Adult care: Winter 2020

Round & About

adult care

We’ve put together some articles about planning for later life care as well as staying healthy & stimulated in our February guide.

CAREFUL PLANNING

Planning for your own – or family members’ – needs in terms of later-life care can be daunting. Where do you start? Here’s our advice on some of the practical elements of care.

People worldwide are living longer. Today, for the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond.

Today, 125 million people are aged 80+. And, of course, there is no “typical” older person. Some 80-year-olds have physical and mental capacities similar to many 20-year-olds. You need only look at Sir David Attenborough’s contribution, well into his nineties, as a golden example of ageing with grace.

If you’re dealing with the care of a parent you’ll know how overwhelming it can feel. And planning for your own later years can be stressful, but it’s worthwhile tackling this, one step at a time, for all concerned, when you can.

Paying for social care and support can be confusing and sometimes worrying. As a general rule, if you have less than £23,250 in savings, your care will be paid for, partly or in full, by your local council. NB: this figure does not include the value of your property unless you’re moving into a care home.

In some situations where poor health is involved, social care and support is provided by the NHS instead of your local authority. In these instances it’s free (and not means-tested). If you like, of course you can arrange care privately. If you’d like your council to arrange or pay towards your care, your first step is to request a needs assessment by calling your local social services department or getting in touch online.

Care options

A recent Better At Home report by the Live-In Care Hub revealed nearly 97% of us say we’d prefer to stay in our own homes as we get older. Many children choose to care for an elderly parent in their home, but it is worth bearing in mind the financial and emotional challenges this can bring, as well as how it can affect family dynamics. In addition to residential care, the third option is home or live-in care, made possible by a professional carer who lives with the older person.

Making changes

Home alterations such as stair lifts, or installing a downstairs shower room, may be needed. If you want to adapt your home, you may be eligible for financial support from your council to make small changes. If the local council recommends that you need minor adaptations that cost less than £1,000, such as grab rails, short ramps, a dropped curb or outside lights these can also be also provided and fitted free of charge.

For larger adaptations, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Major modifications, which can be costly, can be done free by the NHS if deemed essential. For impartial advice about the care options available in a parent’s home, call the Live-In Care Hub on 0330 311 2906. For support and advice you can also visit www.carersuk.org or call 0808 808 7777 on Mondays and Tuesdays, 10am-4pm, for support and advice.

Legal considerations

It’s important to seek legal advice if you’re worried about any aspect of an older family member’s care, or your own, such as power of attorney. Citizens Advice offers free advice on a wide range of issues, including benefits, housing or employment. The helpful charity team can provide advice over the phone or in person at one of their offices. Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk to find your local branch.

Law centres offer free legal advice across the country, covering topics such as benefits, employment, housing, immigration and asylum, discrimination and debt. Visit www.lawcentres.org.uk

Age UK doesn’t offer legal advice but the advice team can suggest reliable sources of information and advice to help you with your situation. Age UK runs a free national advice line that is open 8am to 7pm 365 days a year. To speak to someone, call 0800 678 1602.

BACK FOR GOOD

Local rehabilitation and fitness expert Tim Laskey explains more about how you can help protect & restore your spine

The importance of looking after your back cannot be overemphasised. Millions suffer from (predominantly low) back pain. Statistics vary, but suggest every year about 20% of us consult our GP about this.
Back pain can range from uncomfortable to excruciating and falls anywhere between inconvenient and totally debilitating. This is a serious problem, exacerbated by sedentary occupations, our obsession with social media, reduced physical activity and burgeoning obesity. The latter in particular places enormous compressive strains on the low back.

The human body has evolved over millions of years. We don’t so much use it, we neglect it, we abuse it, And in the Western World we’re paying a heavy price. Proper functioning of the spine is crucial to our wellbeing. The spine, of course, contains and protects the spinal cord.
The four movements involving the spine are

• Flexion – bending forward
• Extension – bending backwards
• Lateral flexion – bending sideways and
• Rotation – twisting.

All of these movements involve the low back which is, effectively, the hinge between the torso and the lower body. But – and this is so important – just about every movement we make involves the spine and the low back.

Wear and tear and aging take their toll.

Indisputably, though, the biggest problem is very low strength in the muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up the spine’s support structure. Add poor mobility and the deterioration of those crucial intravertebral cartilaginous discs and it’s a “perfect storm”.

