It’s thought that, by 2051, two million people in the UK will be living with dementia. It’s something that the UK as a country needs to talk about if we are to enable people who are living with the condition to live a full and rewarding life.
Dementia Action Week, which took place from 20-26thMay, is an annual opportunity to do just that. This awareness-raising event sees care homes, individuals, workplaces and communities get together to find ways to improve the lives of people who are living with dementia.
Here at Care UK, dementia is something we work with every day – because it affects many of the people we care for. Whether residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or any of the other forms of the condition, we see day-to-day how it impacts their memory, mood, speech and reasoning abilities.
How we support residents
A personalised approach
At Care UK, we’re passionate about enabling the people we care for to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. We develop strong bonds with residents and their families – finding out all we can about them, their interests, live and hobbies, so that we can help to calm their anxieties and help them to continue doing the things they love, with independence and dignity. We’ve seen time and again how, when a person feels secure and is enjoying meaningful activity in warm and friendly surroundings, they’re relaxed and calm, and they feel cared for. Our teams regularly win at the National Dementia Care Awards for their innovative and empathic approach to dementia care.
Designed for living
Our homes themselves are designed to be calming and supportive places for people living with dementia. Each of our new-build homes has its own café, hair salon and cinema to enable residents to continue enjoying the best possible lifestyle. They’re also designed into smaller communities to provide a quieter living environment. Lighting, floor coverings, soft furnishings and colour schemes – everything is designed to support residents who are living with dementia.
Every home is unique
Care UK home teams are free to adapt their home to suit residents’ needs and interests, so no two Care UK homes are the same. We have homes with their own pubs, shops, retro kitchens, railway station waiting rooms – there’s even a Care UK home with a farm in the garden!
What’s more, residents with dementia play a full and active part in the life of their home: running committees, supporting maintenance, catering and housekeeping teams, caring for the home’s pets and continuing to play a part in the local community, whether that’s staging art exhibitions or taking part in choral performances.
The latest training
Since 2017 Care UK has been partnering with the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at Worcester University to ensure that the dementia training we provide to colleagues is in line with best practice and the latest academic thinking. The ADS team has helped us to develop a bespoke training programme that we are rolling out to each of our 9,000 colleagues.
By the end of this year we will also have at least one dementia champion in each of our 120+ homes – a colleague who has received additional training so that they can provide extra hands-on dementia advice and inspiration every day in their home for colleagues, relatives and residents alike.
Supporting relatives and communities
Our home teams are always on hand to provide advice or a listening ear on a one-to-one basis to any relative struggling with their loved one’s dementia journey. However, we offer free support to any person who is caring for a loved one living with dementia. Many of our homes hold free regular information sessions on dementia-related topics as well as dementia cafés where local family carers and their loved ones can pop in for advice and a chance to meet likeminded people.
To find out what’s happening in your local home, enter your postcode in the search box at careuk.com/care-homes.
Download our free guides to caring for a loved one with dementia
We have a range of helpful Care UK guides, created especially for families who are supporting older loved ones with dementia.
Our ‘A helping hand’ guide helps you through every step of the care journey.
‘Good to go’ is ideal for helping you to plan dementia-friendly day trips and outings.
Our ‘Listen, talk, connect’ guide offers practical tips on communicating with a loved one who is living with dementia.
‘As easy as ABC’ is full of ideas and tips for helping your loved one to keep busy and get the most out of each day.
‘Eating as we age’ is a great source of recipes, ideas and inspiration for helping your loved one to eat well and stay hydrated.
Making every day easier – some tips
Below are just a handful of the hundreds of tips you’ll find in our Care UK guides.
- Going out: If your loved one is a little nervous (or if you are), go to the same place a few times so you both feel safe. Once you’re enjoying those outings, try venturing further afield.
- Keeping busy: To help your loved one to stay independent, encourage them to continue to do light tasks around the house, laying the table for meals or hanging out washing.
- Stimulating appetites: Serve smaller meals more often. Six small meals in a day may be easier to digest than three larger ones. Encourage impulse eating by leaving snacks out.
- Easier communication: Use closed questions, so, rather than saying “What do you want to wear today?” ask “Would you like to wear the red cardigan or the blue one?”
- A break for both of you: Give yourself some regular time off. Does your loved one have a friend who could spend an hour with them? How about finding a day club where your loved one can enjoy a chance of scene while you have time to yourself. Find a Care UK day club near you