We were back from our break in February and we welcomed our regulars and another new member to the group.
I pointed out Shrewsbury House’s guidance on the Coronavirus and the links to government advice.
Mind take on dementia services in Greenwich
Janet explained that from April BLG Mind will take over from the Alzheimer’s Society in providing services in this borough. They have not updated their website yet, but you may see what they currently offer in Bromley and Lewisham here. The Alzheimer’s Society will continue to run their national dementia helpline from their call centre in Birmingham, link to their website here.
We will contact Judith from BLG Mind (who came to out recent Friendship Group) to request they meet our Carers Group.
At our last Carers Group we discussed the idea of someone with dementia going home to visit family, when this meant a very long flight. The proposed trip has been put back because of an appointment at the memory clinic. The family are dealing with increasing episodes where dad forgets where he is and who is with him, he also has hallucinations, and gets frustrated and angry with what is happening to him. We await developments.
The discussion above led on to other members of the group tell us about their experiences relating to hallucinations. One mum could not cope with photographs, as the people in them seemed to move. As time has passed, she now likes to have pictures of babies, she loves babies. So her grand child, now in her 20s, is regularly embarrassed by nan cooing over her baby photos. The family continue to work at changing their approach to mum/nan as her dementia progresses.
Direct payments and Doorbells
We talked about directly paying carers and the flexibility this gives you. CarersUK describe the process here. They explain “Instead of receiving support arranged by your council or trust, you have the ability with a direct payment to choose and purchase the services you feel you need, as agreed by them. For example, you may wish to employ someone directly to help manage the care of the person you’re looking after.”
We moved on to how to keep abreast of what is happening with your loved one, if you do not live together. Several people had used a video/doorbell. There is an example here [we include this as an example, we do not recommend or endorse it]. This type of camera enables you to know who is going in and out of a building and speak to callers direct from anywhere – and it is easy to use with your mobile phone. Our members found this very helpful and reassuring.
Paying for continuing care
The group revisited when the council might pay for your care and Continuing Health Care (CHC). The process is involved and you need to be aware of how the system works and how to present your case. Group members explained how they needed to be assertive, take copious nots at meetings, and ensure assessments fully reflected their evidence. We are pleased to say we have several successful applicants in the group.
Vertigo – or not
Our newest joiner described how her mum had been complaining of her vertigo returning. As mum seemed fine, the issue was: when did this problem happen? Was it today, yesterday, last month? Or did it happen at all? Without being with mum, the daughter could not be sure. If she contacted the doctor, what would she say? As a general point, how can you know what happened to someone if you are not with them and they cannot remember? The group suggested speaking to the paid carers and the doctor. We will see what the result is.
The Gems model
We mentioned this model in passing. It helps to understand that someone “is who they were, but they are different”. This link and Tepa Snow’s video give a clear and fascinating explanation.
A carer had managed to rent-out her mum’s house to a nice couple, who had just had a baby. Mum is happy in her care home. Another carer said her mum’s care had suddenly improved when the care home manager unexpectedly resigned and a new one appeared – this one favours person centred care.
Thought for today