We firmly believe that, where appropriate, offering people who suffer from dementia the opportunity to remain in the familiarity of their own home with tailored support from a trusted, trained, professional home carer enables them to retain independence and a much higher quality of life. We are highly experienced in providing specialist, one-to-one dementia care at home, fully supported and managed by our local care management team.
Our local care management team are available to arrange a free assessment of your care needs at your earliest convenience.
Personal, practical approach to dementia care
In helping our clients remain at home we have collaborated with the Contented Dementia Trust to introduce and adopt their specialist approach to caring for people with dementia called the SPECAL method.
The SPECAL method treats dementia as a disability and works positively with it, rather than trying to ignore or defeat it. It has been shown to:
- Increase the person’s confidence and thereby slow the rate of deterioration
- Reduce the need for medication
- Enable the person to remain in their own home for significantly longer
- Minimise the distress all too often seen during and after a transition into a different care setting
At the heart of the SPECAL Method is an innovative way of understanding dementia from the point of view of the person with the condition – the SPECAL Photograph Album. This leads to a counter-intuitive but essential set of principles known as SPECAL sense, a way of communicating with the person with dementia that immediately reduces stress for everyone concerned. Carefound Home Care provides training in the general principles of the SPECAL method across its home care team to ensure that all its clients can benefit.
SPECAL sense begins with three Golden Rules (don’t ask questions; listen to the expert; don’t contradict). These basic rules apply to each and every person with dementia and will make a remarkable difference as soon as they are introduced, but they are not enough to sustain well-being for life. Each person’s life history is different and individualized profiling will be required to sustain well-being lifelong. Profiling demands a complex mix of skills and experience, and Carefound Home Care works with the Contented Dementia Trust to integrate the necessary training into its current programme.
The conditions regarded as essential for well-being according to the Contented Dementia Trust are:
- Personal worth: The feeling that one is valued
- A sense of control: Being able to make decisions and see that they are implemented
- Social ease: Being able to feel comfortable in interaction with others and share a social space
- Trust and confidence: The feeling that all will be well in the end
We have experience of working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, including with other health professionals such as specialist mental health teams, and fully appreciate the importance of a co-ordinated approach in helping our clients.
Why our carers enjoy supporting people living with dementia
“Thank you for your professionalism and persistence when dealing with difficult situations with Mum. The ‘Specal’ method has been used with very positive outcomes.”
Mrs H, Ilkley
What is dementia?
Dementia is an incurable condition caused by diseases of the brain which over time seriously impacts upon the ability of someone to live independently. There are over 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK today and by 2025 there are expected to be over 1 million. The condition primarily affects people over the age of 65 and risk increases with age, however it can affect younger people and there are over 16,000 people under the age of 65 who have dementia. Although public awareness of dementia is now high, understanding of it remains very poor and few people appreciate what help is available to live well with dementia.
What are the symptoms of dementia?
Dementia is progressive and as such symptoms may gradually get worse over time.
Example symptoms to look out for include:
- Memory loss – especially problems with memory for recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, and asking questions repetitively
- Increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
- Becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
- Changes in personality and mood
How is dementia diagnosed?
If you are worried about dementia or you are concerned about your memory it is always a good idea to contact your GP. If you know somebody who you think may have dementia or your are worried about them, you should also encourage them to see their GP. Being forgetful or having memory problems does not necessarily mean somebody has dementia – this can also be caused by depression, stress, drug side effects, or other health problems. However, it is just as important to rule out these other problems or treat them.
Be aware that there are many reasons for memory loss apart from dementia (such as depression). However, the earlier help is sought the better as a diagnosis is always helpful in planning for the future and with treatment and support many people with dementia can continue to live an active and fulfilling life.
Visit your GP about Dementia
During a visit to your GP they will ask about your symptoms and other aspects of your health, which will encompass giving you a physical examination. The GP will also organise blood tests and ask about any medications you may be taking as these can impact upon memory. You may also be asked some general questions or be given mental exercises.
Referral to a Dementia Specialist
You may then be referred to a local memory clinic or specialist for assessment where a formal diagnosis can take place. If a specialist is involved, this may be a geriatrician, a neurologist or a psychiatrist. A number of tests will be carried out to check basic thinking processes and the ability to perform daily tasks, and sometimes further tests may be requested such as a brain scan or a more in-depth assessment of memory, concentration and thinking skills.
A Diagnosis of Dementia
If a person is diagnosed with dementia they will be provided with the following information:
- the type of dementia you have, or if it is not clear, what the plan to investigate further will be
- details about symptoms and how the illness might develop
- appropriate treatments that you might be offered
- care and support services in your area
- support groups and voluntary organisations for people with dementia and their families and carers
- advocacy services
- where you can find financial and legal advice
Ongoing Dementia Assessments
Following a diagnosis your doctor will arrange to see you regularly – typically every 6 months or 1 year. This is because dementia is a progressive condition and it is important to understand how you are coping and the support you are receiving. The doctor may also wish to prescribe medications to help with the symptoms of dementia.