dementia

  • How a few mealtime interventions and lots of tlc has helped Jo's Mum to live longer

    This is a very touching and personal story of how in December 2016, Jo, MD of Hcsuk was told that her Mum had given up on life and had stopped eating, but Jo persevered and has been able to improve her Mum's dining experience to the point that she recently celebrated her 98th birthday. What a fantastic outcome!


     

  • Discover which 5 positive outcomes for loved ones help shape Hcsuk.

    In this very short video Jo talks about how having her own Mum at home aged 98, living with vascular dementia helps her to shape the business with real empathy.

  • A Dementia Friendly Pantomime Experience? Oh Yes You can!

    Ever since I was a little girl, I remember that my Mum loved everything about the pantomime.

    And frankly, why not?  According to the Oxford dictionary ‘a panto is funny and has something for the girls – a love story, and something for the boys – a duel fight with swords.’  Add in a measure of slapstick comedy, some music and dancing and you have the perfect recipe for some good old fashioned entertainment which can be enjoyed by all generations.

    Mum always fancied herself in the traditional role of the principle boy, where a lady would don a short jacket,  long over the thigh length boots and engage in plenty of  thigh slapping – and she definitely had the legs for it!

    So there was always an annual seasonal trip to the panto clearly marked in our family social calendar, and was eagerly anticipated by us all. From an early age, like my Mum, I absolutely adored the brightly coloured sparkly costumes, the singing and dance routines, joining in with all of the audience participation, (oh yes I did!), not forgetting, of course, the good old pantomime dame, “cos there ain’t nothing like a dame"!

    I can even remember one year being one of the ‘boys and girls’ invited to go up on stage and singing Rupert the Bear along with the cast!

    Fast forward to my teenage years and Dad was in the local rotary club and once a year, my Mum and I would help him and his fellow Rotarians to take  a coach party of elderly pensioners to the pantomime.

    When Ashleigh and Joseph came along, (my children) Mum couldn’t wait to introduce her grandchildren to her beloved panto and would treat us all to tickets to see the latest show at the Nottingham Playhouse. We chose there over the bigger and grander Theatre Royal in Nottingham which attracted the celebrity cast, preferring the lower key locally written performance by Kenneth Alan Taylor, who generally also starred in the production as Widow Twankey or another such pantomime dame.

    These trips created a special bond between the three generations of our family and the kids would insist on taking Granny to Macdonald’s afterwards for a happy meal of chicken nuggets and fries, a whole new experience for her!

    Sadly the day came when, due to Mum’s failing mobility, coupled with her fear of heights and steps, she resigned herself to the fact that she would no longer be able to join us on our annual outing. However not wanting to deprive us of our annual treat, Mum insisted on continuing to pay for me to take the children without her. So we hit on a happy compromise and would call at Macdonald’s after the performance and take a happy meal for us all back to her house with a programme of the play. Mum would love to hear from the children all about the performance.

    One of the saddest things about growing old, I believe, is facing the realization that you are no longer able to manage to do the things you used to love to do, and the prospect that you have done something for the last time. I can only imagine how that would have affected Mum, to know that she would probably never get to see another live pantomime during her lifetime.

    Mum is now 97 and three quarters, (and will be 98 on March 8th) and is currently being supported at home with Vascular Dementia.

    Now my kids are grown up too and so it was a particular treat to be invited to visit the panto this Christmas with Ashleigh, along with my step daughter Anna and her two children Harlow and Austin, to see Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood. To see their little faces light up and how much they enjoyed it really brought home to me how much pleasure my Mum must have got from watching us all. Another 3 generations enjoying the panto together, the family tradition lives on, happily.

    The stage is set!

    During the interval, Ashleigh pointed out to me a leaflet which was in her programme, advertising a dementia friendly performance of the pantomime.

    This idea really sparked my interest and it got me thinking about the possibilities. What if this adapted performance enabled me to take Mum to enjoy just one more pantomime show?

    The following morning I rang the theatre to find out more about what was special about a dementia friendly performance. The young girl on the phone was extremely helpful and explained:

    • they reduce the music volume when dialogue is taking place,
    • they have a relaxed attitude to people changing seats during the performance
    • and even to people leaving and reentering whilst the performance is on
    • as it isn’t a schools performance, the audience is quieter
    • there is additional signage with pictures in the foyer
    • there is a quiet room for those who need it, before, during and after the performance
    • there are additional support staff to help

    Overall they describe it as a much more relaxed attitude towards noise and movement during the performance.

