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Winter has a tendency to make the symptoms of dementia worse than they
already are.
If you have loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s, you may have noted their
increased agitation, distress and general detachment during the winter. A long-
standing theory, research has concluded that the winter weather has a direct
impact on the symptoms of dementia.
Specifically, experts have pinpointed four reasons why shorter days and
unpleasant weather can adversely affect individuals with dementia:

Heightened risk of depression

When the human brain is starved of natural light, the risk of developing
depression intensifies. Depression associated with the changing seasons is
known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can have a particularly
heavy impact on dementia sufferers.

Disrupted sleep patterns

During the winter, the early onset of darkness and the later rising of the sun can
wreak havoc with our internal body clocks. Longer nights potentially confuse
the brain as to when it should and should not be asleep. This can lead to
disrupted sleep patterns and lower quality of sleep, which can cause significant
problems for patients with dementia.

Visual problems

The confusion and disorientation associated with dementia are worsened by
visual problems. Darkness can lead to disorientation and frustration –
particularly in those already experiencing visuospatial symptoms. Darker days
and longer nights often bring visual problems for dementia patients, which only
stand to exacerbate their symptoms further.

Cold temperatures

When the body is exposed to cold temperatures, it is forced to produce
additional heat and energy for its protection. This can leave a person feeling
tired and drained, while at the same time heightening their risk of contracting
winter illnesses. Once again, an even greater threat and issue for those who
suffer from dementia.

Addressing the Issues

Unfortunately, there isn’t a thing any of us can do to change the seasons.
Instead, it’s a case of doing whatever we can to help those affected by dementia
cope with the winter weather.

Maximise exposure to natural light

Where possible, ensure that the affected individual enjoys at least a short period
of direct exposure to natural light each day. Even if it’s simply a quick walk
outdoors, exposure to natural light can reduce stress and enhance a person’s
mood rapidly.

Vitamin D supplements

Seasonal Affective Disorder may be exacerbated by the human body’s
starvation of vitamin D during the winter months. When the ‘sunshine vitamin’
isn’t available from the sun itself, supplementation could prove helpful.

Create a routine

The confusion and disorientation associated with shorter days can be effectively
addressed by creating a routine. When a dementia patient understands what’s
happening and when it should be happening, they’re far less likely to succumb
to panic, confusion or depression.

Avoid boredom

Last but not least, providing plenty of entertainment can be a great way of
helping dementia patients through the winter. Boredom is the worst enemy of
anyone at risk of depression, anxiety or agitation. Simply providing personable
company for dementia patients can be one of the best ways of staving off
harmful boredom.

As expected, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a 2018/2019 budget
that did little to reassure the care industry and its users.
Falling outside the government’s pledged NHS spending commitment, the
Chancellor committed additional funds to social care for both this year’s budget
and the 2019/2020 budget. Prior to this, the government had previously
committed to the provision of funding worth £240 million for social care and
support via local charities. The idea is that through additional spending, more
NHS beds would be freed over the winter months by providing more effective
and accessible care in the community.

In addition, £240 million in winter pressures money was promised by the
Chancellor to councils across the country for the 2019/2020 year.
The above comes alongside a further £410m in social care funds pledged to
councils across the UK for the same 2019/2020 year. The funds have been
earmarked to improve social care services for children and the elderly alike.
However, it has been left to the local authorities themselves to make difficult
decisions as to how these budgets are allocated and prioritised. Going by current
spending patterns, this would mean that the total increase in social care
spending over the next year will come out at 2.9%.

Advocates have praised this 2.9% real-terms increase as welcome news for the
social care system in the UK. However, critics have pointed out how the 2.9%
increase doesn’t come close to augmenting rising pressures of 3.7% annually. It
has also been labelled insufficient spending commitment to address essential
quality improvement requirements that perpetuate across Britain’s social care
Additional pressure is likely to be placed on local authorities due to rising staff
costs, which are increasing at a much faster rate than inflation. The national
living wage is once again set to increase from £7.93 today to £8.21 in April next
year. This alone will have a marked impact on the extent to which the
government’s 2.9% spending increase makes any real difference for the social
care sector.

Recent calculations by economists project a social care spending gap of at least
£1.5 billion by 2020/2021. Even with a further £55 million in disabled facilities
spending, it’s unlikely the Chancellor’s budget will make so much as a dent in
the growing deficit.

As for what all of this means for the British public, adults and elderly care costs
look set to rise once again. Care homes across the UK may have little choice but
to significantly increase costs, in order to cover their own rising expenses. If the
money isn’t provided courtesy of the government, it needs to come from
somewhere – directly from the pockets of residents and customers.

