Combating elderly loneliness with domiciliary care packages

Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience. We all know how it feels to be lonely but did you know that around 1 million older people regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone?

Half of all people aged 75 and over live alone, and 1 in 10 people aged 65 or over say that they are always or often feel lonely – that is just over a million people. (Source: www.ageuk.org.uk)

To tackle this growing problem there are a lot of services available. Older people need a broad range of opportunities and activities to help tackle loneliness. These can include care and befriending support as well as opportunities that can connect them to their local communities, for example faith, learning, fitness, leisure and cultural activities. Having regular visits from the same person at a regular time can really alleviate those feeling of loneliness. This in turn can give a boost to an individual’s confidence and therefore have an overall improvement for mental and physical health.

Age UK offer a befriending service. A person is assigned who then provides friendly conversation and companionship on a regular basis over a long period of time. There is also a telephone befriending service called ‘Call in time’. The relationship is structured so that the call is made at a pre-arranged and regular time.

Contact the Elderly is a national charity and organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for people over 75 who live alone with little or no support from family and friends. These parties are a lifeline of friendship bringing older people and volunteers together for an afternoon of stories, laughter and conversation.

Here at Sussex Grange a personal home care service can be arranged with our expert carers around the Chichester and Selsey areas. This is a flexible service that delivers the help that our clients need, when they need it. We offer a variety of services and will work with the individual to create a plan to suit their personal requirements. If needs change our service will change. We are here to support our clients who are our central point of focus. For more information, please contact Karen or Tom at Sussex Grange to discuss the requirements.

Overcoming communication challenges with dementia patients

For those supporting people with Dementia be that family, friends or nursing staff, there is often a lot of anxiety about how to communicate to those who are living with the condition. People feel apprehensive about talking to someone with dementia. They don’t know what to say, or how to respond to what is often perceived as unusual behaviour. At Sussex Grange, we have experience of dealing with many different variations of dementia and find each resident is unique in their response to your behaviour.

Experiencing the direct confusion and uncertainty of a patient or loved one can be a frightening experience. As the condition becomes more acute they begin to lose their grip on the present. They lose the ability to convey thoughts and feelings, they may not recognise friends or family and may think they are in another place or time.

Communication can be frustrating for all. There are a few key things to remember. Think about body language, facial expression and tone of voice. Keep your body language open, your facial expression warm and cheerful and your tone of voice light, positive and confident. This will bring a sense of hope and reassurance to the conversation.

Below are some techniques that can help when communication is particularly challenging:

  • Keep it simple – speak slowly and distinctly.
  • Do not contradict – this could cause increased anxiety. What they are saying is what they “know”.
  • Be patient.
  • Make a meaningful connection – talk about things they enjoy discussing and use happy memories.

A lot of communication challenges tend to have common themes. For example, they keep asking for their mum or dad, they can’t explain why they are feeling sad, they keep asking to go home when they are at home, they are having difficulty finding the right words, they are withdrawn and unresponsive. For more of these common themes and some of the answers to why these things happen there are some great resources on www.dementiauk.org.