Dear Christopher

Can we have direct contact with the carer?

This is episode 6 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions from our clients and the questions and queries and conversations across Facebook over the last week.

How does it work? Can we have direct contact with the carer?

We allow direct contact between our carers and our families.

It’s one of the ways that agencies fall down. The more lines of communication that are open the more likely is is that the communication will fall down.

Carer phones the agency, agency staff asks a manager about the query, original member of staff calls carer back. Then that person calls the family and then calls the carer again… all for just one query!

We also have an online care journal, so families can see what is going on with the care once the carer has completed the journal which is in near real time, works very well for families that don’t live so close to their loved ones.

We work on a trusting, flexible basis and we find this results in a much higher level of care. You can call the carer and ask them to come in 10 minutes earlier or 15 minutes later one day. And most of the time I’m sure that’ll be no problem at all.

It works best on a two way basis; if you are flexible with the carer then the carer will be more flexible with you.

I know this way of working is not for everyone.

If you’re looking for more rigid care schedule but with less consistent carers then drop as a message and I can put you in touch with an agency.

If you’re looking for consistent care then fill in the form below, use the live chat below or give drop us a call on 02088860686 and we’ll see if you’re a good fit to work with us.


 
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Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends

This is episode 5 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions from our clients and the questions and queries and conversations across Facebook over the last week.

A client and a carer asked a question or two about the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends sessions over the last week.

How do you become a Dementia Friend?

You can watch the free videos on the Dementia Friends website or you can attend a Dementia Friends session. They are fantastic sessions, very positive, fantastic analogies that really help you to understand what dementia is and how it affects a person living with it.

The sessions are 45 mins to an hour and are free. They are held across the country so search on the website and it will let you know if there is one coming up near you soon.

What is expected of me as a Dementia Friend?

The Alzheimer’s Society ask you to commit to just 1 dementia friendly action. That could be sharing a picture of yourself with your Dementia Friends badge on. It could be tell other people of the session. It could be to watch out to see if there’s someone that could use some help in the supermarket or perhaps your own idea.

They also have a Dementia Champion session. Also free, it was around half a day when I did it. The Alzheimer’s Society trainers will train you to become a champion and deliver the Dementia Friends session yourself in your local community.

I really recommend the sessions, so much better than other dementia courses I have completed. I’m a Dementia Champion so if you’d like me to deliver the session in your community then contact us and let me (Christopher) know. You can do that on 0208 886 0686 or at hello@carechooser.com

If you know anyone who is looking for consistent home carer, let them know about us.

All the best,

Christopher


 
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Dementia and Personality Change

This is episode 4 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions from our clients and the questions and queries and conversations across Facebook over the last week.

Memory loss is heavily associated with dementia. But there are many other symptoms and personality change is one.

It’s also perhaps the most shocking and the most difficult to deal with.

A person that has been quiet and reserved for most of their life can become loud and rude.

Personality change is quite often one of the most early signs and often happens before diagnosis.

There are over a 100 different types of dementia. Fronto-temporal dementia, a type of dementia that affects the front and side of the brain is heavily associated with a change in personality and behaviour and a loss of language.

Very often the personality or behaviour change is to do with communication. The person living with dementia may be trying to communicate a need such as being too hot or too col, in pain, needing the toilet. There could be medication side effects or they could be lonely and isolated.

Changes is personality could include agitation, repetitive behaviour, shouting, sleep disturbance, hiding things, hoarding, checking, losing inhibitions and more.

Know that it could be communicating a need, see if you can work out what need it is. But you need to be very careful with the way that you deal with and respond to that need in relation to the change in personality and behaviour.

If you respond to the need as a result of a behaviour directly it could cause the behaviour to increase long term.

It is quite a shocking thing to deal with and it’s often very unexpected too. Dementia is a very inconsistent disease and different people may have different symptoms. The main message of this article and video today is to get across the fact that personality change can be a symptom of dementia.


 
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The 1 reasons why there's behaviour (there's just 1)

Let’s look back at last week’s behaviour article… I suggested you focus on the smallest behaviours rather than the large behaviours such as screaming or aggression.

1st of all it’s easier to make a difference with small behaviours.

2nd if you focus on the large behaviours. You’re sending out a message even if you don’t know it is that anything lower than this is acceptable.