This is unlikely to resonate positively with those who already struggle to meet
the  costs of professional care. It also goes some way to explain the
growing popularity of at-home care, as an affordable alternative to permanent
residence in a care facility.

There’s still technically time for modifications to the Chancellor’s budget to be
finalised and implemented. At this point in time, however, the likelihood of this
occurring is minimal.

According to research undertaken for Age UK in 2017, almost 5 million people aged 65 or over in the UK believe that they have been targeted by scammers. Additionally, the National Trading Standards Scams team report that the average age of postal fraud victims is 75 years old.

For those with elderly parents who may be more vulnerable, it can be extremely worrying if you believe that fraudsters are looking to take advantage.

Warning signs that an older person is being targeted

While in some cases, your elderly relative may not even be aware that they are being scammed, there are some signals that you can watch out for. Some indications can include

  • Evidence of large unexplained cash withdrawals or cheque payments
  • They are short of money when that should not be the case
  • They have a larger than usual amount of post or letters around the house
  • They are becoming secretive about their finances
  • They are upset or anxious and won’t disclose why


Type of fraud committed against elderly people

Doorstep Scams

Doorstep scams can range from a person trying to gain access to your relatives home by way of appearing at the front door as a utility worker or tradesperson with the aim of burglary, or to hard sell products that are neither wanted nor needed, to rogue traders who tell your relative that there is urgent work that needs to be carried out, such as window or boiler replacement which is not actually required.

How to avoid them

Speak to your relative about the risks of distraction crimes and rogue traders, this will help them to make better decisions about when and when not to answer their door. On a practical level, it can be worth working with your parent to create a ‘script’ that they use when someone is trying to pressurize them into buying – such as ‘I never make a decision without consulting my solicitor’ or ‘I don’t ever use a trader without properly checking them out first’. In some cases, it can also be worth investing in either a real or even fake CCTV camera over a front door.

Postal Fraud

Postal scam letters tend to grab attention by telling the reader that they have won a prize, or have been chosen to take part in a great money-making or investment scheme. They can be written in a way that looks likes they come from a reputable company, bank or authority, so it can be difficult to identify that they are, in fact, a scam.

How to avoid postal fraud

Tell your relatives to never respond to any request for money that comes through the post. If the letter appears to be from somewhere offical, such as their bank or pension provider, tell them to contact them directly (not through any contact numbers given on the letter) to verify. You can also register with the Mailing Preference Service to help to avoid getting junk mail.

Email Scams

While most people are aware of email scams where the sender asks for money, tactics are getting more sophisticated. Fraudsters may send emails that appear to be from your relative’s bank, utility provider, or in some cases send emails from fake PayPal pages, or send invoice requests.

How to help your loved one to avoid email scams

Ensure that their computer is protected by the latest security and antivirus software to help to prevent them from downloading or clicking links from sites that are likely to be scammers. If they receive an email from a bank or institution, like with the postal scams, ensure that they contact them directly by telephone on the established phone number (not the one provided on the email). Most importantly, make sure that they are aware that these types of scam exist.

Investment and Pension Fraud

A fifth of elderly people who have fallen prey to investment scams, don’t actually report them, which sadly exacerbates the issue. There are a wide number of investment scams, and the elderly are particularly targeted as they tend to be focussed on their financial affairs.

Avoiding investment and pension scammers

To avoid your parents or other relatives falling for this type of scam, it’s vital that you keep your lines of communication open. Speak to them regularly about the types of scam out there and ensure that you speak to them about their investments if you can.

Telephone Scams

Telephone scammers are getting smarter. In addition to high pressure selling tactics, they can also use the telephone to try and get hold of personal details such as banking information and passwords. They may pretend to be a utility provider and suggest that the service is about to be cut off, or crueller still, pose as the bank and suggest that there has been a fraud commited on the account and they need the details from your relative to solve it.

Helping elderly relatives to avoid telephone scams

Ensure that your relatives are aware of just how sophisticated telephone fraudsters are. Tell them never to give out password information over the telephone. They can also register with the Telephone Preference Service to help to eradicate nuisance or fraudulent calls.


Find your next job in nursing

If you are a nurse who’s looking for their next role Secure Healthcare Solutions offer a nursing agency service in Birmingham and across the West Midlands and beyond. We have a wide range of temporary and permanent roles available and offer a wealth of benefits.

