A team of 24 caregivers from the Ipswich area have undergone specialist training to cope with the growing number of elderly people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Ipswich is one of the first places in the UK where this specialist training programme, developed by a team of world-renowned ageing and dementia specialists, is being introduced.
The new training programme, accredited by City & Guilds, has been developed especially for Home Instead Senior Care whose caregivers provide at-home care for older people, enabling them to remain in their own homes for longer than would otherwise be possible. It is the only home care provider in the country to have received accreditation from City & Guilds for a dementia training programme.
The programme teaches innovative techniques for dealing with dementia. Rather than focus on the symptoms and treatments of the disease, caregivers are trained in effective techniques for managing the many different and sometimes challenging behaviours associated with dementia including refusal, delusions, aggression, false accusations, wandering, agitation. A key outcome is that caregivers learn to respect the person with dementia as an individual and observe, honour and support their lives.
Caregiver Lynda Oates, who won the Eastern England Dementia Carer of the Year Award at last year’s prestigious Great British Care Awards, is the nominated trainer for the programme and is looking forward to rolling it out to all members of the team. Explaining one of the fundamentals of the new training programme Lynda adds, “Rather than trying to force those living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia to live in our world in the here and now, we need to meet them in the past and the programme helps our caregivers to achieve this. Dementia care often focuses on keeping the person with dementia from doing unwanted behaviours, thereby creating a behavioural void. The new programme looks to teach caregivers to focus on supporting wanted behaviours.
“We specialise in at-home care for older people and around 60 per cent of our clients are diagnosed with, or have symptoms of, Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. The work we do with these clients is about improving their quality of life. The aim of the programme is to allow our many clients living with dementia to remain in their own homes, with support, for longer than would otherwise be possible. Because our caregivers can share their knowledge with family members the programme will help to give them confidence in dealing with behaviours that can be irrational or hard to understand and this sharing of knowledge is one of the great things about our approach.”
Commenting on his new team of dementia specialists, owner Chris Lye said, “We are committed to the training and development of our caregivers who do fantastic work in the local community. I am proud that they all completed the course successfully, well done.”