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There are more than one million people in the traditional care system. They live full-time in care homes and nursing homes. Some pay for their care, others receive help from their local authority. But there are other options to these more traditional forms of care.

Moving in with a carer

In recent years, councils have become increasingly involved in shared-lives schemes – paying individuals to provide care, including personal care, in their own home. Providers are regulated and used to provide short breaks for family carers as well as full-time arrangements. More than 13,000 people benefit from shared lives, including those with learning disabilities and mental health problems as well as older people. Of the 150 schemes in the country, two-thirds are run by councils, with the rest provided by the voluntary sector.

Home share and befriending

The price of property has prompted growing interest in home-share arrangements – someone who can provide help moving in with an older person who has space free in their house. The carer provides only basic support such as shopping, cleaning or gardening, not personal care, in return for accommodation that is free or for a small rent. There are now about 20 home-share schemes in the UK, helping several hundred older people.

Another popular idea in a similar vein – older people are linked up, usually by a charity, with a volunteer who provides companionship and some low-level support, such as shopping and trips out.

Home Care or Care at Home

Living independently at home is something most of us would like to do for as long as possible. When that time comes to make the decision to ask for extra support to continue to live independently as much as possible, our home care services are tailored for exactly that. Home care  can be arranged on an hourly, daily, weekly basis or a much longer plan to suit your needs.

Home care supports activities of daily living . At home care services allow adults to receive day-to-day help with the personal care they need, preserving their dignity and maintaining a good quality of life. Assistance with activities of daily living can include bathing, grooming, and medication reminders

Costs aside, one-to-one home care offers a number of substantial benefits over residential nursing home care, both for the care recipient and for their family. One-to-one home care provides innumerable benefits, including: The maintenance of your independence and freedom to live life as you choose.

Retirement villages

Unlike in a care home, retirement-village residents usually buy an apartment on the site, although in some schemes they can part-buy or even rent the property. Residents bring their own furniture, decorate as they wish, and are free to have friends and family come to stay. Most villages allow pets to come too. They can also pay for care and support services, which are on-site, as and when they need them.

The properties have been designed to keep the individual living independently as long as possible and so can be kitted out with alarms, fall sensors and easily accessible showers. Such complexes are popular in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, but have yet to completely take off in the UK. There are fewer than 30,000 units in the UK – Australia has six times more – with the highest concentration in the affluent South East.

Sheltered housing

There are many different types of sheltered-housing schemes. Some will have a warden, living on or off the premises, and all provide 24-hour emergency help through an alarm system. Rented accommodation is usually self-contained, but there are often communal areas, such as the lounge, laundry room and garden.

Many schemes run social events for residents. For those needing more support, extra-care sheltered housing may be available where residents can have personal care and meals provided. Most schemes are run by councils or housing associations, and there are often waiting lists for places.

Adapt your home

Equipment can be provided by councils or brought privately to make it easier for older people to live in their house for longer.Traditional aids such as stair lifts and grab rails are still popular, but technology has opened up a whole host of other options, from flood detectors to sensors that raise the alarm when the individual does not move around their property normally.

Councils and the NHS are also investing in ” telehealth ” and ” telecare ” technology, including devices to remind people to take medication and ways for carers and health staff to remotely monitor things such as blood pressure.

Relying on family and friends

By far the most popular option is family and friends. An estimated 1.5 million older people rely on them for their care needs.The care provided can be pretty substantial. A third of carers provide more than 100 hours a week of care, with many of the carers older people themselves. Sometimes this is supplemented by formal help from councils, but surveys suggest that is decreasing.

However, the pressure is having an impact on the health and wellbeing of those providing the care. Six in 10 older carers who provide 50 or more hours of care a week say their health is not good.

If you wish to learn more about how we can support you, please contact us and let one of our advisers come to see you and your family for a more detailed plan on how we can support you.

Despite promising results in an earlier trial, people taking the experimental drug intepirdine in the Phase III MINDSET trial did not see any substantial benefits in memory and thinking compared to those who took a placebo. These disappointing results feel like yet another setback, but Dr Clare Walton our Research Communications Manager explains why we should still be optimistic.

A drug to manage the symptoms of dementia

Intepirdine was being tested as an add-on to existing Alzheimer’s medications. It wasn’t expected to slow down the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s, but based on earlier studies, researchers were hopeful that it would go further than the existing drugs to help people cope with the symptoms of dementia.

