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

What is Dementia?

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


How to Care for People with Dementia?

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

1. The person you know is still there.

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

2. It’s not simply an age issue.

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


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

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

4. Trying to reason might not go well. 

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

5. It’s more than forgetting things.

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

6. We know that something is going on.

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

7. We’re still adults.

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

8. Our eyes still work.

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


9.We know it’s hard.

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

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

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.