For Dementia Awareness Week from 20-26 May this year, the Housing LIN has gathered examples of where extra care schemes or other housing related community services have supported people with dementia to develop meaningful relationships to prevent unwanted social isolation or reduce loneliness.
The examples range from informal arrangements supported by staff or other residents as well as more formal service provision. Today’s example of best practice comes from Stafford and Rural Homes.
BeConnected in extra care housing
Stafford and Rural Homes (sarh.co.uk) offers 17 Independent Living Schemes and 1 Extra Care scheme, Jubilee Court.
When Jenny* moved into Jubilee Court, she had four medication calls a day. SARH staff quickly saw an improvement in Jenny and her ability to complete tasks independently and so her care plan was reduced to just two medication calls daily. Jenny started going for a walk independently around the block every afternoon, after taking the same route for a few weeks with a care worker. When Jenny attended the memory clinic, her score had improved, and this was attributed to the support she had received at Jubilee Court.
After a while, Jenny became increasingly confused, so a revised care plan was put in place with the flexibility to offer support on the days when Jenny was struggling.
Jenny’s dementia has worsened but, having built an understanding of what she likes and of what causes her distress, staff are able to gauge how and when to offer support. The flexible, personalised response that SARH offers is clearly having a positive impact.
BeConnected encourages older people who are lonely or socially isolated to engage or reconnect with their local communities, through a programme of free activities and events. SARH customers with dementia are offered volunteer help with the booking process, transport and at events to encourage their involvement.
The SARH Wellbeing Service started working with Dorothy*, aged 85, last year. It became clear that Dorothy had not collected prescribed medication for four months and had not presented at clinic appointments. She was willing to have assistance with shopping and sorting out post and subsequently agreed to a GP assessment which led to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.
SARH Wellbeing Coordinators help customers link in with support available, so that they are able to manage better and stay as independent as possible:
Dorothy was referred to BeConnected and attends several events a month, with reference to a calendar and a reminder phone call from SARH Wellbeing. Her Coordinator assists with Dorothy’s shopping list, using verbal prompts and pictures. She helps Dorothy put the items away, so that labels are facing outwards and linked items (like sponge pudding and custard) are next to each other. Dorothy is escorted to appointments to enhance her understanding of them. All of this is with Dorothy’s consent and involvement to agree what will work best for her.
*names have been changed to maintain confidentiality
To read this and other case studies, go to the full report on our 'Focus on Dementia' webpages at: Going the Extra Step. A compendium of best practice in dementia care
The views expressed in this feature have been provided by the featured organisations and are not necessarily those of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network.
If you have any examples from your own organisation that you would like to share please send details to Katey Twyford and Wendy Wells, Housing and Dementia co-leads for the Housing LIN, email@example.com . We will be developing a compendium of best practice examples to go on the Housing LIN website.