Given that we haven’t seen a drug approved for any form of dementia since 2002, new approaches to treat the symptoms and to slow the disease are both urgently needed.

Over 1000 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease took part in the trial. They took either the experimental drug or a placebo every day for 6 months, on top of a stable daily dose of donepezil, the most common treatment for Alzheimer’s.

At the end of the study, there were no significant differences in memory and thinking abilities between those who took the drug and those who took the placebo. There were also no improvements in how well people were able to complete their daily activities such as dressing, cooking and using public transport.

The conclusion – that intepirdine does not work as a new drug for people with Alzheimer’s.

Broadening the focus of drug discovery

It’s true that drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease has been riddled with negative results, but this latest failure isn’t a reason to lose hope. Up until now, most Alzheimer’s drug research has focused on a very narrow range of targets. Drugs in development have either focused on the build-up of amyloid plaques, or have tried to change the imbalance of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. This is what intepirdine does.

Although we know both of these mechanisms are important in Alzheimer’s, we also know of several other pathways that go wrong and contribute to disease progression. Alzheimer’s Society has recently committed £50m as a founding funder of the UK Dementia Research Institute, which will fund over 400 scientists to investigate the underlying causes of all forms of dementia. By exploring a much wider range of disease mechanisms, their research aims to unlock the doors to many alternative treatment approaches.

Dementia Research Institute graphic
Plans for the UK Dementia Research Institute

 

Researchers within the UK Dementia Research Institute, and indeed across our £30m research portfolio, are looking into a number of exciting leads. These include: the critical role that cells and chemicals of the immune system play in dementia; the way in which connections between brain cells are disrupted early in the disease; what changes in the complex relationship between blood vessels and brain cells as dementia takes hold; and more exploratory work such as the role of sleep and gut bacteria in predisposing people to dementia.

Working across these diverse research areas and casting our net more widely should dramatically increase our chances of finding new drugs that really work.

Dr Doug Brown, our Director of Research and Development, said: ‘The UK Dementia Research Institute is a ground-breaking initiative that could not have arrived at a better time. As the number of people living with dementia in the UK is set to reach 1 million by 2021, the stakes are too high to fail.’

Time is of the essence

Of course for people living with dementia now, time is still the most important issue. With another drug failure comes the disappointment that it will be a few years before we see the next promising drug trial deliver its results. While we wait, we need to look at ways to shortcut the drug development process – which is the focus of our Drug Discovery programme. It tests whether drugs already in use for other health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or high blood pressure, can work for people with dementia too, potentially reducing development time in half.

We’re also investing heavily into care research that looks at non-pharmacological ways to help people with dementia manage their symptoms and to be supported to live in their communities as well as possible for as long as possible.

 

People with dementia and their carers talk about the everyday challenges they face in living well with dementia. … Although help from health and care services is vitally important, making it possible for people affected by dementia to live well will require help from people and organisations across society.

Dementia Friendly Communities is a programme which facilitates the creation of dementia-friendly communities across the UK. Everyone, from governments and health boards to the local corner shop and hairdresser, share part of the responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.

What is a dementia-friendly community?

We need to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included, and that they can confidently contribute to community life.

Everyone, from governments and health boards, to the local corner shop and hairdresser, have a responsibilty to make sure people with dementia feel active, engaged and valued.

We need sustained national leadership and grassroots action on dementia to create a dementia-friendly Britain. At Alzheimer’s Society, we’ve set up a defined process for communities and businesses to gain recognition for their work in becoming dementia friendly.

How to become a recognised dementia-friendly community

Recognition processes enables communities to be publicly recognised for their work towards becoming dementia-friendly. It was built around seven criteria. These criteria were developed around what is important to people affected by dementia and their carers, and consists of an online development programme and annual reporting requirements.

Look at the documents for the seven criterias to learn more about what is expected of communities registering for recognition

Dementia Friendly Business Pilot

As well as looking at how people with dementia live in their local communities, we’re leading work on helping businesses support dementia friendly communities. Piloted by industry leaders including British Gas and Sainsbury’s, this work will define and implement how employers can best support their employees, customers or clients who are living with dementia. This is providing the best practice examples, with the view to rolling out a framework for achieving this on a national level.

