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It is estimated that there are currently more than 850,000 people in Britain living with dementia, and that this number will reach 1 million by 2025. Dementia is a problem that's not going away any time soon. This is why we strive to continue finding the best ways to live with dementia.


How to cope with memory problems


People diagnosed with early stages of dementia and those who are yet to be diagnosed will start to experience problems with their memory and start becoming more forgetful. There are a number of methods that can help train and strengthen your memory to help you cope with these problems.

Memory Aids 


One tactic is to use memory aids. This could be a device like your mobile phone or a digital organiser, something where you can set reminders for yourself. This could be big events like doctor’s appointment or simple everyday tasks, like reminders to take medication. 

Ideally, it would be something that is synchronised to a similar device of a caregiver or carer who can add events and notes for you.

Memory Games & Strategies 


Dementia can affect your memory in unpredictable and unexpected ways. At earlier stages, it could target small specific events and memories that sufferers would struggle to remember without prompting. There are a number of small memory games and strategies that can help you. 

A common method is rhyming or associating that particular memory or piece of information with something else. When you struggle to remember that specific memory, think of that associated object or word to help prompt yourself. 

Keep a Diary 


Simply keeping a diary of your thoughts and plans can help. It helps you keep track of past events, what has happened or why something is different at home, in order reassure you. 

Keep Active


As simple as this might seem, keeping active can help keep your memory and alert as well as helping keep your spirits high.

How to remain independent


Naturally, people would prefer to remain living in their own homes and remain independent rather than being taken into care. Just because you have dementia, this does not mean that is no longer possible. 

Home Care


One way of helping you remain at home and independent is having home care services. This is where a nurse or carer makes visits to your home, helping you with your medication, treatment and day to day household chores as well as checking that you’re well. Due to the prominence of Dementia, specialised services are now become more available.

How to manage your finances


An important aspect of your life that needs to be looked after if you want to remain independent is your financial affairs. 

Direct Debits


It is advised that you set up your bills to be paid automatically by direct debit, so you don’t miss your payments and have your utilities cut off. Especially during the winter, the last thing you’d want is to have your heating cut off. 

Appointeeship Services


An appointeeship is where a third party person is brought in to help you manage your financial affairs. They would make sure your bills are paid, help you with budgeting and, if you’re on benefits, ensure you’re still receiving them. This service can help you organise your affairs to prevent any financial issues.

Dementia support groups & sharing


When you’ve recently been diagnosed with dementia, you will instantly feel very alone but you’re not and should not shut yourself away. 

There are a number of support groups across the country which meet up regularly and share with each other, this is important. Getting out, meeting people and sharing your experiences can significantly help you when living with dementia. This keeps you active and reassures you that you’re not alone. Depression and mood swings can affect people with dementia, and one of the causes for this is isolation. The best thing about these support groups is that they will not turn you away. 

If you’re interested to learn how Sova Healthcare can help you remain independent and help you through dementia, 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.
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.
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.
Alzheimer's Care

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of Dementia can impact every aspect of a carer's daily life. As Alzheimer’s develops, caregivers will be faced with tests of stamina, problem solving, and resiliency.

Some of the most common situations caregivers face can be truly heart breaking and can sometimes be very difficult to deal with for loved ones and friends.

Alzheimer’s disease not only impacts the daily life of the person affected by it, but is also a very challenging disease to care for, yet these challenges caregivers are faced with on a daily basis are often overlooked, notably as most research and studies aim to focus on the disease itself rather than the ways in which it can be made more bearable. Whilst science is making groundbreaking progress towards finding ways to prevent it, and even maybe a cure one day, carers and sufferers still have to deal with the disease every day.

Nowadays, many care systems are available for sufferers to help them remain comfortable, yet the challenges faced by caregivers in providing them with the best support are often overlooked.

Although every client is different and unique, caregivers often encounter similar situations, which can be made more tolerable if dealt with in certain ways, based on discussions and expert advice from some professional Alzheimer's carers.
 