    I was quite nervous about the prospect of this big  trip out, so I decided to ask Mum if she would like  to go, and when I did, her face told me everything I needed to know. She broke out in the biggest, beaming smile I’d seen from her in a long time.  So, from then on it just has to be done, there was no turning back and the tickets were booked that same day. Although Mum can’t remember what time of day it is or which meal she’s recently eaten, she remembered and KNEW that we were going to the pantomime on Thursday January 17th 2019 for a matinee performance. She kept referring back to it, and telling everyone, ‘I'm going to the pantomime you know’ so I knew how much it meant it to her to be going.

    The day dawned, and Mum was dressed up and ready to go in her Sunday, complete with new hair do, lipstick and her pearls. On arrival, we were welcomed by a smiling male member of the Playhouse team who took complete care of us from that moment, organising programmes, (including a specially adapted programme), and the obligatory bag of Maltesers and who then personally escorted us to our seats. The auditorium was roughly three quarters full with many ladies and gents, some of whom had come with their spouses and others in parties from care homes and local societies. It was such a pleasure to see a great turn out and to know that so many were going to be able to enjoy this experience.

    Mamma Whitty and some of the cast of the pantomime

    There was a good ratio of staff around to be of assistance throughout the performance, all dressed in yellow T shirts for instant visibility,  and Mum soon got into the spirit of the performance - joining in, singing along to ‘Underneath the Spreading Chestnut Tree’  together with the actions, and booing the baddie, ‘Oh no! Not the Sheriff of Nottingham!' when prompted. I could see how it took her right back and was a great experience for her.

    At the end of the show, the performers all came out into the audience, chatting and posing for photos. They were fantastic and couldn’t have been kinder and more patient. Robin Hood himself came over to talk to Mum. She was fascinated by his costume asking if she could feel the sequins on his jacket. I asked if Mum would like her photo taken with Robin and before I knew it, he had gathered several other cast members around him and we were able to snap an amazing pictorial memento of the occasion, with Mum surrounded by a mass of colorful and sparkling and beaming smiles. A fantastic experience overall. Mum did take Robin into her confidence and told him that she had actually starred in the previous year’s performance, (wishful thinking I believe!) and that she was there on that day in her official capacity escorting 70 elderly people to watch the performance!  Being there had obviously evoked some powerful memories for her!

    I have given Nottingham Playhouse a 5 star rating for doing a fantastic job to enable so many ladies and gents to enjoy the panto that day. Since then, I have learnt that they offer relaxed and dementia friendly performances of all the plays they stage. We have already talked about the fact that we may well return. As Mum’s carer, I get to go for free, what’s not to love about that?! I will happily continue to be Mum’s theatre buddy.

    Bookings are already being taken for Sleeping Beauty for Christmas 2019, and God willing, we will definitely be going back!

    For more information on dementia friendly performances and familiarisation visits plus any questions - you can email [email protected]  or you can call the box office  on 01159 419419 at the Nottingham Playhouse.
     

  • Why you need to know about Dignified Dining for All

    We have been banging on about dignified dining for over 18 months now, since the launch of our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide in fact, back in June 2017. In case you missed that launch, you can catch Jo talking about here - go ahead and watch it now, we'll wait.

    We know that the tools, tips and guidance included in the Dignified Dining Solutions Guide can make a marked difference to those in your care, from individuals in the home to those in care homes. We’re offering you the chance to get this 34 page guide, worth over £5.99 for FREE!

    Order my guide!

    Here’s what a few other people think about it -

    "My daughter is 12 years old she has a diagnosis of down's syndrome, oral dysphagia, autism, sensory processing disorder and food intolerances. I have only been able to give her pureed or mashed food which she was not particularly interested in.  She is assisted at meal times. The first time she say saw her food moulded dinner, she shouted, "Carrots!". The next time, she wants to know what every bit of food was on her plate. This time I had used parsnips in the carrot mould, "What's that? What's that?!" she said as SHE used a fork to scoop up pieces of dinner onto her fork and into her mouth with glee. But what's most important to me is that my daughter is beginning to enjoy meal times and showing greater independent all because her food is now moulded."

    Mrs Dewey, Private Customer

    "We have been auditing noise levels at mealtimes and have noticed that by making simple changes to the way we manage the mealtime experience. Our residents are much less distracted, and are clearing their plates rather than picking at their meals. So we are delighted to be seeing improved levels of nutrition and less wastage" 

    Donna Butcher, Woodleigh Care group

    Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has been working to improve the acute care environment for people with dementia in hospital. "We have introduced the coloured crockery range and had some excellent feedback on how this has made a difference"

    Fiona Throp - Senior Nurse for Older People - Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

    Order my guide!

    Learn how one simple change, can help someone to smile like this -

    See the difference one simple thing can make to someone's life. A smile can speak volumes. This is Jackie, with her yellow plate.

    Order my guide!

     

  • 4 Year Olds and Singing - Some of the best ways to keep age at bay!

