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Healthcare Advice - Blog | Sova Healthcare

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.
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.
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.