Our nursing vacancies cover a wide range of nursing practice, and we have roles available both in NHS and private settings such as care homes, nursing people in their own home, and within the prison service.

While our available roles change often, below are just some of the typical types of nursing jobs and placements we have on a regular basis.


Adult Nurse Roles

Being an adult nurse can be a rewarding career, where in certain circumstances, you can very much get to know your patients on a one to one basis. At Secure Healthcare Solutions, we have a wide range of adult nursing jobs which become available on a regular basis. From taking care of patients in their own home, to working in a busy hospital ward.


Mental Health Nurse Jobs

We are always looking for registered mental health nurses to cover a range of roles across care and nursing homes in the West Midlands. We offer flexible shifts, a referral scheme, and other benefits. If you are MAPPA qualified, take a look at some of our mental health nursing jobs. 


Theatre Nurses

Whether you are a general theatre nurse or a specialist in an area such as surgery or anesthetics, we often have a requirement to fill jobs for theatre nurses for roles in both NHS and private settings. Assisting with all elements of the surgical process, our theatre nurse roles offer you the flexibility to work in a range of settings.






With the costs of residential care homes for the elderly increasing, a huge number of people are now considering care at home services to allow their relatives, parents and spouses to be cared for in their own environment.

Being looked after at home can be incredibly beneficial for those who need support – being in familiar surrounding can help with feeling comfortable, and also combat symptoms of dementia. For families who realise that a loved one is in need of care, it can also be comforting to know that the person requiring care will be looked after on a one to one basis.

Is it more expensive to be looked after at home or a care home?

The way in which the funding system works means that in the majority of cases, homeowners have to pay their fees if they go into a care home as anyone with assets worth over £23,250 does not qualify for help with funding. The government will step in once you have used any assets you have to fund your care, including your property, any savings and pensions. With the average cost of a care home in the UK at around £600 per week, your personal assets can dwindle extremely quickly.

If you choose instead to receive care at home, you pay for your care in a slightly different way. You are still entitled to financial support from the government, which is paid to you in the form of benefits.

The value of your property is excluded from the means testing process, meaning that you can still qualify for funding if your non-property assets are above the threshold.

Why are care homes so Expensive?

The care industry is facing somewhat of a crisis. Just like any other household, they are met with increasing costs for items such as food, electricity and gas, but also face the challenges of rising wage bills, insurances and rents. Due to the way in which care homes receive funding from those residents who are not self-funded, they are often raising the costs for those who are paying for themselves in order to subsidise what is received from the local authority.

Is care at home affordable for me?

The answer is, it depends. If you are thinking about care at home for you or a loved one, it’s worth considering talking to a care at home agency in your area. The costs will very much depend on the needs of the person who requires care, and a good agency will undertake a full assessment to put together a tailored care plan for you.

As care homes have additional overheads that just don’t apply in your own home, the hourly rates for care at home can be much more affordable than in a care or nursing home.

Care at Home in the West Midlands

If you are looking for a care home provider in the West Midlands, Secure Healthcare Solutions can help. We offer a range of tailored care at home services including nursing care, respite care, and help with cooking and companionship. Whatever your needs, we are here to assist.


When newly qualified, it can be daunting to put together your very first nursing CV. Whether it’s a case of being unsure of what counts as experience, how long your CV should be, and what qualities that you have which you should cover, there are several factors to consider when putting together your first nursing CV.

Introduction to your nursing CV

Firstly, don’t fall into the trap of not putting the most relevant information first. At the top of your CV, ensure that you state when you graduated/are due to graduate, the title of the qualification, and also your NMC pin number if you have it – or when you expect to recieve it. This shows potential employers that you are eligible to work as a nurse and that this is a serious application.

Also, ensure that clear contact information is provided – your name, address, email, and contact number are important. If you are coming from overseas, ensure that you state if your current visa allows you to work in the UK.

How to show nursing experience on your CV when newly qualified

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, because this is your first time looking for nursing roles, that you dont have any experience. The fact is – you have lots! You will have learnt a lot when studying – from your lectures to your dissertation, you will have gained a wealth of knowledge.

Additionally, your nursing placements would have also given you first hand experience of caring for patients in a range of settings.

Ensure you highlight the most relevant experience

The trick to ensuring that your CV is noticed by your potential employer is to ensure that, when highlighting your experience, that you match the most relevant parts of the role which you are applying for.

Present relevant competencies such as the equipment you have used, the settings you have worked in, and the procedures you have undertaken and as far as possible match them to the nursing job description.

