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elderly care

Healthcare and nursing care providers often talk about ‘home care’ and ‘domiciliary care’, but what are they exactly, and how to the various services differ?

In short, home care is all about enabling your loved ones to remain in their homes instead of moving into a nursing home, by having professional carers and nurses visit them to support them at home. This involves help with everyday tasks, errands, and even financial matters.

What are the benefits of Home Care?


Choosing home care over a care home will benefit clients in many ways:
  • Independence - Depending on the care service and your requirements, home care will enable clients to remain independent in their homes. 

  • Care - Home care still means high quality, professional care from administering medication to assisting in therapies and helping with running errands. 

  • Support - Whether a client is recovering from an illness or a stay in hospital, home care can help facilitate this transition, as well as helping manage finances, and everyday domestic tasks. 

  • Companionship - Home carer can provide clients with social companionship, not only checking if they’re well but also developing a true and caring friendship. 

  • Peace of Mind - Knowing that one of our home carers is visiting a loved one, will give you peace of mind that they are in good health and well looked after while living independently. 

When do you Need Home Care? 


This is difficult to answer as every person is different. Relatives, loved ones and health professionals are undoubtedly the best people to rely upon, when deciding whether home care services are necessary. Here are examples that can help you to determine whether someone might benefit from receiving home care:

  • Illness - Perhaps you have a loved one who is battling a long term illness, and requires a lot of support and care. In this case, domiciliary care could help them to perform daily tasks, making their everyday life as enjoyable as possible.

  • Disability & Mental Health - If your loved one has a disability or mental health issues, complex home care services could be a solution to providing care and support while allowing them to live independently. 

  • Returning from Hospital - Someone who’s returning from hospital after an operation or recovering from an illness requires additional care and support, which can be provided with hospital to home care by helping them to transition back to their normal lives. 

  • Dementia & Alzheimer's - Unfortunately, people diagnosed with these diseases can lose the ability to perform simple tasks and look after themselves, but specialised Alzheimer’s care services can provide a lifeline for them. 

  • Old Age - Elderly care services are designed for clients who are getting older, and could use some support and help with their day to day lives. 

What are the different types of Home Care Services? 


A wide range of home care services exist, depending on the nature of the additional support that you or a loved one require. It is, however, essential that this service is tailored to personal needs and requirements. This ensures that that the care service fits around existing daily routines to provide support without disrupting habits.

Here are some of the home care services available: 
  • Domiciliary Care - This is a personal care service for clients battling disability or illness, who struggle with bedroom mobility, bathing, household tasks and more. 

  • Palliative Care - This kind of care is a type of end-of-life care service, helping people who have been diagnosed with life-threatening or terminal illnesses, while providing emotional care and support. 

  • Hospital to Home Care - After being discharged from hospital after an injury or illness it can be challenging to return to your regular life. This service is all about helping clients recover, re-adjust and transit back into their old habits. 

  • Live-In Care - As your loved ones get older, they might find that their needs become complex and need 24 hour care. Having live-in care can be what they need, allowing them to stay in their own homes and out of a care home. 

  • Night Care - This type of home care service provides clients with support throughout the night, as well as being by their side when falling asleep or waking up. 

  • Alzheimer’s Care - Our clients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease require specialist care from professional carers, who are aware of the many and complex challenges of such disease. This enables them to provide the best and most comprehensive care service. 

  • Dementia Care - Dementia is a cruel illness which can effect anyone and requires specialist care. Similarly to Alzheimer’s, is is a complex illness affecting clients in many different ways.

  • Social Companionship Care - This is more about providing companionship and assistance with day to day household chores to clients, making their everyday life easier. 

How Much Does Home Care Cost? 


The cost of home care can vary greatly, depending on the type of care service, the region you live in and other factors.. From our experience in the industry, home care can cost between £12 per hour to £25 per hour, although again, this can vary greatly depending on the individual. 

If you want to know more about our home care services, you can download our brochures from our website. You can also or get in touch with us to talk to one of our experienced advisors, and find out how home care can be tailored for you.
alzheimer's disease

The fight against Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia is an ongoing battle, but this year we've seen some major breakthroughs in research as we come closer to a cure. 

Since the first case was diagnosed over a century ago by Dr. Alois, Alzheimer, our understanding of this disease has evolved greatly. It was not so long ago that people assumed Alzheimer’s and Dementia could simply occur in old age; it’s only in recent times that we have learnt that this is not the case. With predictions that over 150 million people worldwide will suffer from Alzheimer’s in the next 20 years, 2015 has been a big year with significant triumphs and advancements in the fight against Alzheimer’s. 

