As people with dementia may be disoriented to time and place. Depending on someone’s stage of dementia we would not normally try to re-orientate them to the current time and place if that is not helpful to their wellbeing. Instead we work with staff so that they can join our residents in the reality they are in. Some people may be going back to times when they were very young or a few years ago. Some may have trouble with a normal sleeping pattern, they may be trying to get ready for work or to meet someone they used to know. They may not be hungry at usual meal times. How we as staff respond in these different situations is really important in giving high quality support.
Knowing who they were and are helps our staff better enter their reality and makes the home a warm safe place not a confusing unknown one. We can help them get ready for work, reassure them that their friend or family member is coming to see them soon and offer them another activity until then or we can understand that what they really need is the comfort or safety and that is why they are really looking for a lost family member or friend. We can have meals ready for them when they are ready to eat even if that is early in the morning or late at night. We try to focus our day around our residents and not fit them into our routines.
We have three ‘houses’ within the Home each house is created to specifically care for the needs of people in the different stages:
Ashley House is set up for people who are in the early stages of dementia and are somewhat forgetful of the time and place they are in may not remember newer faces.
Ash Vale is for people who are in the mid stages of dementia and may be mobile and have repetitive behaviours and need space and different objects to interact with.
Meadows is for people with more physical health needs, are not mobile and need a quieter more peaceful environment.
Whilst we have these three houses set up for people in distinct stages of dementia where possible we encourage people to go where they like and spend time in houses of their choosing or that they find is a better fit for their personality.
As all of our houses are set up for for people in the different stages of dementia and because residents can move from one house to another depending on their needs. It means we don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to dementia care. Teams members for each house work within their smaller teams so that we can develop and train people differently and we select staff with complimentary personalities to the house they are in.
Having the same house staff team also means they get to know the people in their house more and more and know what they need and like better. The bonds they form are stronger and this helps them to provide better care.
The best kind of activity for people with dementia are ones that make them feel occupied, valued and worthwhile and are fun.
We have a programme consisting of traditional activities like bingo, dominoes, cards etc. As well as regular weekly entertainers who visit the home including singers, magicians, ventriloquists, musical therapy, pet therapy etc.
We also focus on other types of activities geared up for people in different stages of dementia. Some residents may really gain from simple things like helping staff set the table for lunch or doing more household tasks like washing up, baking cakes, polishing brass things that they used to do that gave them purpose and therefore fulfillment before they had dementia.
A lot of our ladies, depending on where they are in their condition, gain a lot from doll therapy so that they can provide care and comfort to someone else. This is why we make use of specialist dolls.
Some of our gentleman feel fulfilled when they are given tasks to complete like painting wooden items or fixing broken lamps, shelves etc.
People in more advanced stages of dementia whose ability to concentrate is diminished may gain more from smaller more frequent activities involving smell taste and touch. This kind of sensory activity is good at improving the mood of people and can be achieved in a variety of ways.
We also have our own mini bus which we can use for short trips to the shops or local parks or trips to further afield to places like wildlife attractions, air museums, shopping centres etc.