The brains of SuperAgers (those 80 years old and older whose memories are as sharp as healthy people in their 50s and 60s) shrink much slower than their age-matched peers, resulting in a greater resistance to ‘typical’ memory loss and dementia, a new path-breaking study that shows.

 

This is a MRI scan of a SuperAger’s brain. The portion between the yellow and red lines is the cortex, which contains neurons. SuperAgers’ cortices shrunk over two times slower than average-age peers’ in a recent Northwestern Medicine study, which may contribute to their superior memory performance.

Credit: Northwestern University

The highly engaged and delightful conversationalist, who reads, volunteers and routinely researches questions on the Internet, is part of a new path-breaking Northwestern Medicine study that shows that SuperAgers’ brains shrink much slower than their age-matched peers, resulting in a greater resistance to “typical” memory loss and dementia.

Over the course of the 18-month study, normal agers lost volume in the cortex twice as fast as SuperAgers, a rare group of people aged 80 and above whose memories are as sharp as those of healthy persons decades younger.

“Increasing age is often accompanied by ‘typical’ cognitive decline or, in some cases, more severe cognitive decline called dementia,” said first author Amanda Cook, a clinical neuropsychology doctoral student in the laboratory of Emily Rogalski and Sandra Weintraub. “SuperAgers suggest that age-related cognitive decline is not inevitable.”The study was published in JAMA. Senior author Emily Rogalski will present the findings at the 2017 Cognitive Aging Summit in Bethesda, Maryland, April 6.SuperAger research at Northwestern is flipping the traditional approach to Alzheimer’s research of focusing on brains that are underperforming to instead focusing on outperforming brains.

” It’s Dementia Awareness Week and we are standing united with @alzheimerssoc against dementia

#DAW2017 #UniteAgainstDementia ” 

Dementia currently affects around 850,000 people in the UK, with a staggering one in 14 people over the age of 65 living with the condition. To coincide with Dementia Awareness Week, running from 14-20 May, get to know the symptoms and causes of the health condition, along with the treatments and how it can possibly be prevented.

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.

“Everyone, from banks and supermarkets to the local corner shop and hairdresser, share responsibility

for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.”

What causes dementia?

There are a number of diseases that result in dementia, with the most common cause being Alzheimer’s disease. This is where an abnormal protein surrounds brain cells and another protein damages their internal structure. Over time the chemical connections between brain cells are lost and cells begin to die.

Another common type of dementia is vascular dementia; this occurs when the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced because of narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, leading to brain cells becoming damaged or dying. The symptoms can occur suddenly, following a stroke, or develop over time after a series of small strokes.

What are the symptoms of dementia?

The different types of dementia can affect people in different ways, especially in the early stages. However many of the problems will be cognitive, and a person with dementia will often have problems with some of the following:

Day-to-day memory: Including difficulty remembering events that happened recently.

Concentrating, planning or organising: This could include having difficulty making decisions, solving problems or carrying out tasks.

Language: A person may have trouble following a conversation or finding the right word for what they want to say.

Orientation: They may lose track of the day or date, or become confused about where they are.

Visuospatial skills: This could include problems judging distances and seeing objects in three dimensions.

A person with dementia will also often have changes to their mood. They may become frustrated, irritable, easily upset or unusually sad. The symptoms will gradually get worse over time as dementia is progressive, however how quickly this happens varies from person to person.

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How is dementia diagnosed?

There is no single test for dementia; a diagnosis is based on a combination of factors, including…

Case history: The doctor will talk to the person and someone who knows them well about how their problems developed and how it is affecting their daily life.

Physical examination and tests: Blood tests and other physical examinations will help doctors to rule out any other possible causes for the person’s symptoms.

Mental ability tests: Some tests may be carried out by a doctor or psychologist to assess a patient’s memory and thinking.

A scan of the brain: This can help to confirm a diagnosis and assess which type of dementia a patient has.

Read more about diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the treatment for dementia?

There is currently no cure for dementia, however there is ongoing research into how to help symptoms or to slow down their progression. Non-drug treatments available include advice, support and therapies for dementia patients. Talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive rehabilitation may help some patients, while people with dementia are also encouraged to stay as active as possible – both mentally and physically.