Don’t include unnecessary information

Keep your nursing CV concise and to the point. While it’s a good idea to include a brief personal statement which tells the reader a bit about you, try to avoid the CV cliches of listing attributes such as being ‘a good team player’. Instead, demonstrate this through your previous experience.

Proof Read!

Once you are happy with the content of your CV, ensure that you check it through for spelling or grammatical errors. Where possible, get a second person to take a look too, as it’s easy to miss your mistakes when you have been working on your CV for a while.

How to find a nursing role

So your CV is all set and ready to go! How do you go about finding your first nursing role? The ways to find nursing jobs are varied, and it can very much depend on what area you wish to specialise in.

If you are looking for an NHS nursing role – you can look on their website, to find suitable roles.

Jobs boards often advertise a range of nursing jobs, in a diverse range of areas, though it can be difficult to filter out the wheat from the chafe when searching.

It can be worth signing up instead to a nursing agency. 

If you are looking for your first nursing role in the West Midlands, Secure Healthcare Solutions have a wide range of nursing jobs available. 


It’s officially the start of summer, and while many of us enjoy the warmer weather, with temperatures set to soar in the coming weeks, it’s also a time when those who are elderly or vulnerable may be at risk.

The fact is, there are some groups who are more vulnerable to extreme weather conditions than most, which includes, the very old or very young, those who have mobility issues, sufferers of chronic health conditions including heart and respiratory issues, and those with extreme mental health issues.

During extremely hot weather older people can suffer effects on their health and can be more vulnerable to illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke and dehydration.

At Secure Healthcare solutions, all of our staff are trained to take extra care of you, or your loved ones in the heat, but here are some tips to help you to protect anyone who may be vulnerable this summer.

Keeping the Home Cool

Ideally, your home should be no hotter than around 21 degrees to promote good health. Investing in electric fans, and ensuring that they are placed in areas that will keep you/your loved one cool. Keep curtains drawn in times of direct sunlight to help to keep rooms as shaded as possible, and wherever you can, try and avoid metallic blinds which conduct further heat. Ideally where possible maintain a steady flow of air around the home, by opening windows and doors, but keeping in mind the safety of any vulnerable person within the home, and the security risks.

Hydration For Vulnerable People

It’s essential to stay hydrated when the weather is extreme. If the person you care for has mobility issues, ensure that there is fresh water nearby, and consider keeping ice chips available for those who have trouble drinking. Consider having alternatives like ice lollies, or juices available. It’s very easy for a vulnerable person to become dehydrated without letting you know, so consider things like setting timers to remind them/you to drink.

Keeping Safe in the Sun

It’s strongly advisable that anyone, vulnerable or not, stays out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, the hottest parts of the day. If you are going out with a vulnerable adult, or child, ensure that they have adequate sun protection in the form of suncream of a high SPF factor, appropriate hats to keep shade on the face, and stay in the shade where possible.

Cooling Down

During those particularly hot and humid times, there are some actions you can take to keep you or your loved one cool. For quick relief, running wrists or ankles under cold water can help to reduce body temperatures and cool down. A cool shower can also help, but where there are mobility issues, consider things like cooling mists or even a water spray to help alleviate the uncomfortable feelings associated with hot weather.

Appropriate Clothing and Bedding

Ensure that loose light clothing is worn, avoiding colours that promote heat, such as black trousers or t-shirts. Also, ensure that bedding is not conducting heat. Light coloured covers and cotton sheets are best. Where possible, move to a lightweight low tog duvet, or even just sheets to ensure that you don’t become overheated in bed.


At Secure Healthcare Solutions, all of our staff are fully trained to deal with caring for you or your family in extreme weather, and take the upmost care to ensure that all of our customers are comfortable and retain dignity in hot weather conditions.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you with your care at home needs.





Dementia is an umbrella term which is used to describe a number of brain conditions that affect cognitive ability.  There are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and this is expected to rise to 1 million by 2025. As the population ages, this is expected to rise to 2 million by 2051.

Dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK, and for those living with dementia and their loved ones, it can be very distressing.

While dementia is a growing issue, there are some steps we can take to try to protect against the disease, which we will explore here.

Sleep and Dementia

Various studies have found a link between a long term lack of sleep and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact a recent study has shown that one night of sleep deprivation can increase the levels of a protein that puts you at risk.

It is therefore advisable to try and maintain a regular sleep schedule. Try and go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even the weekends, so keep a regular sleep pattern. Avoid eating or exercising within 2 hours of going to bed, and ensure that sleep disorders are well treated.