If you suffer with back pain, what do you do? For many it’s off to the GP. That is likely to result in prescription painkillers and, perhaps a referral to the physio. ALL drugs have side effects. Some can be extremely addictive. They don’t solve the problem neither do lumbar belts, braces or other supports.

A good chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist with manipulative skills, can offer wonderful relief from pain. But it’s just that; relief and may be temporary. If you do nothing you’ll keep going back. Surgery is the last resort and always carries some risk. It’s often inconclusive and, as I’ve proved, often unnecessary.

To solve the problem you must find a rehabilitation specialist with the experience, the expertise and the equipment required. Such a specialist will interview you, study your spinal alignment and body posture and devise a programme tailored exactly to your needs which will contain strength-building and the development of mobility, flexibility, stability. The specialist needs to talk to you about the most significant muscle groups; erector spinae, rectus abdominis, quadratus lumborum and iliacus. Hyperextension and compression of the lumbar spine must always be avoided

It is generally simple to transform a person’s back strength, mobility and stability and, in doing so, transform their life. It may be simple, but it’s not always easy as it does require application, determination and perseverance! Visit www.getintothehealthhabit.com

LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL

We ask Helen Davies-Parsons, CEO of Dormy Care, which owns Bramshott Grange care home in Liphook, about how care has changed & how we can choose a happier life for our older loved ones.

Q. What do you feel are the myths surrounding care & what would you say to anyone who’s going through the stressful process of deciding care? “Sadly, there is a low level of understanding by the general public on the positive aspects of care homes. There’s been a lot of negative press about abuse in care homes, which is, of course, appalling. However, this is in the minority and most good quality homes offer support, care, companionship and a quality life for the ladies and gentlemen who live in them. My advice for anyone going through the process of deciding on a care home for a loved one is to visit unannounced.”

Q. How do you feel attitudes & ethos have changed for the better when it comes to the care of older people? “Society now has a much more positive view of older people and the contribution they have made, and continue to make, to society. This is largely due to the fact that older people are seen more in the media and their voices are louder than ever before.”

Q. Why is taking a more holistic approach to care better? “Everyone is an individual and one size does not fit all. Treating everyone as a person in their own right enables them to continue to live their life to the full and continue to enjoy what they want to do with the support of care teams around them.”

Q. What should people be aware of when visiting a residential home & what questions should they ask? “The most important thing to do when visiting a care home is to look, listen, smell and get a feel for the place. Is the home clean? Are the staff friendly? Do the people living there look happy and well cared for? Are there activities going on? Does the food look appetising? Would you be happy to move in yourself if needed?”

A BRAIN-BOOSTING DIET

Haslemere’s Hunter Centre is running a series of talks given by local nutritional adviser Claudia Vargas.

Claudia knows that, while we can’t prevent ageing or change our genes, there are some steps we can take to reduce our risk of developing dementia.

The healthiest foods worth including in your diet are greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, blueberries, avocadoes, coconut oil, olive oil, walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds.

Rich prebiotics are garlic, onions, leeks, chociry, Jerusalem artichoke and top five herbs and spices for health are rosemary, turmeric (mixed with a bit of pepper and coconut or olive oil), cinnamon, ginger and sage. As for drinks, opt for filtered water, green tea, golden tea, ginger turmeric, black pepper, coconut oil tea or rosemary and mint tea.
For further information on diet, recipes and useful care tips please email [email protected]

HEART WARMING

After talking to care-givers on their team, Kevin Lancaster, managing director of Right At Home, shares five tips to help older people in our community stay safe and warm.

Winter is here, and with it the increased likelihood of a cold snap and freezing temperatures. We can all play our part to be good neighbours and help keep loved ones safe, warm and comfortable.

Getting older can leave us more vulnerable in the colder months as our bodies respond differently to temperature changes. When we start to feel cold, this usually triggers us to do something to warm up; adding more layers or turning up the heating. But if our body temperature drops below 37ºC, dangerous problems can arise, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, liver damage and even heart attacks. Hypothermia can set in if our core temperature drops below 35ºC. Left untreated, hypothermia shuts down the body’s heart and respiratory systems – a real risk in the winter, especially among older people.

Registered care manager Bailey Harrison says “We do see some people making decisions during the winter months which can have an adverse impact on their health & wellbeing. This includes turning the heating down, or off, to save money; not wearing the right clothing for the weather; or being unaware of the temperature drop outside.