Alzheimer’s Blood Test Could Give Early Diagnosis 


British researchers have developed a test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, before any physical symptoms are visible. 

This is recognized through ‘markers’ in a patient’s blood, which are different from those seen in healthy people. This research was conducted at the University of Nottingham, and researchers are now developing a quick and easy test to be performed in clinics. 

This early diagnosis can give potential sufferers a chance to change aspects of their diet and lifestyle, as well as starting treatment earlier in order to stem the disease. 

Miniature Brain-in-a-Dish can Help Advance Alzheimer’s Research 


Rene Anand, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology at Ohio State University, and a research team have developed an organoid that looks like a miniature human brain. 

This miniature human brain has been grown ethically through the use of human skin cells, and coaxed into developing to resemble that of a 5 month old fetus. Not only could this open up new avenues of testing in the pursuit towards finding a cure, but it could also remove the need to use rats and mice in order to conduct research, a practice which is considered by most to be outdated and unethical.

Virtual Reality Maze ‘Predicts Alzheimer’s Disease’ 


A study suggests that Alzheimer’s disease can be detected years before any physical symptoms are made apparent, through the use of a virtual reality test. People aged 18 to 30, an age group that is unlikely to be worried about Alzheimer’s disease, were are asked to navigate through a virtual maze in order to test the function of certain brain cells. 

This study, led by Lukas Kunz of the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Disease in Bonn, showed results which could "provide a new basic framework for preclinical research on Alzheimer’s disease", and "provide a neurocognitive explanation of spatial disorientation in Alzheimer’s disease.” While it is far from certain that the young people in this study will go on to develop Alzheimer’s, characterising early brain changes associated with genetic risk factors is vital, in helping researchers better understand why some people are more likely be at risk of developing the disease in later life. 

Government Pledges £300m on Dementia Research 


Earlier this year, the government pledged more that 300 million pounds worth of research into dementia, as well as providing additional training for NHS workers on how to care for people suffering with Dementia. 

Prime Minister, David Cameron has described the disease as “one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime”. As well as pledging funds to research and Alzheimer’s care, the government is also said to be setting up separate multi-million pound investment schemes, to discover new drugs and treatments in order to slow the onset of the disease, progressing towards a cure by 2025. 

This might not be a huge medical breakthrough, but considering Alzheimer’s and Dementia are one of the most underfunded research areas in medicine, this is a significant step in the right direction. 

Alzheimer’s Researchers Find Molecule That Delays Onset of Disease 


Earlier this year, a research team at the University of Cambridge found evidence to suggest that an isolated, crucial molecule secreted naturally by the human body, could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. 

This study performed on mice, showed that the molecule referred to as a ‘housekeeping’ molecule, can stop the process in the brain that leads to common forms of Dementia. The substance works by slowing the build of up of protein clips in the brain, which typically appear years before symptoms such as memory loss arise. 

Although the research still has some progress to make, notably towards converting this discovery into a drug, this could potentially be the most important breakthrough since the first diagnosis. 
Samuel Cohen, who led the study, revealed these findings in an enlightening Ted Talk, stating that they have “come up with a general strategy that could work.”

While 2015 has brought with it a number of small victories in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, we are far from finished. It is a disease which affects approximately 850,000 people living in the UK alone, and doctors are predicting that the number will grow in coming years. 

We at Sova Healthcare can see the damage and strain such diseases can cause families, which is why we strive to to provide you with the best Alzheimers home care and support services. We understand how cruel this disease can be, and that’s why our staff are highly trained and experienced in caring for your loved ones as they learn how to live with Alzheimer’s. You can download our brochure for more information, or get in touch with a member of our friendly team to discuss how we can best help you and your loved ones.
The Appointeeship programme is designed to help older people suffering from age related illnesses as well as people with learning or physical disabilities manage their money more effectively, by ensuring that they do not have to worry about claiming benefits or allowances they are entitled to, as well as helping them manage their daily finances. 
Indeed, it has too often been the case that clients with disabilities fail to benefit from the financial help they are entitled to, due to the fact that they are either unaware that they are eligible, or are unsure about the procedure to claim these benefits.

This is why having a financial appointee could be the best solution towards preventing financial abuse, as well as helping them claim benefits that they are entitled to, in order to ensure peace of mind for friends and family.


How does the Appointeeship Programme work?


The process of the Appointeeship service is simple and completely transparent:
  • A bank account in your name will be created for you
  • All benefits and allowance will be collected and transferred directly into this account
  • The money in this account will then be used to pay all your bills through setting up direct debits
  • Monthly expenditures and budgeting will be agreed on with the client from the account to ensure reasonable and intentional spending
The Appointeeship Programme, along with all all of the other home care services we provide is entirely tailored to, and designed to fit the needs of each client. The aim of this service isn't to exercise control over your finances, but to help you manage them while ensuring that you fully benefit from any allocation that you are entitled to.
Your appointee will be there to advise you on financial decisions, budgeting, and allocations, before discussing them with you to ensure that you agree with what they are recommending.

