Dementia Care - Jean - Taking an innovative approach to building a relationship *
Jean is a retired former member of the Woman’s Royal Naval Service living in her long-term family home in Stubbington.
Jean is widowed and has two children only one of whom lives locally. Jean’s daughters have been concerned about her ability to manage day to day living activities for some time.
Jean was formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018 but it is likely that she was living with the condition for some years before.
She typically experiences issues with time and may become confused about night and day, planning meals and recognizing her personal care needs. At times she may feel anxious and confused especially when she is confused about time of the day.
Jean has always been a very private person and has become very wary of new visitors to her home.
Jean’s daughter approached us to provide support for her mother having commissioned 4 other home care providers all of whom had failed to establish any support regime for Jean.
We discussed the issues with Jean’s daughter and agreed to trial an unconventional approach to building a relationship with Jean which would also provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding of her needs.
Jean has been a lifelong animal lover and is especially fond of dogs.
We identified a suitably experienced Care Professional with a dog who was introduced to Jean though her daughter in a local coffee shop as a friend of the daughter who lived in the area.
From that introduction we then arranged just two calls per week where the Care Professional would generally check on Jean’s welfare and build a relationship with her.
Over a period of 4 weeks the calls were gradually increased to 5 calls a week and usually introduced on the understanding that the Care Professional was just passing and checking on her friend.
Jean would often be invited to take a walk with the dog but not always so that the long-term reliance on that strategy was not embedded in Jean’s routine.
After 6 weeks we were able to introduce another Care Professional to increase the frequency of calls. She was introduced as a friend of the first Care Professional Jean met.
10 weeks into the arrangement support for Jean is at 3 calls per day with a further increase planned.
Jean is encouraged to eat regularly and her Care Professional friends undertake shopping and household support for Jean.
She especially enjoys the companionship support that the visits provide.
The scheduled visits give Jean’s daughters reassurance that she is safe and well and that her well-being is being supported.
They have been able to postpone plans to move Jean into a residential care setting.
Jean’s support is an example of where an innovative approach may need to be taken to support a particular client and where it may be necessary to do something different from a traditional approach to provide effective care to a person in real need.
Jean’s well-being and relationship with the Care Professionals is exemplified in a comment she made in a recent visit when she was out for a walk on the local seafront where she remarked to one of her team:
“You make me feel like a queen”.
We know how difficult it can be to source the right support for a loved one.
We hope this case study will give you an insight into how we can support clients to remain at home, the place they love best.
* Please note all names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality and the images are not of a real client.If you would like to discuss how we can help keep your loved one stay at home, the place they love best, please call us for an informal chat on 01329 282 469.