1. If the person you care for no longer recognises you


If someone suffers from Alzheimer’s, there might come a day when they can no longer recognise or acknowledge you, which will most likely be one of the most heartbreaking experiences you could be faced with, which is why it is even often considered one of the hardest consequences or most challenging symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. In such situation, it is important to remember that as hard as it is, the person suffering is not aware of this lack of recognition, and that they are in no pain, which is often a carer’s primary concern.

How can you help?

Try and visit the person you care for as much as you can: If the person suffering from Alzheimer’s is living in a care facility, it’s important to visit them frequently. Family members might think there is no real positive impact which can come from visiting someone that doesn’t recognise you anymore, yet there are several reasons why continuing to visit does matter, including the following:
  1. The person you care for may actually unconsciously recognise you, but the disease doesn’t allow them to express this recognition.  
  2. The person may remember how often you visit, despite the fact that they might be unaware of their relationship with you.
  3. The person may enjoy having a visitor, despite the fact that he or she may not be completely aware of who you are.
  4. If the person enjoys or even acknowledges your visit, you may feel gratified you’ve given him or her comfort and support, which can help with the care of this disease.
Alternatively, if someone is cared from in their own home, the familiarity of the surrounding, and memory triggers around their house are likely to help them remember you, even if only from time to time, which is why being by their side as often as possible will help reassure and comfort them in these moments of lucidity.

2. If the person loses the ability to talk


If the person you are caring for has Alzheimer’s and become unable to verbally communicate with you, then you may feel like you can’t connect with them anymore. Although this is a common reaction, it is important to keep in mind that connecting and communicating with another person is not exclusively a verbal process. Indeed, there are several forms of nonverbal communications that can help you reach out to the person you care for, which can truly make a difference.

How can you help?

Here are three of the most supportive and empathetic non-verbal communication methods:
  1. Physical contact
  2. Smiling and making eye contact
  3. Using visual and audio aids (photos, paintings and music)

3. If it has become time to consider a care home


This is the last and perhaps one of the most painful and difficult experiences you may encounter, especially when caring for a relative. Most of the time, Alzheimer’s home care services can be sufficient, as care packages are flexible according to the client’s needs, yet if you need to involve care homes in his or her care, it can be extremely difficult, not only for that person but also for caregivers and carers, whom are often overwhelmed by a feeling of letting down the person they care for.

How can you help?

We know this can be a truly heartbreaking decision to make, which is why the best approach to this particular situation is often to discuss it and talk about it by the person it concerns, explaining the reasoning behind the decision, as well as highlighting how this will help care for their health and safety. Such decision will also affect carers personally, as often followed by a feeling of guilt, which is why it is important that you surround yourself with your loved ones, whom will in turn be able to reassure you have made the right decision.

It is important to try and keep in mind that the person you are caring for will often not be fully aware of the situation, and its gravity, which on a positive side enables them to continue enjoying meaningful moments without worrying about the future, helping them in a way avoid fear and pain, any carer’s priority. Nonetheless, trying to keep the person suffering of Alzheimer’s in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible has often proven to help stimulate their memory, and reduce their disorientation.

We are fully aware how challenging and heartbreaking this disease can be for family and friends and carers, notably in the eventuality of a passing, which is why, if you find yourself struggling to come to terms with someone’s passing, we recommend that you seek professional advice and care, to help you get through such a difficult time by providing you with the adequate support.

For more information on the Alzheimer’s care services and other home care services we offer, download our brochure, or if you wish to discuss your needs and requirements in more details, call us on 0800 688 8866 or simply get in touch with a member of our friendly team.
Hogewey Care Centre dementia village

Dementia care is constantly evolving, as research continues to advance towards improve treatments and care provided to those affected by such a dreadful disease, getting closer to the hope of someday finding a cure. Based upon recent medical breakthroughs, two medical centres have designed unique dementia caring methods last year, hereby catching the attention of the media as well as scientists across the world due to their groundbreaking approach on how to best care for dementia sufferers whilst offering them the best quality of life they could possible get in such challenging times. These are the two centres which have truly inspired us at Sova Healthcare to continuously seek new ways to provide the most adequate home care services to our clients:

Ivy House: Accepting Dementia

One of the most recent cases of revolutionary dementia care was brought to our attention this year as Channel 4 aired “Dementiaville”. This program followed residents during a standard day at Ivy House, warmly sharing a brighter side to dementia care for the elderly. This program aimed to bring light to the unique caring methods used by the centre, as well as the comprehensive cognitive therapy provided by the carers at Poppy Lodge.