There are some medications available to dementia patients including memantine, a drug that may be offered in the moderate or severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease to help with attention and daily living. Meanwhile people with vascular dementia are likely to be offered drugs to treat the underlying medical conditions that cause dementia, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart problems.

How can dementia be prevented?

While there is no proven way of preventing dementia, following a healthy and active lifestyle could reduce the risk of developing the condition. This includes maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet, staying active and avoiding excessive alcohol and smoking, which can lead to narrowing of the arteries. It has also been suggested that staying mentally and socially active into later life may reduce a person’s risk of dementia.

Caring for a loved one with dementia ? 

For more information on dementia visit alzheimers.org.uk. If you think that you or anyone you know may have dementia it is important to visit your GP or talk to one of our care professionals at secure healthcare solutions .

How to Get Involved 

As we get older, there are plenty of challenges to overcome. Mobility can be an issue. Your memory could begin to fade. The things you used to take for granted become more difficult. The development of a health problem or a condition such dementia may mean you need someone to watch out for you.

Most of us want to stay in our own home – it’s not only good for mental and physical wellbeing but allows us to stay connected to our local community, the friends and people we’ve shared our space with for so long.

Dementia and increasing frailty as the years go by naturally leads everyone to evaluate what’s best for the future. Decisions about what to do are usually down to close family members who can be torn between keeping mum or dad in their home and making sure they stay as safe and secure, and happy, as possible.

It’s easy to think there’s no real alternative but to move your loved one into a care home where they can receive professional, around the clock attention. For years, it’s been the traditional way we care for our older relatives. But for many people it’s simply not the right solution.

Live-In Carers

There can be numerous reasons why you don’t want to choose the care home option. Mum or dad may well want to stay in the family home for a start. If they’ve lived in the same location for most of their life, why wouldn’t they want to stay? You might be worried the care homes in your area are not up to the right standard or that they cope with too wide a range of residents and won’t be able to give your loved one the attention they need.

Another option is to hire a live-in carer. This is where a professional carer comes into your home and stays in the spare room, catering to your elderly parent’s needs on a full-time basis. While care homes are staffed with compassionate and caring professionals, they can’t normally give the kind of one to one care that older people need.

With a live-in carer, this is exactly what you get.

At Secure Healthcare Solutions we know that care isn’t a once size fits all issue. What works for one person, won’t necessarily be suitable for another. We also know that elderly relatives who remain in the familiar surroundings of their home have a better quality of life than those who find themselves uprooted to a care home.

Letting a stranger into your home to look after your mum or dad can be a big decision, of course. Our selection process is quite involved with a care assessment test and face to face interview as well as on the job monitoring. We make sure that all our staff are fully vetted and have a DBS check. Their job is to build a strong, caring relationship, not just with their ward but those around who have an emotional and familial connection. That’s why we take such care on who comes to work for us.

At Secure Healthcare Solutions, we believe t’s not just about having a full-time carer at home. It’s about the right plan tailored for your needs, getting the perfect match and a carer who essentially becomes a part of the family. Yes, they can handle all medical, health and personal needs but they also provide the companionship that so many of us need in later life.

If you wish to learn more about how we can support you, please contact us and let one of our advisers come to see you and your family for a more detailed plan on how we can support you.

Let us help you get the care you need for the life you want.

As we get older, there are plenty of challenges to overcome. Mobility can be an issue. Your memory could begin to fade. The things you used to take for granted become more difficult. The development of a health problem or a condition such dementia may mean you need someone to watch out for you.

Most of us want to stay in our own home – it’s not only good for mental and physical wellbeing but allows us to stay connected to our local community, the friends and people we’ve shared our space with for so long.

Dementia and increasing frailty as the years go by naturally leads everyone to evaluate what’s best for the future. Decisions about what to do are usually down to close family members who can be torn between keeping mum or dad in their home and making sure they stay as safe and secure, and happy, as possible.

It’s easy to think there’s no real alternative but to move your loved one into a care home where they can receive professional, around the clock attention. For years, it’s been the traditional way we care for our older relatives. But for many people it’s simply not the right solution.

Live-In Carers

There can be numerous reasons why you don’t want to choose the care home option. Mum or dad may well want to stay in the family home for a start. If they’ve lived in the same location for most of their life, why wouldn’t they want to stay? You might be worried the care homes in your area are not up to the right standard or that they cope with too wide a range of residents and won’t be able to give your loved one the attention they need.