“For people living with dementia, there can be extra challenges in the winter, such as forgetting how to operate the heating or fire, placing something too close to a fire so it becomes a risk, or leaving the house not properly wrapped up.” We thought we’d share some of our top tips…

1. If you have vulnerable members in your family or friendship circle, create a rota of people who can regularly call in to check your loved one is warm and safe. Check they have appropriate clothing. Check the cupboards are stocked with the right kind of food. Check room temperatures and make sure there are extra blankets to hand. Be ready to organise your loved one’s medication, so they don’t run out.

2. Diet and hydration is always important, but especially in winter. Encourage your loved ones to eat warming food such as stews and chunky soups and to keep hydrated with warm drinks. If they may be alone for long periods, why not invest in a flask to keep drinks warm for longer? Also, an offer to pop to the shops to refresh their groceries so they have plenty to eat and drink would be lovely.

3. Pop in to neighbours and loved ones for a quick “hello”. As well as alleviating loneliness, it allows you to check temperatures and to ensure there’s no fire hazard. It’s also worth investing in a carbon monoxide alarm, especially if you notice the heater is old.

4. When out and about, observe the people around you. Are the elderly people you pass dressed appropriately for the weather? A friendly conversation can give you an idea if the person has forgotten to put a coat on, or if there is an underlying issue. We’re not saying you have to buy everyone a pair of gloves, but you may encounter a situation needing a little extra care, or a trip to the charity shop. It’s vital to keep the body’s extremities – such as hands, feet and head – warm.

5.If paths are icy or snow-covered offering a little support can bring confidence to someone who is struggling. If someone falls, keep them warm as you call for help. Don’t try to help them up, in case they’ve broken a bone. Be sure to get it checked by a medical expert.

By working together, we can help to keep our community safe this winter. And, if like the lovely care-givers at Right at Home, you find helping others a natural heart-warming act, why not consider a career working in care professionally? Call 0118 207 0600 or visit www.rightathomeuk.com/reading to find out more.

HISTORY OF NURSING

Claire Laurent is a local writer and nurse whose family are rich in nurses, medics and midwives. Her new book explores the rituals and myths in nursing through the 20th century.

Nurses, as Claire Laurent observes, have largely been depicted in public consciousness as female and caricatured as angelic, sexy or fierce. From the tabloids’ “angels” to the Carry On films’ formidable Hattie Jacques matron and buxom Barbara Windsor, to Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, nurses have rarely been regarded as just people doing a job. “This, despite Florence Nightingale leading the charge, more than 100 years ago, to establish nurses as a “workforce of demure, clean and educated girls.”

Claire says: “I trained as a nurse at the oldest hospital possibly in the world; St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, in the traditional ‘apprentice style’ of the 20th century. I moved from there to a job as a journalist on the nursing press so I spent many years writing about nursing and following the developments of the profession.

“There’s a bond you develop as a nurse, both with the work and your colleagues, sharing memories and experiences. I wanted to write something that told the stories of nursing that reflected its nature without being a memoir, of which there are many.”

● Rituals & Myths in Nursing: A Social History by Claire Laurent is out now in paperback, £12.99, published by Pen &Sword. ISBN: 978147389661

HOME FROM HOME

A carer and a companion all in one – Chawley Grove introduce their innovative, award-winning “home-maker” model of care to Oxfordshire

A quiet revolution in care is taking place in Cumnor Hill. Chawley Grove
is one of the UK’s first care homes to do away with traditional care workers and instead employ “homemakers”…

Homemakers are universal workers, providing gap-free care. Homemakers are carers, housekeepers and companions all in one, holistically supporting residents just as they would in the resident’s own home.

Chawley Grove is part of the Hamberley Care Homes Group, which recently won a prestigious Health Investor award for its groundbreaking new care model. The organisation has removed the hierarchical structure you’d normally find in a care home, and instead developed a leadership hub and a more dynamic model of working.

Chawley Grove also has a wellbeing & lifestyle coach who ensures the team create a nurturing and stimulating environment for residents and staff alike. The coach considers all elements to enable supportive, homely environments that empower residents to live meaningful lives.

The Hamberley team believe the unique model, including an expert clinical team, is the most effective way to deliver outstanding care, helping them win Residential Care Provider of the Year. The judging panel congratulated them for focusing on the resident’s experience of care above anything else. One said: “The resident is clearly at the centre of everything. Brilliantly innovative to create the role of homemaker.”
And it seems the residents and their loved ones agree – the luxury care home enjoys a rating of 9.9 on independent review site www.carehome.co.uk. The son of one resident said: “The staff are always welcoming and courteous. The ‘homemakers’ do exactly what it says on the tin.”

