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Alzheimer's

There’s no denying that Alzheimer’s can have a terrible impact on the lives of sufferers and their loved ones, and with diagnosis rates steadily rising, management of the disease is now more important than ever. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimers, but, as its prevalence continues to increase, notably with the aging of the baby boomers generation, research has been stepped up, and it looks as though there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel.

A new study, published in the journal of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in February 2015, claims that to have found a way of stopping Alzheimer’s in its tracks, which could lead to the development of a new drug which would have the ability to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s, when taken in the earliest stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s is caused by the formation of plaques in the brain, which hamper nerve cells and interfere with brain function. However, the research revealed that the use of a certain molecule, found naturally in human lungs, can halt this process, and prevent the creation of more plaques.There is still some way to go before this research can be used to develop a drug, but nonetheless, this discovery could lead to a preventative treatment for potentially millions of individuals, allowing them to lead normal lives well into old age.

Another recent study, reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine in March 2015, was conducted by scientists from the University of Queensland, and explored the use of ultrasound to restore brain function in mice with Alzheimer’s. Ultrasound was used to remove the abnormal clumps of brain proteins caused by the disease, and the mice showed a 50% reduction in the amount of plaques following 5-7 weeks’ of treatment, which allowed them to regain lost brain activity. Again this research is in its early stages, but the results on mice were promising, and this will lead to medical trials of the treatment in humans over the next few years. 

Finally, some research from Duke University in North Carolina, published in the Journal of Neuroscience in April 2015, claims to have shed light on the cause of Alzheimer’s which could lead to a whole new wave of treatment options. The study revealed that when Alzheimer’s takes hold, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead start to consume an important brain nutrient called arginine, which leads to the suppression of the immune system. By blocking this process with a drug (DFMO), the team observed that plaques were prevented from forming in the brains of mice, leaving neurological function unaffected.

Currently Alzheimer’s and dementia affect more than 830,000 people in the UK alone, so the ramifications of these discoveries are very far reaching indeed. However, although these results are promising, treatment remains some way off, and even with significant advances in research, it will still be a number of years before any medication will be available to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s.

At Sova Healthcare we know the life changing consequences that this cruel illness can have, and that’s why we’re dedicated to offering a care package which is entirely tailored to you, to help make things a little easier. We will work with you and your loved ones to develop a unique care plan, and we can provide as much, or as little assistance as you require. 

If you’d like to find out more about care available for Alzheimer’s sufferers, please visit our dedicated Alzheimer’s Home Care page, or contact us to talk through your requirements with a friendly member of our team.

Photograph by Bev Sykes.
Old age home care

Choosing the right care option for you or your loved one can be a difficult decision. When we become reliant on assistance from others, it can be hard to imagine how it would be possible to remain in our own homes, but here at Sova Healthcare we believe that every client should have the right to stay in familiar surroundings. Here are five reasons why you should consider home care over a care home:
  1. Surroundings
    One of the main advantages of home care is the fact that you will be staying in an environment that's familiar to you. A change of location can be stressful at the best of times, but it can hit us particularly hard when we are feeling vulnerable or unwell. By staying in your own home you will be surrounded by the people and the things that you know and love best, and your wellbeing is likely to reap the rewards.

  2. Funding
    Surprisingly enough, it is often cheaper to be cared for in your own home than in a care home, as you do not have to pay for accommodation costs on top of your care. You may also be eligible for funding from your local authority for some or all of the expense. You can find out more about available finance options on our Funding page.

  3. Attention
    When you are cared for in your own home, you will have your own dedicated carer. This means that you won't have to worry about competing for attention from busy care home staff, and your needs will be cared for one-on-one by a regular provider who will get to know you and your requirements very closely.

  4. Lifestyle
    Becoming reliant on a carer doesn't mean that life as you know it is over. When you are cared for at home, you are much more likely to be able to retain some independence, and as part of our social companionship service, our carers can even accompany you on trips to visit friends and relatives away from home.

  5. Food
    Mealtimes can be a very personal occasion; everyone has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to food, but unfortunately, care homes are often too busy to cater to individual tastes. When you are cared for at home by one of our highly trained members of staff, you will be able to discuss with your carer what you would like to eat and when you would like to eat it, giving you total control.
Our homes are so much more than bricks and mortar. They have immeasurable sentimental value to us, and by staying in your own home, you can avoid a lot of unwanted upheaval, making the transition into healthcare as smooth as possible.

At Sova Healthcare, we provide more than just healthcare services. Our domiciliary carers can assist with a variety of household chores, including cooking and cleaning, while providing you with assistance for dressing, bathing, medical administration and more. If you would like to find out more about the home care services that Sova can offer you, please visit our care services page, or contact us for more information.
Over one million people have now signed up to The Alzheimer's Society's groundbreaking 'Dementia Friends' initiative.

Dementia Friends

The programme originally launched two years ago, and it aims to educate the general public on what dementia is, how to spot the symptoms, and how to help those suffering from the illness, in order to eradicate the fear and isolation felt by many with the disease. The plan is working towards creating 'dementia friendly communities' with support networks across the country.

Although there are an estimated 720,000 people suffering from dementia in England alone, many have not been diagnosed. Prime Minister David Cameron has called it "one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime", and the government has announced that it will be providing more than £300m to tackle dementia during the next parliament.