    There've been some lovely, heartwarming stories recently about how we can help those with a dementia to live with dignity and to help their memory. Dame Barbara Windsor watches her old Carry On films and others chose to sing to old songs, in fact one group have been singing for 10 years!

    A group in Beaconsfield have been singing together for 10 years helping hundreds of people with dementia, and their carers. The group, called "Singing for the brain" was visited by the town mayor to celebrate the success. 

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  • The Healthcare Extreme Makeover - Home Edition!

    We are delighted to bring you a project we're very proud to be helping on, the refurbishment of 18 rooms at Red Rose Care Home in Newark.

    Red Rose Care have a history of achieving excellence and the newly refurbished rooms are adding to these high standards by offering end of life care facilities.

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  • All the Latest from Healthcare HQ!

    It's been a little whilst since we last posted here and this is in no small part to some of the work we've been doing behind the scenes at Healthcare Services UK. You may already have noticed that we have improved the search function on the website to return better results for you. We are also working on improving the information on the website on each product, so you've got a better idea of the right products for you to use and to help you find them first time, every time.

    We've also been watching the news for interesting stories about progress in the battle against dementia, helpful tips and tools for caring for those with a dementia, and building up more resources and guides for you all to use to that end too.  There will be much more on that in the coming months.

    We'd like to share some of those stories below with you all now.

    A town hall which is offering film screenings Wem Town Hall where a new Dementia Friendly screening has taken place.

    This is Wem Town Hall, where on Monday 17th December, there was a "Singing Session" where those with a dementia, and their carers, could attend and enjoy singing along to classic movie songs.

    We've previously mentioned other groups in the country who arrange these important events where carers and those with a dementia can enjoy some social time and respite. We will continue to share this news and we hope to have many more to tell you about!

    Passion for care

    The passion at the heart of Healthcare Services UK comes direct from the heart of our MD, Jo Bonser. If you have not yet heard about Jo's story and why helping those with a dementia is so important to her, then we urge you to head over here and watch the video.

    Jo Bonser, MD of Hcsuk, leading a workshop on dementia and hydration and nutrition. Jo leading a workshop earlier this year talking about helping those with a dementia to eat and drink better.

    In Case You Missed It!

    November 27th was "Tasty Suppers" day, a day set up by the team behind Nutrition and Hydration week. The day, along with the other awareness day of Thirsty Thursday is designed to remind us of the importance of keeping those in our care well fed and cared for. We have a range of product solutions to help you with this, some of which are shown in the image on the right.

    These include plates and bowls which keep food warmer for longer, adapted cutlery which is easier to hold for those with limited strength in their hands and reduced mobility and cup and mugs with lids to both keep things warm and help reduce spillages.

    You can see more products on the website. 

    Keep popping back because there will be more to come, both in updates on the website but also with our other services and how we keep you informed of what we're up to here at Hcsuk.

     

  • How can Hcsuk help you to reduce the number of falls in your care home?

    This week is Falls Prevention Week September 22nd-28th and we wanted to get you all thinking about what you could do to reduce the risks of falls in your homes, make you aware of some statistics around falls in care homes and also to tell you about our unique and best selling Falls Management Solutions.

    • According to L Z Rubenstein Falls in Older People study, falls account for 40% of all injury deaths which occur in care homes.

    • Falls are 5 times more likely to occur in care homes than in the community (WHO)

    • One in ten care home residents who fall sustain a fracture

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  • MD Jo Is Honoured To Be Presenting National Interactive Workshop

    Yayy! I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been invited to present an interactive workshop, ‘To Help People with a Dementia to Eat Better’, at this year’s National Association of Care Catering (NACC) training and development forum coming up in October.

    The NACC is an organisation who, for more than 30 years, has been committed to raising standards of care catering and championing the positive impact nutrition, hydration and mealtimes have on the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of the elderly and vulnerable in care settings. It unites supports and represents everyone working in and associated with catering in the UK care sector. It is recognised as a respected source of information and opinion for the dynamic and growing area of care catering.

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  • National Dementia Carers’ Day

     

    Today we want to help celebrate and support all those very important people who care from someone with a dementia.

    Dementia is an incredibly cruel affliction for both those who have a dementia, and those who care for them, making that care work very difficult and draining. Through our work with care home managers, individuals who care for their nearest and dearest and our personal experience,  we know how taxing this can be.

    In this email we've selected a few of the resources we think can help you as a carer and we want to say a very heartfelt "Thank You" for all that you do.

    Our recent blog on activity groups for carers will point in the right direction for a breather and a chat with people in the same position.

    And here's a personal story from our MD, Jo Bonser, talking about her experiences with her own mum who has vascular dementia.

    For more practical advice to help those in your care, you can view all our dementia care blogs(including product tips and lots of advice).

     

    Thank you for all that you do for those in your care. We know how hard it is and how much it means.

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