Helping change the environment for dementia

23 October 2019

Written by: Home Instead

Health - Health and Wellbeing - Voluntary and community sector

Home Instead ’s dementia carers start from the idea that people need changes to their environment to go on coping with memory loss – and that people shouldn’t be rushed.

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Helping change the environment for dementia

“Helping someone with dementia go on living at home is all about making changes in the environment to keep them safe. Exchanging  a whistling kettle for an electric one , so they can make tea safely. Maybe turning off the gas and cooking with electricity.”

Signposting people to services

Tony O Flaherty, who runs HomeInstead locally says: “Age UK Lambeth helped us find premises and as part of the Lambeth Dementia Action Allowance we signpost people to the right services. We train people as Dementia Friends and we train trainers.

Time to help

“It takes time to understand that some people with dementia need companionship, some need help with cooking. Some need help following shopping lists, some need help filtering out marketing calls -one man had £600 of wine he’d been scammed into buying over the phone. Home Instead’s carers understand people shouldn’t be rushed. Our visits are a minimum of one hour.

Parenting children

“Sometimes our role is keeping families updated on what’s changing, trying to take the emotion out of situations and look at practicalities. It’s easy for adult children to treat their parents like kids – it feels like their roles are reversed. Sometimes people forget that someone with Dememtia doesn’t talk logically – one  parent kept saying he wanted to go home –  In actuality his dentures were hurting him, and when the dentist adjusted him he stopped saying he wanted  to go home .

Dementia Friends

“We’re always looking for people wanting to learn about becoming Dememnta Friends. We’re putting together a calendar of events for over-65s with links to services. We’re looking for volunteers from Lambeth with whatever time and skills they have to offer: arts and crafts, singing, knitting. We just need people who are empathetic. The big thing is overcoming isolation  – we know now that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking.”

For more information

  • For the five priorities for action on dementia in Lambeth 2019-2022, see the Lambeth Dementia Action Alliance information pages,
  • Home Instead is an international dementia care organisation, established in 2005 by a son whose father received poor quality care which resulted in him becoming depressed and malnoursihed.