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Palliative Care

Finding out that your loved one is facing palliative care is a very difficult concept to digest, even if you’ve watched them battle Alzheimer’s or Dementia for a very long time. Depending on the person’s age and type of Dementia, a patient can live for up to a decade after a diagnosis has been made. But that does not make it any easier when it comes to accepting that your loved one is facing end of life care. Even though you are fully aware that your family member’s Alzheimer’s or Dementia is progressing, you may find it hard to even believe what you’re hearing, and that’s perfectly normal. 

The end of life sector provides palliative care for over 200,000 people with terminal and debilitating illnesses in the UK. Watching a family member go into palliative care will be one of the toughest things you’ll ever do, but it is important to remember you’re not alone. Palliative Care intends to;
  • Improve their quality of life.
  • Relieve pain and any other distressing symptoms.
  • Support life and look at dying as a normal process.
  • It does not speed up or postpone death.
  • Combine psychological and spiritual aspects of care to create a calmer atmosphere.
  • Offer a support system so that people are able to live as actively as possible until death.
  • Offer a support system to help the family cope during end of life care and during bereavement.
  • Utilise a team approach to address the needs of the person in need of care, alongside their families.

Here are 5 tips to help you cope if your family member is facing palliative care.

Remember that this is what's best for your loved one.

It is important to remember that when your loved one is recieving end of life care, it is the best possible thing for them. Palliative care is designed for those who are no longer going to get better, and those with a complex illness. 

Whether they are having palliative care from home or hospital, the main aim of this type of care is to improve their quality of life and relieve them from any pain and any other distressing symptoms they may experience. According to a Marie Curie study, 63% of the UK’s population wish to die in the comfort of their home, and if your family member is amongst this figure and receiving end-of-life care at home - remind yourself that you’re doing what is best for them. Alongside this, if they are in a hospital or care home then remind yourself that they are in a safe place and being well looked after.

Join a support group.

Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK alone, and this number is expected to rise to 1,142,677 by 2025 - so do not worry, you are not alone. Hundreds of people across the UK will understand exactly what you’re going through. The hospice sector provides end-of-life care and bereavement support for 40,000 families a year. Sometimes being surrounded by people who can empathise with what you’re going through will help, as well as talking about your own experiences. 

Alternately, if you have any questions, queries or just need to talk to someone then use the palliative care team attending to your family member. They are there to help you through it after all.

Understand that you may not be the best person to provide care.

Providing domiciliary care for a loved one is incredibly hard, and due to the difficulties that come with palliative care, you may need to accept that a professional needs to take over. End-of-life care is a complex care that involves making decisions that you couldn’t ever imagine making for your loved ones, and whilst you may be able to provide day-to-day general care, they wild need specialist care when it comes to medication and other needs. 

Put your own health first.

According to Get Palliative Care, 60% of 44 million caregivers work a full-time job and spend roughly 18 hours a week caring for an ill family member. Sometimes you may feel resentful and overwhelmed (which is often followed by guilt) that you’re in this position, but asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Putting your own health first when a family member is getting palliative care simply means you are being sensible and looking at the bigger picture. How will you be able to continue supporting your loved one if you burn yourself out? Due to the way Alzheimer’s and Dementia attacks the brain, your loved one’s immune system will be very weak, and it important to make sure that you stay healthy so that you do not pass anything on to them that they cannot fight off. So, know when to ask for help and take a short break.

Make sure the required paperwork is filled out.

As soon as you find out your loved one needs palliative care, it is important to talk about their wants and needs when it comes to their end-of-life care, and fill out the necessary paperwork. Families making medical decisions on behalf of a loved one is devastating, but making sure their wishes are made clear beforehand will help you come to a certain decision. Asking your family member to make an advanced decision whilst they have the mental capacity to do so means that you can respect their wishes later on in their care. You can find out more about advanced medical decisions here.

If you would like advice or help regarding palliative care for a loved one then do not hesitate to get in touch.
Older people holding hands

Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia can severely test the vows you made to one another many moons ago. It is a very difficult and strenuous job that inevitably causes pain and grief for the person you once knew - before dementia came crashing into your lives.

However, whilst loving and caring for someone with dementia can be hard, you will find that it can be incredibly rewarding if you remember a few important things. So, in the spirit of Valentine's Day (14th February), here is what you should consider when your partner has dementia:

Dementia does not define who they are.


Being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia is devastating and life-changing both for the patient and for their loved ones, but it is crucial to remember that dementia does not become that person. You knew who they were before their diagnosis, and it is important to hold on to those memories of who they really are.

Dementia is responsible for their mood swings and personality changes.


Dementia is a physical disease that causes a build-up of proteins in the brain. These proteins then form plaques that kill nerve cells and block signals / connections in the brain. This causes significant loss and damage of brain tissue, alongside the production of chemicals because important messages are no longer being delivered.

All of this is responsible for the mood swings and personality changes you see in your partner - it is imperative to remember that it is the disease that is progressing and causing this.

Learn as much as you can about dementia.


Educating yourself about dementia as much as you possibly can means that you will be able to better understand what is happening to your loved one and why. This means that you can rationalise the situation and empathise with your partner, as well as preparing for the future.

Love your partner for who they are now.