If you focus on the smallest of behaviours, what you are secretly saying is that anything bigger than that is unacceptable. And so in doing so you deal with the large behaviours anyway!

This week… the 1 reasons there’s behaviour (there’s just one).

It all comes down to ‘it works’. The only reason there is behaviour is because it works. Whether it’s screaming, defiance, aggression, being nasty, sibling rivalry. It all comes down to the fact that it works.

If you can work out how it’s working. It becomes quite easy to stop.

I know most of the reasons how behaviour works for a person and we’ll look into that next week. If you can’t wait until then get in touch with me at christopher@carechooser.com


I’m doing some coaching on behaviour and taking on just a few clients each month. Get in touch and we’ll see if you’re a good fit to work with me either with the elderly with dementia or with children. 

Share this with someone who needs to see it and watch out for the next live video and article. Have a great week. 

Need a great home carer? Fill in the form below.

Need help with behaviour? Fill in the form here.


 
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Think Small. Focus on the smallest behaviour.

Behaviour is my passion. But it wasn’t always that way. I was terrible managing behaviour.

I learn some secrets and now through my company CareChooser my carers use my techniques to work with people living with dementia.

Most experts will focus on the ‘big’ behaviours. The kicking, screaming and the spiteful behaviour. You know what. That’s not going to work.

I do the opposite.

I focus on the smallest behaviours, the smallest behaviours you can find and identify.

It’s easy, its’ easy to make a change here and you’ll find they start to filter up to the big behaviours anyway.

If you want to know more about that. Come inside and read my story.

Click Here.

Share this with someone who needs to see it and watch out for the next live, have a great week. 

Need a great home carer? Fill in the form below.

Need help with behaviour? Fill in the form here.


 
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Dementia, Death & Grief

This is episode of 3 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions being asked to us and across Facebook over the last week.

This is a tricky subject to broach, but we’re going to try and address it as best we can.

Let’s start with the dementia. Now dementia doesn’t or very rarely causes death itself. Theoretically it could damage the part of the brain that controls breathing but this is rare.

Usually it’s symptoms cause a weakening of the immune system and then another symptom or disease which may cause a loved one to pass away. It’s usually a complication rather than the dementia itself.

Pneumonia is very common - an infection or inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs.

Falls can commonly cause death (top tips to reduce falls)

Bedsores - caused by sitting or lying in the same place for too long can work their way to the bone and other common causes include strokes and heart attack.

Grief.

So how to deal with grief after a loss.

The first thing is to know that it’s ok to feel grief and any one of a range of emotions after a loss. It is ok.

Denial

Denial is a stage of grief. It’s ok to be in denial. Denial actually help us to survive the loss in the early stages following a passing away of a loved one.

It’s nature’s way of only letting us cope with what we can handle at that time.

Anger

Anger is another form of grief. It’s ok to feel angry after a loss, as long as it’s not directed at another person or directed in a negative way.

Bargaining

Bargaining often takes the form of blame, blaming yourself or others and questioning. If only I’d done this… if only that had happened, if only I hadn’t done that. I wish that… If they could just…

Again this stage actually helps us. It takes us back to before the loss and so allows us to feel only a small amount of the pain at that time, the amount we can handle at that point in time.

Depression

Depression comes after a loss. It’s ok to feel depressed, sad and empty after a loss. It’s normal and it’s not something to be fixed. It’s not to be labelled as a mental health issue because it’s the direct result of a loss and an event.

Acceptance

Acceptance is not necessarily being ok with the loss. Often people will never be completely ok, but we come to accept it. To accept its permanence and begin to learn to live with the loss.

We used to think that we move through each stage one after the other, down the line until we get to acceptance and then we’re ok.

That’s not how it works.

You can jump from stage to stage, forward and backwards multiple times. And that is also ok. That’s how grief works and it’s ok to feel each stage at multiple times in no particular order or more than one at a time.

As I say it’s a difficult subject to broach. I hope I’ve done it some justice. If you need someone to speak to or somebody listen give us a call on 02088860686 for a chat or if you’d like to write your feelings down you can do that at hello@carechooser.com

You can also seek support at a Bereavement Center such as this one highly recommended by one of viewers of the video today.

All the best,

Christopher


Home Care Equipment

CareChooser - Home care equipment - zimmerframe, walking frame. walker_assistance_senior_elderly_care_disabled_patient_walking-838988.jpg

If you need home care equipment at home, you may not need to buy the equipment privately.

