Carers Group: 3/4/23

Janet’s information piece

Janet told the group about the The Shared Lives Schemes.

The schemes support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or other needs that make it harder for them to live on their own. The schemes match someone who needs care with an approved carer. The carer shares their family and community life, and gives care and support to the person with care needs.

Some people move in with their shared lives carer, while others are regular daytime visitors. Some combine daytime and overnight visits.

Read more on the schemes from the NHS here.

Janet also spoke about the latest news from the Alzheimer’s Society Innovation Hub – see below.

Innovations from the Alzheimer’s Society Innovation Hub

Eargym hearing app for hearing health checks.

Hearing loss isn’t just for older people. From understanding your hearing age, to strengthening your hearing skills with immersive games – Eargym aims to make better hearing accessible for all.

Hearing loss and dementia related. Hearing loss is correlated with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Research shows that even mild hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia (see the RNI:D article here), while moderate hearing loss triples the risk, and severe hearing loss can increase the risk up to five times. To reduce the risks of hearing loss and dementia, it is important to look after your hearing and health and treat even mild hearing difficulties. 

The Alzheimer’s Society suggests the following ways to support someone with hearing loss and dementia: 

  • Ensuring regular hearing health checks 
  • Wearing hearing aids and treating the hearing loss as directed by an audiologist
  • Learning to communicate with visual cues, prompts, gestures and expressions

Sibstar a debit card for people with dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society say Sibstar is the first, highly secure debit card and app designed to help families living with dementia to safely manage their daily spending. Amongst other things, the app gives you the ability to set daily and monthly spending limits, switch cashpoint, and online it adapts as the needs of individual customers change, delivering financial independence and enabling people with dementia to continue living life the way they choose. The costs are: £4.99 setup, £4.99 a month to run the app and 99p per withdrawal.

New and improved Jelly drops

Jelly Drops have launched a new version of their sugar-free sweet designed to help those with dementia who struggle to hydrate! They claim to be tastier, easier to eat & with 60% less plastic packaging. New Jelly Drops still contain 95% water with added electrolytes to support hydration. You can find out more here.

Member updates

Moving into a care home

A daughter gave an update on her mum. She is still in a care home, but she seems more like her old self. The daughter is seeing a financial advisor and is getting a house valuation. The social worker is still chasing her to move her Mum into a permanent location. However there are no spaces available that will meet her mum’s needs. Tatiana recommended asking to speak to the social worker’s manager to discuss the situation and next steps.

This article here suggests the local authority will fund the first six weeks of a temporary care home placement, where a person needs to be moved out of a hospital. If a suitable permanent place can not be found within six weeks, discussion will need to be had regarding next steps. This may mean taking on the payment of the care home place until such time as a permanent place is found.

Another move

Another daughter said her mum has had Covid in Queen Elizabeth hospital, but tested negative today. She is going to Charlton Park home tomorrow (04/04/23). She has a social worker who is learning as she goes along, but they are on quite good terms. The daughter is trying to get a financial assessment done. She has been told her mum has to have 24 hour care. She says she has got over the guilt of placing her mum in care. She said she had been told there would be a panel to discuss her situation but didn’t know what this involved. Tatiana explained the process of going to the panel to decide what happens – there is shared information from all those involved in deciding her mum’s care and the carer should be invited to give their input too. Care homes have to work with carers in placing people in the right place.

More care needed

A new member spoke about caring for her husband. They have a supportive family, but she now needs a bit more help. Her husband has planned surgery in early May and lots of appointments. He has hearing issues and had trouble with his hearing aid. – they had issues with Lewisham hospital who said they couldn’t see him for a few weeks. As his wife knew how loss of hearing affected her husband, they ended up going privately to Devika James on Lee High Road – they were very pleased with their service. The husband is now more vulnerable than he was and needs more help and is more reliant on her. She takes time out to meet a friend once a month. The husband has been referred to groups, Live well with dementia, and Cognitive stimulation group at Oxleas, plus another group at Age exchange.

Waiting lists

A sister has become more belligerent and uses colourful language. The Memory Clinic said the family will have to wait until things get really bad before they will intervene.  There are ongoing issues with her taking her meds. She is still deciding when she’s going to take them. Janet asked if is there a mental capacity test coming up. Apparently there is a 6-7 month back log, so they are waiting. Her brother was concerned about his sister saying inappropriate things when they are out, as she is prone to make personal remarks about others. This is something she never used to do. Janet advised having a discreet word with the person the comment is aimed at if he feels they heard, saying words along the lines of “I’m so sorry, my sister isn’t well ”.

Advancing symptoms

A wife has become harder to look after while the husband is away a break, as she has trouble going up the stairs. She can’t work out at times how to use her feet. Janet asked if he had considered a care home placement while he is away. He felt a respite place would throw her out of routine as it would not be familiar and she would be better at home. The husband said he has got used to how his wife is, but her daughter still finds it hard. 

Gyda read: “The Good  Feelings”:

The May meeting is canceled due to the coronation Bank holiday. Next meeting will be on 5th June.

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