In order to help their patients, the hard working carers and therapists of the home do not attempt to correct or rectify the confusion of the patients but instead embrace and encourage what the sufferers are believing. This approach is adopted by everyone associated with Ivy House, as they strongly believe in the provision of individualistic and person-centred care for people with dementia.

They understand that each person is different and focus on working alongside patients’ families and loved ones to fully understand an individual’s needs, a truly fundamental belief at Sova Healthcare. This particular approach to dementia is now becoming a method which many care facilities around the UK are taking on board; rather than correcting dementia sufferers, they are making sure the residents are comfortable and happy with their beliefs, despite battling such an illness.

Hogewey Care Centre

Similar to the Ivy Lodge, Hogewey Care Centre is designed specifically as a pioneering care facility for elderly people with dementia, and laid out to function as a village exclusive for dementia sufferers.

Also known as a “Dementia Village”, all of the residents of this care centre are freely living a seemingly normal life, having access to restaurants, supermarkets, hairdressers and even a theatre whilst being surrounded by beautiful landscapes and courtyards. All of these facilities are in fact ran by the carers of the patients whom also live on site alongside with the residents. This enables the carers to care for their patients with severe cases of dementia in the best way possible, whilst simultaneously monitoring the progress made from this unique caring method, which has already have a huge impact on dementia research and proven particularly helpful to supporting sufferers of such a disorientating and confusing illness.

How accepting dementia is helping sufferers

According to the World Health Organisation, 35.6 million people across the world are suffering of dementia with 7.7 million new cases being diagnosed every year. At this rate, the number of people with dementia is expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. Yet, with such revolutionary care methods encouraging scientific breakthrough and treatment developments, we are hoping for these numbers to be cut down significantly.

These environmental settings are making a considerable difference in the way we take care of people who suffer from both cognitive and behavioral problems associated with dementia. According to Dr. Paul Newhouse, who is the director of Vanderbilt University's Center for Cognitive Medicine:

"These particular practices are really the key to improving quality of life for these patients without excess medication."

Some may say the initial $25 million spent on this particular facility is excessive, yet it is actually similar to more traditional nursing homes in Europe at around €5,000 per month. Indeed, although representing a larger investment at the start, the long term cost of living will become very similar to more traditional facilities, whilst the benefits of these care “villages” will be considerably greater. 

Critics have claimed that these environmental practices tend to fool residents into “living in a fantasy world”, which is not what these centres aim to do. As a matter of fact, carers of residents - although not seeking to correct the residents when reminiscing memories, background or experiences - do not deceive them either. Indeed, if directly asked, they will truthfully tell residents they are in a place where they can receive required care for their condition. 

According to a CNN report in 2013, the Hogewey approach is showing that not only are patients getting the care and attention they deserve, they are also eating better and taking less medication, which could lead to a longer lifespan due to not being medically dependent on prescription drugs.

At Sova Healthcare, we truly believe that not only is this method an ethically better solution to dementia care, but is an approach that more UK care providers should learn from considering the positive impact it has have on dementia sufferers.

This is why we always keep up to date with all the current and future treatments having the potential to help caring for dementia sufferers in order to provide our clients with the best dementia care services available. We are always looking out for any advancement that could benefit our clients. We pride ourselves on the quality of our care services and always make sure that you get the best care and attention possible entirely tailored to your personal needs and requirements.

For more information on the dementia home care services we offer, download our brochure, or if you wish to discuss your needs and requirements in more details, call us on 0800 688 8866 or simply get in touch with a member of our friendly team.