This service can be very reassuring for family, friends and loved ones, as it removes any sense of burden that comes with managing another person's finances, while providing peace of mind that your loved one's money and assets are safe and efficiently managed to their advantage. 

What is an Appointee?


An appointee is there to help manage the finances of people with learning, physical and mental disabilities, as well as people who are suffering from age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's or Dementia, all of which may render them unable to look after their own financial affairs. 

The primary role of your appointee will be to ensure  that you receive any benefits you are entitled to, as well as liaising with the Department of Work and Pensions  to ensure that any changes to your circumstances are accounted for.
Through this programme, people are able to retain ownership over their finances and assets without having to worry about missmanagement, abuse or theft. This service can range from simple, everyday money matters such as paying bills, to help with budgeting, benefit claiming and managing assets.

The aims of this service are empowerment and trust.
For elderly people who already require Dementia care, retaining control and independence despite their age or condition is essential. This is why the service aims to preserve that independence, while eliminating the risk of being taken advantage of.

With years of experience, our appointees already look after client accounts throughout the UK, and can help you or a loved one ensure that money matters are managed wisely.

For more information about our Appointeeship services, get in touch with us today. Call one of our friendly staff members to discuss your needs and requirements on 0800 688 8866, or email us at enquires@sovalhealthcare.co.uk.


Winter is a very difficult time for the elderly and their caregivers. In fact, it is during the Christmas holiday period that older people are most at risk of falling ill or having an accident, yet this is also a period during which they can be lonely due to reduced mobility, health conditions that preventing them from travelling, or having no direct relatives to turn to. 

Elderly loneliness at Christmas

This is why it's important to ensure that you pay particular attention to the elderly during this holiday period, whether you are a caregiver, a family member, or simply a friend.

So how can you prevent loneliness of the elderly and take care of them? In this blog post, we have put together some advice for carers to help reduce the risk of accidents and bad health during this time of the year, to allow this period to be merry for all.

Accounting for reduced mobility

Often, older people being cared for do not need your help too much, are quite independent and very active. By all accounts, they’re almost completely self-sufficient.  

Come Christmas time, this can change drastically. 

One of the biggest problems the elderly can face during Christmas is mobility. Whether it’s frosty walkways or slippery paves, these are big dangers for the elderly which reduces their mobility and independence, making it a lot more challenging for them to run errands, visit relatives or friends, or just exercise. From the caregiver's perspective, this risk of injury as well as reduced independence can cause a lot of stress and worry. 

Besides the actual risk of slipping or falling, there’s the fear of having a fall, causing older people to not be as confident when going out or even putting off doing so, which can then sometimes lead to malnourishment or loneliness. This is often because they would know of friends who have had bad falls, and a rational fear of being injured. 

Making sure your loved ones have appropriate footwear is a good start. Nothing heavy like hiking boots but preferably walking shoes or good trainers that will help give their feet traction when on slippery or icy grounds. If your loved one uses a walking frame, that will certainly give them more support, if they don’t, recommend that for the Christmas period they start using a walking stick to enhance their stability. 

If you know that your loved one’s drive or pavement does get frosty during cold weather, next time you visit them, salt or sand their drive to minimise the risks and encourage them to go out.

Ensuring that older people keep warm

Keeping warm is an important concern for the elderly, as catching a cold this time of year could lead to pneumonia or other illnesses that could be life threatening due to weaker immune systems. It is also one of caregivers’ biggest concerns, especially as they can’t be with them constantly. 

One piece of advice is to make sure your loved ones wear warm clothes and possibly heating. 
Take them on a shopping trip to buy some suitable clothes for the winter. It is also worth thinking about getting windproof and waterproof items to protect them from the winter weather.

Also ensure you check that their central heating is working as they probably wouldn’t go through the process of hiring a repairman, whom may also be short-staffed over Christmas.

Visiting and checking up regularly

Christmas is the busiest time of the year and your loved ones could feel, as you’re trying to get everything ready and organised, isolated and forgotten. Caregivers experience this struggle to finding time every year, trying to balance Christmas plans and looking after their loved ones. During such a festive period, loneliness and isolation can be felt more intensely, yet by not wanting to “burden” anyone, older people might restrain from reaching out if they do.