Another option is to hire a live-in carer. This is where a professional carer comes into your home and stays in the spare room, catering to your elderly parent’s needs on a full-time basis. While care homes are staffed with compassionate and caring professionals, they can’t normally give the kind of one to one care that older people need.

With a live-in carer, this is exactly what you get.

At Secure Healthcare Solutions we know that care isn’t a once size fits all issue. What works for one person, won’t necessarily be suitable for another. We also know that elderly relatives who remain in the familiar surroundings of their home have a better quality of life than those who find themselves uprooted to a care home.

Letting a stranger into your home to look after your mum or dad can be a big decision, of course. Our selection process is quite involved with a care assessment test and face to face interview as well as on the job monitoring. We make sure that all our staff are fully vetted and have a DBS check. Their job is to build a strong, caring relationship, not just with their ward but those around who have an emotional and familial connection. That’s why we take such care on who comes to work for us.

At Secure Healthcare Solutions, we believe t’s not just about having a full-time carer at home. It’s about the right plan tailored for your needs, getting the perfect match and a carer who essentially becomes a part of the family. Yes, they can handle all medical, health and personal needs but they also provide the companionship that so many of us need in later life.

If you wish to learn more about how we can support you, please contact us and let one of our advisers come to see you and your family for a more detailed plan on how we can support you.

Let us help you get the care you need for the life you want.

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers. People with dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s and related diseases have a progressive biological brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult for them to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, or take care of themselves.  From angry outbursts to more physical manifestations of behavior, understanding and dealing with our loved one’s dementia behaviors may be one of the most stressful parts of being a caregiver.  Dementia involves more than just memory loss. A person with this disorder can be a challenge to take care of.  Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers.

The cause of the disease can have a bearing on the type of care given. Before embarking on caring for such a patient consider the following questions.

Is the dementia part of a brain disease process?

Is there a history of brain injury?

Is it the so called senile dementia which is considered part of the aging process?

Where to care for the dementia patient

Depending on the severity and predominant symptoms, a person with dementia can benefit from either home care or institutional based care. Where only personal care issues are involved, a general carer may be able to offer  care to the patient. However, where symptoms pose a risk to self and others, then a professional nurse may come in to offer at home care services.

Seven Tips for Communicating with a Person with Dementia

  1. Set a positive mood for interaction. …

  2. Get the person’s attention. …

  3. State your message clearly. …

  4. Ask simple, answerable questions. …

  5. Listen with your ears, eyes and heart. …

  6. Break down activities into a series of steps. …

  7. When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. 

Emotional  and Physical support

People with dementia feel anxious when they realize that they have mental related problems. Showing Care, patience and reassuring them will help them to cope better and enjoy improved self-worth. Other measures to help these patients lead a dignified life include:

  • Helping them remain clean
  • Helping them dress
  • Helping them eat a healthful diet
  • Assisting them to remain as physically active as possible. This will be determined by their degree of mental or physical disability.
  • Legal representation and protection.  Some people may take advantage of the altered mental status of dementia patients. Help them get their rightful state support where necessary and protect their finances from potential fraudsters.

When dealing with difficult behaviors from someone with dementia, it’s important to remember that they are not deliberately being difficult. Our loved one’s sense of reality may now be different from ours, but it is still very real to him or her. As caregivers, we can’t change the person with dementia, but we can employ strategies to better accommodate any problem behaviors. Both the environment you create at home and the way you communicate with your loved one can make a significant difference.

Dementia can cause mood swings and even change a person’s personality and behavior. This Fact Sheet provides some practical strategies for dealing with the troubling behavior problems and communication difficulties often encountered when caring for a person with dementia. If you are the main carer of a dementia person, don’t forget to care for yourself. Burnout is a real possibility. To avoid this, always source for help and take needed break every now and then.

Be aware of the signs of dementia

Memory loss is one of the key symptoms, but others include:

  • increasing difficulty with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
  • depression
  • changes in personality and mood
  • periods of mental confusion
  • difficulty finding the right words

If someone you know is becoming increasingly forgetful, you should encourage them to see their GP to talk about the early signs of dementia.

Finally, there are so many more behavior interventions, treatments and specialty care providers now than ever before. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to one of our qualified advisers.

You can read more top tips for talking about dementia on the UK Alzheimer’s Society website.