By: Dr. Rekha Elaswarupu
Local award-winning live-in and hourly care provider Helping Hands, based in Alcester, is set to share its expertise with the public at two free training events focussed on dementia care at home.
The next scheduled Dementia Family Day are to be held in Solihull and Surrey, and will be hosted by Helping Hands’ Dementia Lead Trainer, Jayne Vale, named National Dementia Personality of the Year in 2012.
The events are designed to give families a chance to learn from dementia experts, get hands-on training, tips and advice on dementia care at home and speak to families in a similar situation.
Jayne Vale says a lack of signposting and useful information during the early stages of dementia diagnosis means relatives often don’t know where to go for help.
The Helping Hands Dementia Family Days aim to provide information, support and expertise to help families make the right decisions for their loved ones.
“The Dementia Family Days are forums that allow the public to talk to our professionals, and other families, to understand some of the simple things to do to help those living with dementia,” explained Jayne.
“At the moment, people are going into long-term care too early – just through a lack of awareness of other care or support options.
“When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, signposting for help and support is really inconsistent. People aren’t sure where to go or who to ask for help. The Dementia Family Day events are designed to share our expertise, and help support families to make the best care choices for their loved ones.”
The free training session will cover various aspects of dementia, with a brief overview of the disease, information on behaviour changes, advice on person-centred care, and tips and information on how families can help relatives live with dementia.
With the launch of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Awareness Week due from Sunday May 19 to Saturday May 25 there is a move by societies and private companies alike to start talking more about dementia. Jayne said, “We wholeheartedly support the Dementia Awareness Week initiative and the work of the Alzheimer’s Society.
“Dementia has traditionally been ‘swept under the carpet’, leading to a lack of understanding amongst family carers and those living with Dementia. Bringing issues out into the open with frank, informed discussions can be hugely beneficial.
“Encouraging this kind of honesty and openness is exactly what we aim to achieve with our Dementia Family Days.”
New research from the Alzheimer’s Society shows as many as one in ten people living with dementia go into full-time or residential care earlier than necessary: simply because families aren’t aware of other options, such as dementia care at home.
The Society also found around 83% of those living with dementia would prefer to stay in their own homes than go into full-time care.
Jayne explained: “Primarily, dementia home care works because continuity and routine are key. The less disruption, the better.
“Helping Hands directly employs all of its carers and matches a dementia trained carer with the customer to provide the best possible care, 24 hours a day in the family home. The service is so flexible. In the Warwickshire area we can provide hourly visiting care from just 30 minutes per week to a full 24 hour live-in care service. In addition to dementia care, the service also focuses on personal care and housekeeping through to companionship and complex care needs; with RGN support via the locally based team.”
Helping Hands, itself a winner in the Great British Care Awards, has hosted two Dementia Family Day events previously.
“Feedback from previous events has been good,” explained Jayne. “People said things like: ‘I wish I’d known that 12 months ago’ – which underlines how important it is for us, as the experts, to share information – so families can make the right, informed choices for their loved ones.
“When you understand a little more, it can vastly alter your perception of how you manage, support or live with someone with dementia.”
Established in 1989, Helping Hands has always focussed on providing dementia care at home – and currently offers live-in care, respite care and hourly care services.
“We understand the very specific daily challenges and different stages of living with and caring for someone with this disease as well as promoting the belief that appropriate care can be provided at home,” Jayne added.
“This is why we work closely with Dementia UK, developing our training and resources to support our professional carers and families alike. Over 50% of our elderly customers have dementia to some degree, and it is evident that, for most, the quality of information they have been given in the early stages of diagnosis is inconsistent, and often poor.
“So, whilst we invest in so much training for our care teams, it seemed obvious that we should be sharing it with families too, whatever stage they are in their journey.”
For more information on dementia care at home, hourly care, respite care and live-in care services, visit Helping Hands at www.helpinghandshomecare.co.uk