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With an ageing baby boomer generation, and few concrete, scientific advancements towards a prescribed drug or treatment in the last 10 years, Dementia and Alzheimer’s have become increasingly concerning conditions in the UK. As a result, the urgency to find a treatment is also becoming a pressing concern, as researchers endeavour to find a way of preventing the progression of these diseases.

With the increase in awareness, it has been incredibly encouraging to witness a greater commitment from governments, organisations and charities towards funding Alzheimer’s research in the hope of finding a cure; a commitment we can only hope will pay off in the near future. 

What is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?


Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are both currently incurable conditions which affect a person's brain, causing symptoms such as a decline of memory, as well as struggling with speaking or orientation, which can impede on sufferer’s quality of life and often require specialist care. As a result, they are diseases that can put a lot of strain on the families of sufferers, as well as the individuals themselves.

Currently, there are more than 850,000 people in Britain suffering with Dementia, and over the next 30 years the number of people to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to go into the tens of millions, as the population continues to age. Although therapists and scientists have been making progress on issues such as how to best live with dementia, the need to find an effective cure still remains. 

The New Alzheimer’s and Dementia Breakthrough


Earlier this year, there was a possible breakthrough towards discovering a treatment for Dementia. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, while researching a new type of Cancer drug, found a possible way to reduce the risk of people developing Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin when clumps of deformed protein, known as amyloid, build-up in the brain. 

These researchers found while testing a drug called Bexarotene, currently used to treat Lymphoma, that it could potentially stop these build ups of protein, thus preventing Alzheimer’s in later life. 

This therapy is called ‘neurostatin’, and lead researcher Prof Michele Vendruscolo believes people will be taking ‘neurostatin’ as early as their 30’s, to help prevent a build-up of amyloid and consequently stop the progress of the disease in the human brain.

Although it is still too soon to say whether this is the concrete breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research that has been awaited for the last decade, this discovery is extremely positive and can undoubtedly lead to preventing the number of potential Dementia cases in the future. 

As leading providers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia care services, we understand how these diseases can be great strains on sufferers and their loved ones. We also understand the need for people who are battling Alzheimer’s or Dementia to remain as independent as possible, and their wish to be able to continue living in their own home, which is why we provide a range of tailored home care services to ensure the highest quality of life to all of our clients.

If you’re interested in our Alzheimer’s and Dementia care services, please feel free to download our brochure, or get in touch with either our Birmingham, Bradford or Leicester offices for more information. 
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.
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.
Telehealth

Care service providers have had to drastically adapt to modern day technology over the past decade, as it is constantly evolving and impacting our lives, one way or another. Not only is it affecting businesses throughout the globe, it's also had a huge impact on a number of healthcare services.

You may not be aware of this, but the breakthroughs in digital healthcare are making a huge difference to everyone's life for the greater good. Healthcare experts are constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas to change and improve healthcare for future generations.

However simple or sophisticated, there has been a truly remarkable change in the way we look at digital health tools and how they are changing the ways in which you interact with your healthcare team and carers.

How have digital advancements improved global healthcare?


The impact of technology on healthcare is simply staggering, although you may be assuming that we are referring to the equipment used in health centres.

Highly accurate data consumption

Online access to personal health information, such as lab results, current medications and other vital data, has helped health professionals to provide safe and effective care, which in turn allows healthcare professionals to track your care, ease your anxiety, and facilitate discussions and secure sharing with your family and home care services providers.

Improved communication

This aspect of healthcare is something that has been improved significantly in recent years. With medical records now available online, the likes of electronic prescriptions and requests for renewals have been upgraded in order to reduce the amount of manual errors, which may occur in this particular sector of healthcare, thereby also making it easier for carers to verify. Indeed, too many have experienced misreading a piece of handwriting, which then resulted in the wrong medication and prescription being provided.

Telehealth, or the process of delivering health-related services via telecommunications technologies, is a prime example of improving communications between patients and their advisors. Telehealth is a huge breakthrough as it not only reduces the need for patients to travel (which can be a major factor, especially for someone who has restricted travel access or a severe disability), it is also fantastic for doctors, who may not be able to access some rural communities, giving them the ability to provide care services through video conferencing and online consultations.

The growing demand for doctors and GPs not always being met, we can't stress enough how important a healthcare professional becomes to a patient. This particular method reduces the need for in-person appointments, giving home care services' clients the option to potentially consult from their homes, with their carers alongside them. With ready access to test results - like blood work - duplication of testing can also be reduced, saving clients time and getting them treatment sooner.

Crucial remote monitoring for emergency situations

We fully appreciate that all clients' medical history is an entirely private matter, which - if accessible remotely and online - could be highly beneficial in the long term. All of your details would of course remain private and confidential, but could make all of the difference. If you were to suffer an accident and you were cared for by an emergency department staff who aren't familiar with your medical history and record, remote online access could then ensure that you our your loved ones receive appropriate and informed care in an emergency situation.

