Dementia Case Study

Dementia Case Study: Dorothy

During a sunny morning visit with Dorothy and Magda, one of our Live-in partnerships, it is clear to see the Helping Hands matching process has worked well. Dorothy, who was recently diagnosed with Dementia, has been receiving Live-in Care from Helping Hands since 2013, and has now settled into a comfortable routine with two Carers working in six week rotations.

Together we talked about the family’s journey into care, the emotional pulls and the importance of good communication from all parties. Later proving a great decision, Live-in Care was initially a daunting prospect for both Dorothy and her daughters Chris and Jackie, who at first felt worried about entrusting their loved one with a stranger. Jackie lives in America but is involved every step of the way and visits at least twice a year. Chris tells us,
“I have to admit that at first it was difficult to let go. I soon realised the importance of allowing my mother and her Carer to establish their own routine, and in this way the time I spend with her is now quality time. Knowing that Magda ensures my mother has everything she needs provides me with true peace of mind, and we now consider her to be part of the family.”


Given the nature of Dorothy’s condition, continuity, routine and reassurance are of the upmost importance. It is clear that Magda has built great rapport with Dorothy, and this level of consistency has significantly reduced feelings of panic and anxiety. With many mutual interests, Dorothy is also able to remain an active part of her local community.

Dorothy says; “There really is no place like home, and with Magda’s support I am able to keep in touch with all of my friends and neighbours. We visit church every week for the Sunday morning service, I can visit the shops and I also take part in a local knitting group. This really is one of the greatest joys of staying in my own home around people I know.”

Magda, who has been a Helping Hands Live-in Carer since 2013, understands the importance of providing an individualised care service, and through open lines of communication has been able to establish Dorothy’s preferences and wishes. With a great determination to provide the best possible care, Magda explains;
“From a Carer point of view, communication is essential. Although Dorothy was quite withdrawn to begin with, I asked lots of questions in order to recognise the way she likes things done; even down to her preferred use of cutlery! It is important to remember that the smallest things can make the biggest difference, and this is why Live-in Care is the perfect solution here, as I have the time to do things just right.”

The flexibility of one-to-one care enables others to live full and independent lives, and does so with the assurance that help is always on hand. Dorothy sums up beautifully what Live-in Care means to her;

For me, Live-in care means friendship, a sense of security and feeling comfortable in my own home. Having previously spent a brief but unhappy period of time in a care home, I am able to recognise how perfect my situation is now. I feel very lucky and comfortable; I have a true friend. Magda is going nowhere! I want this to continue forever.”

Dementia Case Study: Joan’s Story

Peter Jervis had Vascular Dementia. Unable to best provide for his needs at home and being unaware of the alternative of Live-in Care, his wife Joan made a difficult decision and he was taken into a residential home.

Peter and Joan JervisThis is Joan’s story.

“After a year of Peter being in the home, to say I was not happy was an understatement. I went to the home everyday to help Peter wash and also to help Peter eat his meals.

In the latter part of 2009 I was asked by the Dementia Society to attend a conference. Here I met a Hospital Administrator and asked him why figures and targets are more important than the people that are receiving care. He could not answer and walked away. I felt so frustrated.

I then met the Admiral Nurses and this is when things turned around for Peter and I. They told me about Live-in Care and they recommended Helping Hands. Within 2 days the local manager came to see me. I saw other care agencies and Helping Hands stood head and shoulders above the rest. What attracted me was Helping Hands’ fast reaction, the length of time the local care manager spent talking to us and understanding Peter’s needs and the service we received during the whole time.

“If Death can be wonderful then, thanks to Helping Hands, Peter’s was.”Joan Jervis

We were given four profiles of carers from the Dementia Team that were chosen based on Peter’s need for high level care but also his personality traits – Peter was a man’s man so it made sense for us to choose a male carer. We chose Lazlo Szabo and he joined us on the 6th November to help prepare the house for Peter’s arrival.

Peter arrived at home at 8pm that night. In the residential home he would be constantly shouting out but the moment he arrived home he never shouted out again.

Lazlo and Peter got on really well. Lazlo was an excellent carer. When Lazlo booked a holiday we had Israel Ncube come to cover his holiday and instantly the whole Family got on well with him. The grandchildren loved him and Israel was at Peter’s side everywhere.

When Lazlo returned back from his holiday he picked up the care from where he left. In the last few stages of Peter’s life Lazlo had to deal with lots of people both Medical professionals and friends. He offered any help he could to us as a family. If Death can be wonderful then, thanks to Helping Hands, Peter’s was.”

Joan Jervis

Dementia Case Study: a daughter’s peace of mind

It was 2007 when Sue Coombes decided that she needed more support for her mother, Barbara.

“Live-in care has made such a difference (to mum). She is so much more contented, she doesn’t have to worry – and neither do I – about somebody different coming in.”Sue Coombes, daughter of a Helping Hands Customer

They had for some time managed her Vascular Dementia as a family, however as her needs became more intense they turned to live-in care as a solution.

The most important thing for Sue is the peace of mind knowing that her Mum is safe and comfortable; her main carer Rosemary offers Barbara a huge amount of companionship as well as maintaining her personal care needs. Barbara loves the Pembrokeshire countryside and so they spend a lot of time reminiscing through old albums and talking about her beloved dogs as well as spending time in the garden.  She’s is also rather keen on the hearty breakfasts Rosemary prepares for her!

Such is the quality of the relationship that Rosemary is viewed as an extension of the family, and has been Barbara’s support the difficult times when her condition has worsened as well as quality times on short breaks – in Pembrokeshire of course.

our-carers-thumbDementia Case StudySue discusses her decision to bring in a Live-In Carer for her mum instead of paying for a residential home, and the positive difference Carer Rosemary has made in her mum’s life. Rosemary’s support has allowed Sue to stay involved with her mum’s care, but has lifted all the worry from her mind.


Dementia Care in the Home Guide

Helping Hands has been caring for people with dementia for over 25 years.  Over that time we have built a huge wealth of knowledge and experience in the condition, if you or a loved one is affected by Dementia, click below to order your FREE guide to Dementia Care in the Home.

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