Best Food to Eat to Avoid Dementia

There is a range of evidence to show that your diet can very much help to protect your brain against cognitive decline. Diets such as the MIND diet, and also the Mediterranean diet are suggested as being useful to ensure good brain health.

Eating food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish, combined with healthy greens, lentils, pulses and whole grains can help you to protect against dementia.

Stress and Dementia

Being exposed to prolonged periods of stress can be linked to an increased risk of dementia. When we are stressed for a long time, the body releases cortisol which can damage the immune system which is known to play a part in developing dementia. Stress is also linked to depression, a second risk factor in developing the disease.

Making changes to lifestyle to avoid stress can be very beneficial for your brain. Things, like taking more exercise if you are able, practising mindfulness, plus making practical changes to avoid stressful situations, can be helpful.

Exercise to Avoid Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50%.

Ideally one should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 times per week, doing a mixture of cardio and weight training. However, if you are new to exercise, things, like wearing a fitness tracker and just heading outdoors a few times per day, can be very beneficial.

Keep Your Brain Active to Avoid Dementia

Of course, one of the best ways to ensure that brain function does not dimish is by keeping it regularly ‘exercised’. This can take  the form of constant learning, whether through books, online or by taking a class. A higher level of education is linked with better mental functioning in old age, so it’s very much worth ensuring that you keep mentally active.




When you are looking for care at home services for yourself or a family member, it’s understandable that you want to ensure that you are finding the agency who will provide the best possible care. With many care agencies to choose from, it can be daunting trying to work out who will be the right provider for you, so here we explore some questions to ask, that will help you to come to the right decision.

Do you have carers that can help with the type of care that I need?

It’s vital that your care at home provider has staff who are able to deal correctly with the needs of you or your loved one. It is a truth that all people are different, and in the case of care at home, needs vary from simple help with everyday things that may have become difficult as the body gets older, to complex care needs that require a specialist nurse or healthcare worker.

What checks do you undertake on your carers?

You of course want to be assured that you are in the best possible hands, after all, you are inviting a care worker into your home. Ask your agency what background checks are undertaken on their care providers, including if a DBS is undertaken, and what types of references are provided.

Will you undertake an assessment on my or my relative’s needs?

To be able to offer a truly personalised service, your care at home agency should offer to undertake a full assessment of your requirements.

Are you able to provide 24 hour care?

For many people who require care at home, services are needed around the clock. As your agency not only if they are able to provide care at all hours, but what support is available in the event of any issues.

Will I get the same member of staff looking after me each time?

It’s very important that you feel comfortable with the person who will be taking care of you, after all, you may spend a lot of time with them, therefore it may be far better for you if you see the same one or two carers regularly. Ask your agency if you will be provided with the same carers each time.

At Secure Healthcare Solutions, we work with you to find the best carer to suit your needs. We understand that everyone is different, and that is why we offer a tailored care plan, that is completely individual to you and your needs.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.


Secure Healthcare solutions are pleased to announce that we are now offering care at home services in the Derby area.

Whatever your needs, our fully trained, compassionate and expert carers can assist.

Our care at home services offer you, or your loved one the choice to stay at home with support which is completely tailored to your needs. Whether you are looking for help around the house for those little jobs that are too demanding or require 24-hour care at home, we are here to help.

Here are some of the solutions we can offer

Respite Care in Derby

Undertaking care of a loved one can be demanding. Our respite care services allow you to take a break, while knowing that the person you care for will be looked after in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home.

From a few hours to a few weeks, Secure Healthcare solutions can offer you a tailored solution for respite care for you.

Personal Care at Home – Derby Area

When facing illness or mobility issues, it can be difficult to carry out activities that you had previously performed easily. Our care services are there the help support you with everyday living so that you can remain at home, just with a little help. Our carers understand your need to maintain dignity, and will always assist you with the upmost respect, ensuring that you feel comfortable at all times.

Complex Care at Home Services

Our complex care is a one to one service specifically tailored for those who are affected by complex health conditions including

  • Ventilator dependencies
  • Acquired brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental health conditions
  • Dementia
  • Neurological disorders
  • Paediatric care needs
  • Palliative care needs

Our highly trained staff including clinical nurses can help you or a loved one with these needs. Whether you require round the clock assistance, or someone to check in a few times our day, our excellent carers can help you.

Why Choose Secure Healthcare Solutions?

Choosing Secure Healthcare as your homecare provider means that you will have a personalised service which is completely tailored to your needs. We pride ourselves on treating our clients with the same care, kindness and dignity with which we would expect our family to be treated.