Regular phone calls can really help prevent such a feeling, and setting them up with a basic tablet to be able to video call them can truly help them feel included if they can’t be with you. The latter can be more challenging, but it can really reassure them and avoid isolation. 

If you are unable to go visit someone you usually care for throughout the year during the Christmas holidays, you could look at home care services such as social companionship. It is a type of care service providing a companion, friend and carer to your loved one. This type of home care service enables your loved one to remain fully independent, whilst also reassuring you that they are well and not alone.

For more information about the different home care services available from Sova Healthcare, and to further discuss your needs and requirements, you can download our brochure or get in touch with a member of our friendly team.
Depression among the elderly has been found to increase risks of dementia, as well as sometimes also constituting an early stage symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.

Depression in the elderly

In fact, a study from the American Medical Association (AMA) published in May 2012 revealed a positive correlation between symptoms of depression manifested during midlife or late life and higher risks of developing dementia.  
Although often overlooked because associated with getting older, depression is a serious symptom that ought to be taken into account to ensure the wellbeing and mental health of older generations. 

Symptoms of depression are not always easy to identify, making it harder for relatives, friends and carers to provide the additional support needed, and thus help reduce the risks of developing dementia, and notably Alzheimer’s disease.

What is depression?


Depression is a common mental illness and is becoming increasingly common amongst the elderly with 1 in 5 older people are affected by depression living at home and 2 in 5 living in care homes.

It does not discriminate and can affect anyone from any culture, background or age but the elderly are more affected than any other age group, mostly due to the following reasons:
  • Increased chances of isolation
  • Loss of self-worth
  • Bereavement
  • Other health problems affecting morale
Depression manifests itself in many ways, common symptoms being:
  • Sadness and feelings of abandonment
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Insomnia
  • Increased use of alcohol and/or other substances
Although family and friends will pay close attention to person they caring for, they can sometimes remain unaware that their loved ones are afflicted. With this condition, it makes caring for an older person much more difficult as the depression causes them to be unfocused, fatigued and neglecting personal care.

Older people being more likely to be affected by depression when being cared for in a care home, making sure that home care services are opted for when possible would help reduce the risks of depression, allowing the client to remain in their own familiar environment and preserving their independence as much as possible.

What is dementia?


Dementia is a decline in mental ability, which mostly affects memory, perception and problem-solving as well as cognitive thinking. Much like depression, this disease can affect anyone, and increasingly older people, with a growing number of individuals being diagnosed each year as the baby boom generation grows older. 

As you can imagine, caring for someone with dementia is incredibly difficult as the condition worsens, especially when they lose the ability to speak and communication becomes very limited. Simple day-to-day things become difficult, such as feeding and cleaning themselves, which is when it becomes crucial for health, safety, and comfort reasons to seek adequate dementia care services

How to help older people suffering from depression


Support Groups 

Both people suffering from depression and their loved ones and/or caregivers can find joining a support group helpful and encouraging, enabling them to share their stories, exchange advice, and seek reassurance in realising they are not alone. Such groups can easily be found online or within your local community. 

Treatment & Therapy for Depression

There is medication available that can help contain and manage depression, depending on the individual, which can help them regain control and motivation. GPs and therapists highly recommend daily walks in the outdoors, keeping active and pursuing hobbies as an effective way of combating depression. Seeing a therapist or joining group therapy can also be a great alternative to reduce isolation by providing an opportunity to meet new people and open up about depression, hereby engaging in a mutual support system which will in turn participate to enhancing self-esteem. 

Unfortunately, there is currently still no cure for dementia or Alzheimer's, other than treating it with medication if the cause is a protein deficiency to the brain cells or with surgery, if caused by some form of head trauma, yet both can only manage or maintain the symptoms to an extent. Patients diagnosed at an earlier stage are recommended to take up regular exercise and various types of therapy to help keep their body and mind sharp, to help diminish the development of the disease.

Indeed, recommended un-medicated treatment methods for these forms of dementia are extremely similar if not identical to those of depression, reinforcing the association of both conditions.

Professional Home Care Services

Some people are cautious about hiring a professional carer but they can be great support and assurance, not only for the client, but also for their entourage.

When an older person shows symptoms of depression, home care services such as social companionship care services, with which a healthcare professional not only provides care but also emotional support to your loved one hereby creating a trustworthy relationship could significantly help them get through such a challenging time. Indeed, building that close compassionate relationship while helping them through that difficult period and encouraging them through treatment and therapy could thus also decrease the likelihood of developing dementia. 

If you have noticed such symptoms or conditions affecting one of your loved ones, do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of a friendly team to discuss the various ways in which we can help them, as well as you. Alternatively, you can also give us a call on 0800 688 8866 for more information and to discuss your situation further.