If you'd like to sign up to become a Dementia Friend, you can join the initiative here.

Learn how to spot the signs of dementia.

Do you know someone with the following symptoms?

  • Memory loss, especially problems with remembering recent events
  • Increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
  • Becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Depression

How can Sova Healthcare help those suffering from dementia?

Dementia can be a very challenging condition to care for. Sufferers, and their friends and family, can be put under a lot of strain, so it is of vital importance that the right help is received. At Sova Healthcare, we understand that every case of dementia is unique, and that it will affect you and your family in different ways. This is why our specialist care package is tailored to individuals, so you can be sure that your personal requirements will be taken into account. Our highly trained and experienced carers will provide compassionate and sensitive care for those with dementia in their own homes, allowing them to retain their independence for as long as possible.

If you would like to find out more about our services, please visit our dementia care page, or contact us for more information.
There's no denying that more of us are now reaching old age than ever before - while this rise in life expectancy is thanks to excellent advances in medical technology and education, the knock-on effect is an increased strain on the NHS. With the post-war baby boom generation now already beginning to retire, our care system is about to face a strain like never before.


The Integral Foundation has projected that, by 2018, the proportion of over-65s in the UK will have risen by around 2 million, which at current funding levels will mean that spending per patient will have to fall by 9% to cover the increase in demand from this generation. When Simon Stevens, the current Chief Executive of the NHS, joined the organisation in 2014, he admitted that "service pressures are intensifying, and long-standing problems are not going to disappear overnight".

With this reality looming, more and more people will need to look to independent social care or healthcare to support both themselves and elderly relatives and to ensure thorough, high-quality care. While the NHS is undoubtedly a fantastic institution, and the envy of many countries around the world, the reality is that, with increasing demands, it can no longer offer a service which is tailored to its patients. Although NHS funded care homes are available, they are often oversubscribed, and of variable quality.

At Sova Healthcare, we adapt our care to you. We offer a wide variety of different service options, but we always take into account any special needs or requirements you may have in order to provide truly personal care. Our staff are all highly qualified and receive specific training and experience to enable them to perform their job to the high standards that we expect, and our customers deserve.

Although all our services are available privately, funding support is available if you require it. Your local authority may be able to help finance some or all of your care costs - simply contact your social services department to find out more. We are also one of only a handful of healthcare providers to offer an appointeeship service, which allows vulnerable adults and the elderly to receive financial help and guidance to enable them to live independently.

If you'd like to find out more about how Sova Healthcare could help you, or an elderly friend or relative, please get in touch with us today to talk through your requirements, or visit our FAQ page to find out more.
Winter weather

With the cold weather now well and truly upon us, and winter just around the corner, it's normal to feel concerned about your loved ones, particularly any elderly friends or relatives who may be living on their own through these chilly months. Although winter-related mortality fell in 2013/14, there were still over 18,000 preventable deaths in England and Wales alone, with the most vulnerable group being those aged 75 and over. So what can you do to help your loved ones to get through this time safely? 

Check up on them regularly
The most important thing is to keep in contact with them regularly - ideally you should visit them in person, but if this is not practical, a daily phone call to check in with them and make sure that they have everything they need will help give you peace of mind, as well as bringing them the comfort of knowing that someone is looking out for them. 

Make sure they stay warm safely 
Speak to them about their heating and make sure their thermostat is set to an adequate temperature. It should be around 21oC in living rooms; bedrooms can go down to 18oC, but electric blankets or hot water bottles can also be used to boost temperature. You should also make sure that they have sufficient winter clothing and blankets. If you have any concern regarding their heating system, arrange for a qualified engineer to assess it. If they use gas, make sure that a carbon monoxide alarm has been fitted and that they know to leave air vents unblocked. 

If you have any concern about how your loved one will pay for heating during the winter, you can find out about the help available for winter fuel payments at Age UK.

Encourage them to stay healthy
Make sure your loved ones eat well by incorporating a variety of fruit and vegetables into their diet, and ensure that they have at least one hot meal per day. If they cook for themselves, make sure that their cupboards and freezer are well stocked in case it is too difficult for them to get to the shops during very cold spells. Encourage them to take advantage of government health initiatives such as the flu vaccine, free to anyone over 65, as well as those with underlying health conditions and weak immune systems.

Help them to avoid accidents
When ice or snow cover roads and pavements, accidents are far more likely to happen, and as elderly people are far more vulnerable to injury than younger adults, the repercussions of a slip or fall can be far more serious. If your loved one is likely to venture out in inclement weather, ask them whether you or another volunteer can run their errands for them, or accompany them on their outing. You can also assist by gritting the path and driveway surrounding their property and offer to shovel snow for them. If your loved one usually drives, suggest that they leave the car at home until the weather improves, and offer help and assistance where you can.

How Sova Healthcare can help
We know that as much as you care about your loved ones, it is not always practical to care for them, particularly if you live far away or work full time. We offer an extensive range of flexible care options, which are tailored to you, so we can offer as much or as little support as you require, allowing you to rest easy, safe in the knowledge that your loved ones are being looked after. If you’d like to find out more about how Sova Healthcare can help you, please get in touch with us today.