Watching the person you've spent your life with change before your very eyes is a devastating experience, but it is essential that you learn to love your partner with dementia (even as you hold on to the memories of what they were like before). Once you have grieved for the loss of the person you loved - and learned to love them anew - accepting the fact that you may not be able to 'reach' the person they once were becomes easier. Former Alzheimer's caregiver Ellen Woodward Potts states, "The key to coming to terms with this loss is to realise that the human being you have known and loved is still there, but their persona has been masked by Alzheimer's."

Expect the unexpected.


It is important to be realistic in your expectations for yourself and your loved one. Make sure the goals you set are realistic, and don't get wound up if they are not met. For example, if an activity your partner used to love now causes a negative response then accept this and try something different. Remember, it is the progression of the disease that is causing their behaviour.

Learn to let things go.


Learning to let things go when your partner suffers from dementia is one of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of the disease, but it is a crucial one. Their mood swings, personality changes and memory loss will be caused by the progression of plaque build-up in their brain, so make sure you are not arguing with them over a forgotten memory or the way they are behaving as it will only upset the pair of you. Be willing to take the high ground and let it go.

Listen to your own limitations.


Those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease may require a range of home care, from specialist domiciliary care to palliative care. This is a huge responsibility for professional caregivers, let alone family members who also act as caregivers. Due to the complex needs and characteristics of dementia, the disease costs the UK over £26 billion per year, and there are currently over 670,000 carers in the UK. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or additional support when you feel overwhelmed.

Make sure you rely on friends and family members if necessary. You're doing everything imaginable - and more - to be there for your partner, and it's important to remember that your support network will be there for you too. Understand your own emotional and physical limitations; it takes a strong person to do all of this alone, but it takes an even stronger person to ask for help when they need it.

Explore methods of communication.


Communication is something that the majority of dementia patients struggle with to one degree or another, but poetry, dance, music, arts and crafts are all good ways to connect with your partner. These methods are especially helpful when your loved one is no longer able to verbally communicate. Remember, a gentle touch on the arm and a kind approach will also show them just how loved they still are.

Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK alone, and this number is expected to rise to 1,142,677 by 2025. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, but no two people living with dementia are the same. If you would like advice on how to care for a family member with dementia, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Caring for someone with dementia can be particularly challenging, but developing a deeper understanding of what they are going through can benefit everyone.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is used to refer to a number of brain-centred disorders, with varying symptoms. It is most commonly associated with a loss of memory and a sense of disorientation, but has many other effects that can be daunting.


How to Care for People with Dementia?

Due to the nature of dementia, those suffering can’t always communicate their feelings effectively. But with research and awareness growing, people are talking more and more about their experiences. We’ve taken a look at what is being discussed, and have found some useful tips for dementia carers to help their loved ones or clients live with dementia

1. The person you know is still there.

Amidst the forgetfulness and confusion, it can be easy to imagine that the person suffering with Dementia has changed. Aspects of their mind may be unrecognisable, but deep down they are still the same person. It’s important not to write-off their old self. Chances are, they are missing them as much as you are. So as often as possible, engage with the person you truly know.

2. It’s not simply an age issue.

Of course, dementia is more prominent in older people, but there are also over 40,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia is not simply a side-effect of ageing; it is something the affects many different people, in many different ways.


3. Good days and bad days will all come and go.

The nature of the condition makes it unpredictable, which means that a good day can turn bad, but then a not-so-good moment can also turn right around. When caring from someone with dementia, going with the flow is a way of life.

4. Trying to reason might not go well. 

In many cases, dementia can lead to irrational thoughts and feelings, which means that it can often strip a person of their ability to reason. This isn’t to say that disagreements need to be totally extinguished, although the scalability of them should be carefully measured.  

5. It’s more than forgetting things.

Forgetting names and faces is an unfortunate aspect of many people’s experience, but dementia can be much more than that. Dementia can mean hallucinations, delusions, angers and other disruptive effects. Each one of these present an unpleasant situation, which means that dementia care is ultimately about gaining a fuller understanding, so that these symptoms can be suitably handled when they occur.

6. We know that something is going on.

Dementia is a disorder that disorientates the brain - something that can undoubtedly lead to confusion. The realisation that something is not quite right can be distressing for those dealing with dementia, so it’s often beneficial to help embrace changes rather than to add to any confusion.

7. We’re still adults.

There’s a tricky, fine line to be tiptoed along here. In a distressing, lonely, confusing time, it’s easy to find your tone of voice softening and body language becoming more animated. Each and every person is different, so there is always personal preference, but when it comes to dementia care, it is always worth remembering that the person in question is not a child.

8. Our eyes still work.

Though some aspects of a dementia sufferer's mind may not be as they were before, other parts may be perfectly unaffected. Much like the first point, it’s vital to always be aware of how they are feeling and how they would like to be treated. Something as simple as keeping eye contact can boost the confidence of someone who may be feeling low or left out. 


9.We know it’s hard.

Caring for someone with dementia is by no means an easy feat, and dealing with dementia is certainly not a walk in the park either. It’s this mutual appreciation that can help relationships strengthen in these situations, and ensure that everyone is as comfortable as they can be.

To learn more about dementia and dementia care services, get in touch with Sova Healthcare, a team of leading healthcare specialists in Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford, to discuss how we can 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.