The daughter of another resident said: “When I first visited I was struck by the beautiful setting, furnishings and facilities. However, it’s the professionalism and warmth of the homemakers and staff that has made my mother’s stay so happy. The attitude of staff is exemplary.”
Hamberley Care Homes CEO Paul Hill said: “Innovation is embedded at the heart of our company and each day we strive to make improvements that benefit our residents and their families.”

Adult Care

Round & About

adult care

Round & About Magazine is publishing its popular annual eight-page Adult Health & Social Care Supplement in February 2020

As always it will be published in all of our 24 magazines, delivered by the Royal Mail through the letterboxes of over 504,000 homes across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Wiltshire.Simply choose the area(s) relevant to your marketing needs to maximise the results for your advertising.

Our editorial team are currently putting together some fantastic features, looking at the different types of care choices available to our readers, offering some great thought-provoking editorial to consider when making health care choices for themselves or on behalf of a family member. With our readers being home owners, predominately aged 45+, the supplement is perfect for reaching your target audience, informing them of your products and services and the wealth of care homes and villages in the area, as well as any special events or open days you may have.

As always it will be published in all of our 24 magazines, delivered by the Royal Mail through the letterboxes of over 504,000 homes across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Wiltshire.Simply choose the area(s) relevant to your marketing needs to maximise the results for your advertising.

Our editorial team are currently putting together some fantastic features, looking at the different types of care choices available to our readers, offering some great thought-provoking editorial to consider when making health care choices for themselves or on behalf of a family member. With our readers being home owners, predominately aged 45+, the supplement is perfect for reaching your target audience, informing them of your products and services and the wealth of care homes and villages in the area, as well as any special events or open days you may have.

Get in touch...

Main Office: 01491 837621
Surrey: 01483 385808
email

Right at Home

Round & About

adult care

The Right at Home Reading & Wokingham District Team have earned a well-deserved round of applause after scooping two awards recently.

The team won a Top20 Homecare Provided 2019 Award for being one of the top 20 homecare providers out of 1,358 agencies in South East England.

And this award came hot on the heels of the Twyford-based company being given a 5 Star Employer 2019 award. This award came from independent research agency WorkBuzz after an extensive survey of Right at Home employees.

Right at Home managing director Kevin Lancaster is quite rightly delighted at the success. He said: “When I opened the 50th UK Right at Home in Twyford I was determined to build a care company of the highest quality, delivering at a level that I would be proud to offer my own family.

“It’s heart-warming to get such great independent feedback from our employees, clients and their families that our approach to providing care is working so well with our local community and our super team.”

Right at Home is the only Top20 Homecare Award Winner in both the Reading and Wokingham area, and the Reading & Wokingham branch joins nearby Right at Home Maidenhead as one of only three homecare companies in the whole of Berkshire with a 10/10 rating on the homecare.co.uk independent review website.

For more information

Visit the Right at Home site

Who cares for the carers? 

Round & About

adult care

Carers Week puts the focus on 6.5million in the UK helping family and friends

There are 6.5million carers in the UK, many of whom don’t realise that’s just what they are – Carers Week aims to help them get connected.

The week from today (10th) until 16th June is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

They will be looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.

It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to organise activities and events throughout the UK, drawing attention to just how important caring is.

Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but carers often find it challenging to take care of their own wellbeing whilst caring. Its impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.

With this in mind Reading Borough Council is holding a series of free events across the town to help ensure these people get all the support they need and to recognise the vital role they play.

The theme of this year’s week is Getting carers connected in their communities and highlights of the week’s events will include a drop-in market place at Broad Street Mall (12th June) offering unpaid carers support, advice and information.

The week will begin with presentations on power of attorney, mental health and end of life care with one-to-one sessions available at New Directions, Northumberland Avenue and a talk by Rowberry Morris Solicitors for parents or carers of a child or adult with learning disabilities at Reading Mencap, Alexandra Road (both 10th June).

Wellbeing sessions and health MOTs are available at Whitley Wood Community Centre on 14th June while the main event is on 12th June hosted by the Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub at Broad Street Mall.

To book a place on any of these events in Reading or for help to arrange alternative care, call the hub on 0118 324 7333 or email  

  For more on Carers Week and the help that is out there, please visit Carers Week

Adult care guide: Winter 2019

Round & About

adult care

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Later life can be full of fun & mental stimulation. In February we focus on adult care and our moving interview with Sir Jackie Stewart as well as initiatives from silverswans.

