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Epsom day centre manager reaches finals of top national care awards

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Elaine, nominated in the category of Best Dementia Manager in a Community Setting, is delighted at being shortlisted for the leading dementia care prize. She said: "All the staff and clients are very happy. My team are wonderful and dedicated and the clients take a very active part in the day-to-day running of the centre, so I see this as a nomination for all of us."

The aim of The Orchard Centre, run by Care UK, is to help people with dementia to remain independent, active and socially engaged – enabling them to stay living in their own homes. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has become a lifeline for dementia sufferers and their families. Elaine has worked to build trust with families, so that they feel comfortable when their loved one goes off to spend time at the centre – either to enjoy a regular visit, or on those occasions when carers are going away or need a short break.

Jeni Rushton, manager of Care UK’s Appleby House care home, which is attached to the Orchard Centre, said: "Elaine is a wonderful and caring person who has developed a unique service that helps so many people in the area. She has trained her team to really listen to what people say so that they can identify their needs and interests and then they create great activities that keep clients active, engaged and happy. The centre has the atmosphere of a club where everyone joins in and does their share, rather than the feel of care provision.

"By encouraging clients to set tables, make drinks or help to wash-up, not only is Elaine preserving their life-skills and independence, but also giving them back a sense of purpose and a feeling of being needed, which is central to anyone’s sense of well-being. She welcomes the community into the centre and she helps clients keep their active lives in the community. If anyone deserves this award, it is her."

As one of the finalists, Elaine will travel to London on 21st October for a face-to-face interview with a panel of judges chosen by the organisers, the 'Journal of Dementia Care'. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 2nd November at the UK Dementia Congress in Liverpool.

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