Management of complex or chronic conditions

With the ongoing advancements of digital platforms and smart device technologies, there are hundreds of fantastic applications that have been created to monitor and stimulate your health frequently. For those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, digital health can make day-to-day monitoring and tracking much easier, helping you to track what you eat, the exercise you do, your sleep cycles, etc. Electronic portals are enabling patients to be a more active part of their own care team by actively 'playing' games which help stimulate brain activity and - notably for Dementia and Alzheimer's care services clients - memory.

In 2014, the NHS announced their plans for technological advancements which they aim to have in place within the next 5 years:
  • NHS 'Kitemarks' for trusted smartphone apps, which will help patients access services and take more control of their health and wellbeing in 2015.

  • Patients are to be able to access their own GP record from spring 2015, and will have full access to care records by 2018. Patients will also be able to record their own comments.

  • Patients will only have to tell their story once. With consent, care records will be available electronically across the health system by 2018 for urgent care services, and 2020 for all services - dramatically improving co-ordination of care, particularly for those with complex conditions.

  • Introducing a digital 'red book' - helping parents to manage their child's early health records - in 2016.

  • Ensuring that the NHS remains a leader in the global race to fight disease and a hub for genomics research. Developing innovative personalised medicines will mean the right treatment, first time.
At Sova Healthcare, we are keeping up to date with al the current and future technological advancements within healthcare, always looking out for any advancement which could benefit our clients and the quality of our care services in order to ensure that you get the best care and attention possible, for yourself or for a loved one. If you have any questions regarding any of the home care services that we offer, or if you wish to discuss your needs and requiremetns, call us on 0800 688 8866 or simply get in touch with a member of our friendly team.
Men's Health Week

Men's Health Week 2014 specifically focused on health in relation to work, unemployment and stress, as health issues have been increasingly noticed following hardship brought upon men as a consequence of the recession, and issue which was far too often overlooked.

This year, healthy living for men will be the main focus of Men's Health Week, taking place from the 15th to the 21st June 2015. Promoting a healthier lifestyle and aiming to increase awareness of specific diseases, illnesses, and conditions related to unhealthy habits often showcased by men (such as excessive drinking, eating, smoking, and a reluctance towards routine check-ups and consultations), this week will be challenging men to change their routines for healthier alternatives.

Indeed, smoking, drinking, and food overconsumption are likely to lead to serious diseases, notably heart diseases and strokes which are more prone to developing. Although women are more prone certain illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's, heart problems in particular are increasingly experienced by men due to the laxer diet that is often permitted due to the common stereotypical belief that it is feminine and 'womanly' to watch your weight, and metrosexual to take care of your body.

Yet most fail to realise that with good life hygiene and a nutritious diet comes a strong immune system, health, and thus stability. The reluctance to consult when ill or injured is also a common behaviour observed in men, most likely due to a social pressure to display what is thought of as 'manliness', fighting diseases and showing strength and endurance as associated with a prehistoric basic hunting instinct that tells us to fight nature and battle the elements whilst striving for survival.

"Men are less aware of their symptoms than women, and are more reluctant to seek help" says Peter Baker, Chief Executive of the Men's Health Forum. In fact, a study by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) showed that men are less likely to seek medical advice or face-to-face treatments from pharmacists when ill, as well as being less willing to access NHS services than women, which can sometimes have devastating consequences.

As a result of this reluctance to seek medical advice or treatment, men are less likely to access disease screening or seek professional advice that will help them to shift towards healthier lifestyle alternatives (such as support plans to stop smoking). Unfortunately, this behaviour can lead to late diagnoses of serious conditions, and prevent adequate treatment from being prescribed as a preventative measure.

Indeed, this also continues through retirement, and notably when it comes to having to make the decision of whether constant care is required or whether home care services would be more appropriate. In light of an inherent need for independence (related to this need to identify with 'hunters'), men are often very reticent to the idea of a nursing home. Whilst we want to make sure that every single one of our clients receives the best and most appropriate care for their condition, we also strive to respect the choices and preferences of our clients, which is why we will always do our very best to provide the most supportive home care services for as long as possible.

This is why we provide a variety of domiciliary care services, from social companionship for emotional support to live-in care services when need be. We want to give men the chance to have their preferences made possible, whilst comprehensively helping them to remain as healthy as possible to enjoy the company of their loved ones.

Men's Health Week is therefore a great opportunity to raise awareness of such behaviours and trends whilst learning about the healthier lifestyles that are available. Father's Day also being almost upon us, remember to take care of your loved ones, and help them to look after their health as a preventative measure by offering them an essentially useful Health Manual.

Working hand in hand, lets make sure that all men realise the importance of their health and increase their sensibility when it comes to attending NHS check-ups and seeking adequate medical help or treatment.

For more information about the home care services that we offer and to discuss your needs and requirements, call us on 0800 688 8866 and get in touch with a member of our friendly team. Together, we can make sure that men get the support they need and deserve.