of mind that your loved one is well looked after, while still able to enjoy their home comforts. In the early stages of Dementia, home care enables users to bridge the gap to independent living.

To learn more about our home care services, click here.

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered housing is an option to consider if staying in your own home would require long term round the clock home care, or if you or a loved one has Dementia and is particularly isolated in their current home.

Sheltered housing properties can be bought or rented, and are usually part of larger retirement villages. Individuals live separately and have their own personal space, but with the benefit of access to 24 hour support if it’s needed. Another benefit of sheltered housing is that there’s usually a ready made community available with access to social activities. This is ideal if your loved one feels lonely in their current setting, but may not suit those who value their independence and current lifestyle in their community.

Care Homes

For those with advanced Dementia, living independently may not be possible. Alongside permanent live in home care, it’s worth considering if a care home is the right option for your family. Care homes provide the peace of mind that you or a loved one will always be taken care of, as well as having access to social facilities, meals and activities. The obvious downside of this is that it involves leaving the family home and sacrificing some independence.

If you do feel that this route is the best for your family, be sure to visit the care provider with your loved one several times to get as accurate a feel as possible for what it’s like. Visiting care homes at mealtimes, weekends and late in the evening, as well as talking to staff, can give you a better sense of what life would be like as a resident.

Respite Care

Even the most devoted carers aren’t superhuman. Respite care is a valuable resource to prevent carer burnout, ensuring you’re able to continue providing the best care for your loved one. Respite carers may spend a day, weekend or longer with your loved one while you take a break to recharge your own wellbeing. As well as leaving carers feeling refreshed, this is also an opportunity for individuals with Dementia to socialise with new people and enjoy a change of scene or new experience.

You can learn more about Greenwood’s Respite care services here.

They were fantastic, they are always on the end of the phone when I need help

Jane M

Review – Homecare.co.uk

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Client

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Get in touch

Leave your details and we’ll contact you to answer any questions and schedule your care assessment at your convenience. Alternatively you can email hello@greenwoodhomecare.co.uk or call one of our offices:

Peterborough 01733 808531
Grantham 01476 849522
Cambridge 01223 850938

Home Assessment

We will agree a time to come and visit you in your own home. We will take the time to fully understand your care needs, and provide recommendations as to what type of care is required.

Care delivery

Once agreed, we will begin to deliver the care. Whether hourly, live-in, or night care, we will endeavour to deliver the best possible care.

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