Most care equipment should be free of cost through the council or the NHS if you are assessed as needing it.

‘Minor adaptations’ to the home costing less than £1000 are free from the council and are NOT means tested. Some councils do not advertise this. You just have to be assessed as needing it.

‘Major adaptations’ up to £30,000 are available but are means tested.

You have two options:

You can visit your GP or hospital and seek an occupational therapist assessment.

You can request a needs assessment or an occupational therapist assessment from your local council.


Where can I find out about getting home care equipment on the NHS?

You can find out about getting home care equipment on the NHS here at the following link.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/care-services-equipment-and-care-homes/household-gadgets-and-equipment-to-make-life-easier/

Where can I find out about getting home care equipment from my council?

You can find out about getting home care equipment or up to £1000 for 'minor adaptations' (sometimes not advertised) from your council on your council's website or here at the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-home-equipment-for-disabled

And if I want to get home care equipment privately, where should I look?

You can buy care equipment such as walkers, zimmerframes etc at Fortuna Mobility.

http://www.fortunamobility.com/


 
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Full Post - Having difficulty getting mum/dad/child dressed?

Don’t want to read the full post.

TOP TIPS here.

I’m going to be doing a few new FB live series’. Those that don’t know me I help families find great carers and we support families too.

I'm going to be looking at some of the key questions being asked on Facebook around care, health, dementia and behaviour.

One that keeps coming up… Mum won’t change her clothes… and has tantrums. Perhaps she screams, refuses, is rude or even hits out. 

1st why am I talking about behaviour.

Some of you will know me from earlier in my career, Mary, Harriet, Richard, Emma, Michael and will remember I was terrible at managing behaviour.

I was a teacher, my classes were fun but behaviour was not a strong point.

Then one day a headteacher I worked with handed me some papers in the corridor, stapled together at the top. 

I took it home and read it that night it was totally different to what the ‘experts’ tell you to do.

In fact it was the opposite.

I tried it and the behaviour got worse, it said it would, and then it began to work…

like magic. 

I went on somehow to work with children with extreme behaviour difficulties, working with them directly and made changes in just a few days and I now work with people living with dementia too. 

So… Mum won’t change her clothes… and has tantrums. Perhaps she screams, refuses, is rude or even hits out.

1st thing to do know.

If you’re going to try and make a change to behaviour.

I’ll tell you now, it’ll get worse first. They’ll test you and the behaviour will get worse. Whose going to win? See it through and you’ll win long term. 

2nd thing - check if it’s communication.

Behaviour is often communication. It’s not the right or acceptable way to communicate but sometimes it is communication. Are clothes itchy, uncomfortable, too warm or too cold? Sometimes I don’t want to change my warmest fleece jumper! It’s cold and the jumper is warm. Is it hot and its the coolest t-shirt etc?

3rd - seek to reduce the behaviour.

How you react to the behaviour will determine if it happens again. Generally if you react, show eye contact, any alarm in your voice, annoyance or respond with conversation. That’s attention even if it’s negative, it will happen next time too. 

Respond to behaviour, tantrums with NOTHING.

No eye contact, few or zero words. Use the same repeated words in a boring, monotone voice. If it’s met with boring repeated words and no eye contact, there’ll be no point in it continuing (after the test period of course!) No physical contact.

4th - Repeat simple 2/3 word instructions.

In a boring monotone voice, with actions. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Then leave it. Jumper on, jumper on. 

5th - Perhaps use first and then.

Remember it’s ‘dressed first, then tea’, ‘dressed first, then ….’

‘first wash jumper, then wear it’

6th - Use hand signs, pointing, pictures. 

Now I’m putting together some scripts, some clever words and phrases, that you can use. And this is just the beginning… 

I’ve tested a lot of different techniques.

Some worked, some didn’t. I repeated and remembered the ones that worked and ditched the ones that didn’t.

I’m not a behaviour expert and I have no interest in being one. I don’t want to stand behind a clip board and tell people what to do. Do behaviour experts actually try what they say? Do they actually do it?

I’m doing some coaching on behaviour, get in touch if you want to work with me either with the elderly with dementia or with children. 

Share this with someone who needs to see it and watch out for the next live, have a great week. 

Need a great home carer? Fill in the form below.

Need help with behaviour? Fill in the form here.


 
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