THE GREATEST CHALLENGE

Inspired by his wife’s diagnosis, Sir Jackie Stewart has launched a £2million funding drive in Race Against Dementia, writes Karen Neville.

Motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart is embarking on the greatest and most personal challenge of his life. His wife of 56 years, Lady Helen Stewart was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia four years ago, driving him to establish the Race Against Dementia (RAD).

The three-time Formula One world champion has launched a £2million search for new scientists to develop breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of dementia. RAD aims to find a solution that will allow millions of people to live longer with dementia.

There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and millions more carers and family members who struggle to cope as their loved one suffers.

Unless a cure is found, one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime. However, behind each statistic such as these
are the real people dealing with the disease and its effects on a daily basis, each with their own unique heart-breaking story – memories, passions and ambitions that are slowly fading away.

The £2m of research funding to find a solution to this will be administered in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK and will support innovative new ideas in dementia research through research fellowships.

Sir Jackie says: “The Race Against Dementia is the greatest challenge of my life, but with the right people and the right approach we can encourage and accelerate a new way of thinking and cross the finish line with success.”

The chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Hilary Evans said they were very grateful for the support of Sir Jackie and his sons, Paul and Mark. She says: “It has been inspirational to see Sir Jackie and the family step up to this challenge and to pour drive and determination into taking on the greatest medical challenge.

“We’re proud to have been working with him in setting up these ambitious global Race Against Dementia fellowships.

“These new fellowships are targeted at up-and-coming scientific global talent and will stimulate the careers of researchers with the drive and ambition to make breakthroughs possible that will transform lives.”

Sir Jackie hopes the fellowships will attract talent from all over the world and open the door to a new range of opportunities to “beat this horrendous illness”.

He adds: “Helen has always been my rock and her razor-sharp mind was one of the first things that I fell in love with. Four years on from her diagnosis, she’s still the same Helen, with the same sense of humour, but with a gradual decline in memory and mobility that throws up all sorts of challenges that she, and we, have had to learn to cope with.”

Admitting that his family’s world has been turned upside down, he also acknowledges that they are very fortunate to be able to afford 24-hour specialist care. He says: “I know this is not possible for millions of other families touched by dementia. The cost of care can be enormous and, from a medical point of view, there are very few treatments that can make life easier. This has to change.”

The couple’s sons are ambassadors for Race Against Dementia. Paul has written a song to his mother, entitled Praise You, as a gift to thank her for everything she has done for the family over the years. He says: “I wrote the words as a way to trigger special moments that we have shared together. Dementia has impacted not just my mother but all of us and in particular my father.”

Mark says his mother has always been a strong and loving parent, dedicating herself to the family. He adds: “Sadly we have seen up close what this terrible disease can do. Race Against Dementia is our family’s way of turning a negative in to something positive.”

70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease or any other type of dementia

Five times fewer researchers choose to work on dementia than on cancer

GLIDE THROUGH AGEING

Become a Silver Swan and improve your body and mind through ballet.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re Darcey Bussell or have two left feet, dance improves your quality of life. Specially designed for older learners, Silver Swans ballet classes will not only help you keep fit and active physically but also help keep your mind in shape.

Silver Swans teachers are trained specifically to teach a range of abilities and ages over 55. Joining a local class will help improve your mobility, posture, coordination and energy levels.

Dance can improve your life in a variety of ways including improving energy levels and balance, helping to reduce stress and supporting weight loss as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving the immune system. Dancing increases cognitive ability by promoting new connections in the brain and it may even help stave off dementia in later life

If you’re an older learner, the social benefits of joining a dance class will also increase your sense of wellbeing – it’s a great way to expand your social circle and meet new people.

That’s certainly been the case for 74-year-old Anna, who says she lived for dancing when she was younger and then, having done nothing for more than 50 years, was thrilled to find Silver Swans. Anna considers ballet a wonderful discipline, both mentally and physically.

While most of those at the classes are women, 60-year-old Ian, who joined a class in Leatherhead 18 months ago, says he decided to do it when looking for exercise that didn’t involve the gym. He laughs: “I am told I’m getting better and I think I am, but it is a very long way to the Royal Opera House.”

