Weeding in an out of the way part of the garden the other day, ed [...]
Bringing back the personality: New methods of elderly care mark 2013 Dementia Awareness weekCreated by Charlotte in Being You, Health and fitness
We’re all living longer, capsule so we are all facing a higher risk of one day developing dementia – statistics demonstrate that one in three people over the age of 65 will develop the condition. The Alzheimer’s Society predicts this number will double in the next 40 years. The Health Secretary, cialis Jeremy Hunt, drug recently warned in an interview with The Independent that dementia has replaced cancer as the biggest challenge facing the NHS and that we must entirely overhaul the way we look after elderly patients.
As we mark Dementia Awareness Week 2013, it is more important than ever that we address the stigmas surrounding the condition and the way we care for those diagnosed.
The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute (RMBI) is committed to making its dementia care service exceptional and our substantial investment in dementia care training and new approaches to delivering quality care is now benefiting those residents with the condition who are living in our 17 UK homes. Traditionally, dementia care has been very institutionalised, with too much significance placed on routine and efficiency. We are taking care back to a very personal level; treating every resident as an individual, capable of expressing their own thoughts and emotions and deserving of a high quality of life no matter how onset their dementia may be.
The RMBI removes certain boundaries and barriers between staff and residents – such as losing staff uniforms and eating the main meal of the day all together, at times suited to the residents – so that the two groups run the home together as friends. Dementia Care Matters works with us to improve the quality of the lived experience – not only for those residents living with a dementia, but also for the other residents living in the same home.
Training is integral for this type of care and care staff at our homes have the opportunity to undertake a diploma course with Dementia Care Matters. Feedback has been extremely encouraging, with home managers in agreement that the new style of care gives them the confidence to join residents in their reality, without being accused of infantilising them, whilst empowering them to deliver personal, individual care. All other staff – from gardeners to trustees – have also attended courses run by the Alzheimer’s Society.
New approaches to dementia care in our homes are not limited to interaction between staff and residents – environment and surroundings are integral to quality of life in our care homes and we are also taking innovative steps in this field. A number of RMBI homes have introduced special Sensory Gardens for residents living with a dementia, to provide an outside space for reflection and exploration. For example, to encourage interaction amongst the residents, at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court, Essex, the Sensory Garden includes raised flower beds and hanging baskets so that people have easier access to them. To help with visual impairment colours, shapes and special features have been introduced to help create a sensual environment. To aid hearing, wind chimes and water features have been introduced into the gardens, as well as textured (gravel) paths. Herbs and vegetables are grown in the gardens so that the residents can also taste the fresh home grown produce. The sweet peas at Connaught Court, York, were a great hit, not only bright and never ending, but the scent was sensational, bringing back memories of so many past summers and gardens! Reminiscence plays an integral part in creating the right environment for quality dementia care, from what we serve for meals to the design of communal spaces. ‘Memory boxes’ – treasure troves of objects old and new – are made available for residents to explore and to aid in the stimulation of long-term memory.
With greater emphasis finally being placed on raising awareness of dementia, it is time we placed greater importance on dementia care to ensure that individuals receive the best possible quality of life.
For more information on RMBI care homes across the UK, please visit: www.rmbi.org.uk
By Debra Keeling, Deputy Director of Care, RMBI