How To Provide The Best Care For People Living With Dementia












One of the key indicators of dementia is how it affects an individual’s memory. Their short-term memory becomes increasingly less effective whilst, at least for some time, their long-term memory can function very well.

So how do we know what the best care  is for a person living with dementia is?

To learn more about helping to support people living with dementia you can visit our ‘Dementia’ section of our website here

In this article we share some of the most popular and innovative models of dementia care.

What you will notice is that there is a common theme which runs through each model. What some may see as ‘Challenging behaviour’ is seen as a means to understand what the feelings and the needs are of the person living with dementia, behind their behaviour, to get to know and understand the individual better to engage with them in different ways for improved wellbeing and sense of self.

Alternate Realities

For people living with advanced dementia, their long-term memory takes over for much of the time. Having cared for my own Mum, who lived at home with Vascular Dementia, sometimes she would mistake me for her Mother and would start speaking to me as if I was her.

Up until fairly recently, many of those working in dementia care and elderly care would have advised me to correct Mum; to inform her about the present-day reality.

However, this may not always be effective, particularly for someone living with late-onset dementia. Their short-term memory may not be strong enough for them to retain the ‘facts’ and they are likely to repeat the mistake. Worse still, they may well become distressed, embarrassed and upset as they feel “told off”.

There are now a number of organisations who promote emotion led dementia care which places the importance of an individual’s feelings over facts.

Person Centred Care

Meeting the emotional needs of people living with dementia can be challenging. When you’re caring for someone who’s living with dementia, they can often have trouble expressing themselves, which may lead to frustration as a result.

During the 6 years I helped to care for my Mum for over 6 years, I learnt that that all of her behaviour was a means of communication.  And that how I responded in any situation should be personal to her – this is often called person-centred approach, or personally tailored care.

Communication could be challenging between Mum, myself and her other carers, for example, she would often ask me ‘where’s your Father? (who was no longer alive) and it was hard to know how best to respond without  upsetting her when she was living with a different sense of reality.

If we told her the blatant truth, this could have caused her significant and repeated distress. Distracting her could also have left her more confused and frustrated. In this difficult situation I learned that it helped to focus on the emotions she was expressing rather than facts, and acknowledge how she might be feeling, for example, “I can see you’re upset Mum’ and I’d sit with her for a while and prompt conversation about Dad until she felt calmer.

By showing that I recognised Mum’s emotions and exploring why she was asking for her husband, I helped her to feel supported and secure, allowing space and time to explore what you might be able to do to reassure and help. The better you know the person, the less complex this is to deal with.

In any circumstance, to begin to understand what that person might be saying, first try to consider the context of the question being asked. Look beyond what the person is saying to find the meaning behind the words and try to the identify the need they may be expressing.



Being With Them In The Moment

According to one organisation, Meaningful Care Matters, “We all live in the moment. For everyone, with or without a dementia, all we have is now. Showing people living with a dementia that we know their feelings matter most can transform lives. All of us live in our own reality. Joining someone in their reality, entering their bubble, is the only way to reach people.”

Emotion Led Care

Meaningful Care Matters, a business established in 2019, believe that ‘engaging in moments, experiences and activities that resonate with who we are and meet our needs for love, attachment, belonging, occupation and comfort makes life meaningful’

They focus on developing resilient relationship centred cultures of care shaped by the people living and working in them. ‘Our relationship with the people, places and things which have shaped our life journey hep to make us who we are and sustain our sense of personhood. Nurturing person centred relationships is key to sustaining individual well-being and developing an emotionally resilient culture of care.

I have the pleasure of working with two care homes who live and breathe this model of dementia care, where everyone who lives and works in the home are one big family, with no barriers. They eat together, they play and laugh together and their family members are happier and more engaged with improves health and wellbeing outcomes.

I have even been known to join in a song and a dance whilst visiting!

You can read more about these fantastic ‘outstanding’ rated homes here:


The SPECAL Methodology

The leading feelings-focused methodology for dementia care is SPECAL (Specialised Early Care for Alzheimer’s).

SPECAL believes that individuals living with dementia frequently draw on old factual memories in order to make sense of the present. They need to do this to compensate for their lack of recent factual memories caused by short-term memory loss.

The organisation’s website states: “Forcing a person with dementia to abandon their own chosen strategy in favour of a reality they do not understand is, in our view, completely unacceptable.”

SPECAL promotes a range of techniques in order to help relatives and carers understand how an individual living with dementia processes memories and realities. The organisation also trains carers from good quality home care companies, to enable individuals who are living with dementia to experience the benefits of the SPECAL methodology directly.

According to SPECAL, their methodology enables people receiving dementia care to regain a sense of joy and dignity in their lives: two feelings that must, surely, be more important than facts.

The Montesorri Method

Montessori for Dementia and Ageing is an innovative approach to aged care. It empowers people living with dementia by creating an environment that allows them to live as independently as possible. The goal of the Montessori program is to support older adults and people living with dementia by creating a prepared environment, filled with cues and memory supports, that enables individuals to care for themselves, others, and their community.

They strive to develop communities that treat individuals with respect and dignity and honour their choices so that they may live as independently as possible.

In summary, these different models of care are designed around meeting a person where they are, rather than where you want them/think they should be.

Always remember this:

Beneath every behaviour is a feeling, and beneath every feeling is a need. And when we meet that need rather than focus on the behaviour, we begin to deal with the cause not the symptom.’

We also have a free guide designed to help people living with dementia to eat better which you can download here:

Look out for our new Living Well with Dementia free guide coming soon! You can register to receive your free copy here!

“Download your own copy of our Dignified Dining Solution Guide below or visit our website at

Many people have asked me, ‘how much is your guide?’ and they are delighted when I tell them it’s free and I call it my little gift to the universe.’

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Customer Testimonials

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P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

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Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

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Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistently good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

Thanks to Jo for going over and above to get us our items in time for our special event at Buddleia House – it was very much appreciated. A massive thankyou for your continued assistance as a supplier to ourselves.

Buddleia House

We have always received excellent services from everyone at HCS at our 2 care homes, especially Lee, Jo and Phil. Always professional with a quick response time. Nothing ever seems too much trouble. Recently I had to use them personally for equipment to enable my mothers discharge from hospital. I had a response within the hour for prices and delivery came straight from the manufacturer to speed up delivery. Phil arrived at the same time to put the equipment together for us! I can’t thank them enough for putting our minds at ease and for the continued support from a personal and professional perspective. I’d recommend them to anyone requiring care equipment and its nice to support local businesses. Especially when they do such a good job!!

Orla House

I contacted HCSUK trying to find a hoist that could be operated unaided by the client. I had become very disheartened, no-one was really helpful until I spoke to Donna at HCSUK.

Donna was incredibly understanding, her professionalism raised my spirits again. Everything Donna said she would do she did, including arranging for me to speak to Andrew the salesman who like Donna was incredibly helpful, happy to bring two machines to demonstrate.

I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are good people.

Penelope C

I spoke to Lee Atterbury 2 weeks ago, when I was despairing about the prospect of finding any equipment to help my husband in the bathroom. I had tried all the popular brands, but none were right for his needs.

When I spoke to Lee he understood what I was saying and set about trying to find what we need. He was so patient and understanding and gave me the confidence to explore outside the box.

I spoke to Lee today and was able to tell him that we, hopefully, have found the solution. I am sorry that it was not a product you sell, though you may in the future, but will certainly look first to HCS for other products.

Thank you so much to Lee for first class customer service.

Christine G, Sheffield

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


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