Another dancer, Jane, 63, had long been wanting to find an adult ballet class, mindful of how it can help body and mind. She was further inspired after seeing a a 70-year-old woman perform, recalling: “She danced with such grace, within her own limits but demonstrating how beautiful old age could be. She was very moving. A role model to be all you can be at any stage of your life.”

   For more details, visit www.royalacademyofdance.org/silverswans

Studies have shown that dancing plays a role in helping diminish the symptoms of depression

Research has found 75% of the factors which affect quality of life and longevity are related to your lifestyle

SINGING FOR THE BRAIN

Music is key to unlock memories when it comes to dementia care.

Singing is about so much more than hitting the right notes and making a good sound – it can improve brain activity, wellbeing and mood.

For the Alzheimer’s Society it means much more even than that – singing can unlock memories and kickstart the brain, an increasingly key feature of dementia care which is why the society’s Singing for the Brain sessions are so beneficial.

Run in dozens of different locations across the country, it aims to boost confidence, self esteem and quality of life by involving people with dementia and their carers in singing sessions.

Singing for the Brain groups allow people with dementia to express themselves and interact creatively with others. The idea sprang from Singing for the Brain founder Chreanne Montgomery-Smith who when working in a nursing home noticed how residents responded positively to music.

Beginning with a quiz which used familiar tunes, Chreanne noticed how gradually everyone joined in, including one woman who couldn’t remember her name but knew every song.

She explains: “It made me realise that people with dementia had a special ability to remember songs. Even if people with dementia can’t talk, they may be able to sing, whistle, clap or tap their feet. It helps them – and their carers – to feel life is worthwhile.”

The positive effect of Singing for the Brain groups has been proved by talking to those involved. “Dementia is a devastating condition, slowly stripping people of their memories, relationships and identities. It’s so important to still include people with dementia in social activities – no one should have to face it alone, “ says Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society.

He added: “This study suggests that this transformation could be in part due to parts of the brain connecting better for a brief time after hearing music.

“Further research is needed to help understand the longer-term effects of music and help show that it’s not only drugs that can help people manage with dementia.”

Professor Paul Robertson, an academic and concert violinist who has made a study of music in dementia care said music tends to stay with us to the end and that the auditory system is the first to fully function at just 16 weeks. He says: “This means you are musically receptive long before anything else. It’s a case of first in, last out when it comes to a dementia-type breakdown of memory.”

   For exact details about locations and dates go to www.alzheimers.org.uk/find-support-near-you#!/search

Singing can reach parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot

ADAPTING YOUR HOME

We’ve teamed up with the experts at Age UK to help you consider some simple changes to make your home safer & more comfortable.

Change is seldom easy. And it’s not always easy to know where to start – especially if you’ve lived in your house a long time. But the Age UK team can help you make the choices that feel right for you.

Answering the door

If it’s difficult to get to the front door, think about installing a system that lets you speak to visitors and manage who you let in. Modern door-entry intercoms can help you find out who’s there or you could install an easy-to-fit wireless doorbell that comes with an entry phone to keep near your chair. A video entry phone can help you see who’s at the door – some video entry phones allow you to press a button to open the door from where you’re sitting. Many DIY shops and high-street retailers stock wireless doorbells and key safes. You could ask a family member, handyperson or Home Improvement Agency to fit them for you.

Moving around

Make sure your home is well lit. Think about motion-sensor lights that come on automatically when you get out of bed or enter a room. If you find you need a lot more room or want to keep all essential facilities (like the toilet or shower) on one floor, extending might be an option. Talk to a qualified surveyor or architect.

Stairs

An extra banister rail or a stairlift can make life easier. Depending on the size and layout of your home, it might be possible to install a through-floor wheelchair lift. Remember, though, that if you rent your home or share access with other people, you may need permission from your landlord or your neighbours to make changes.

Disability support

If you want to make some adaptations, you may be eligible for financial support from your council to make small changes. For larger adaptations, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Your first step is to get a free care needs assessment from your local council who will send a social worker or an occupational therapist to assess your needs. If your needs are considered “eligible”, the council has a duty to support you. Specialist disability equipment is provided free of charge if recommended by your council and minor adaptations – such as grab rails, short ramps, a dropped curb or outside lights – are also provided and fitted free.

   Call the Age UK advice line on 0800 055 6112. There are more than 140 local Age UK centres willing to help, too. Please visit www.ageuk.org.uk

A police-approved key safe is a good option if you want friends, relatives or carers to let themselves in

Widening door frames or changing the direction your doors open can help you get about –particularly if you use a wheelchair