CEO of Nottinghamshire-based Red Homes Healthcare group Roger Daniel offers advice to families about dementia during Alzheimer's Month and speaks about healtcare
The chief executive of a Nottinghamshire-based care home group has spoken about Alzheimer's Month.
Roger Daniel who owns the Red Homes Healthcare Group hopes to help families come to terms with as they start to see changes in their loved ones.
“We all need to learn from people suffering from Alzheimer’s and try to change our approach and respect and accept who they are today," said Roger.
"We need to embrace their journey.
"The challenge is trying not to compare them with who they were before
Alzheimer’s became a part of their lives.
"They are still themselves, just a different version of themselves.”
Roger added that dealing with a loved one with dementia is a scary prospect for families.
It is a fear that is felt across the world as revealed in an Alzheimer’s Disease International survey of 70,000 people - which found 35% of carers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member.
Some illuminating facts to consider from Alzheimer’s Disease International:
1.By 2050, an estimated 139 million people will be living with dementia worldwide, there are currently over 55 million.
2.62% of healthcare professionals wrongly believe that dementia is a normal part of aging
3.Dementia is the 7th leading cause of death globally and in an increasing number of countries, the leading cause of death.
4.Someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds.
5.One million Britons will be suffering with dementia by 2030
"The person diagnosed is going to become a different version of themselves," added Roger.
"Someone might display actions and emotions from the past, even their childhood, or someone who never used bad language, might suddenly start using unfamiliar language you would not associate with their past.
“A daughter or son might say this is not my mum, but this is their mum with Alzheimer’s, we need to learn to love and accept the journey they are on, and try not to get upset or cross.
"Those who cope the best are those who go with their loved ones on their journey.
"It is not easy.
"It can be really tough and there will be tough days.
"But this is a life living with Alzheimer’s.
“If we fight it, the more difficult that journey is going to be.”
Mr Daniel, who is a qualified solicitor with an NVQ5 in Care management, is also keen to dispel common misconceptions about care homes.
"They will have no quality of life and they won’t recognise me are just some of the conversations heard by the public upon hearing the words Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Mr Daniel added that people have visions of older grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, and fathers sitting, soulless and alone.
This thought conjures up fear and despair among families.
He recommended visiting a good dementia centre or excellent care home across the country and said that this would put people’s minds at rest.
"The best homes today are the ones that create a fluid and loving home-from-home environment that allows everyone to keep their sense of individualism, dignity, and freedom," said Mr Daniel.
“You only see on the media challenging stories around neglect and abuse. Stories such as these are terrible and those homes and staff need to be called out.
"But it’s a fragment of what really goes on.
"Come into most care homes and you will see the genuine love and commitment from every member of staff – and the genuine love
and trust between our lovely people and staff and families.
"At Red Homes’ we, like many care homes, are one big family.”
Mr Daniel added: “We also need to think about the language we use when talking about dementia and care homes.
We should try to stop thinking of it as putting them (in a care home), it is rather helping them move house to a safer, more stimulating environment, with good interactions from people who are trained and dedicated to supporting them with their changing needs.
"Instead of paying carers to come into their home, they are going to a new home, that is safer and where they will feel more secure and
can access the right care.”
Red Homes is trying to change the narrative on popular perceptions of care homes and their community who are living with dementia.
As well as extensive training part of Red Homes' continuous professional development is all about setting the expectations high.
“The way every member of staff thinks and behaves is so important to the overall feel of our homes," said Mr Daniel.
"We have high aspirations for our lovely people and our staff."
Mr Daniel said that a person who receives a diagnosis of dementia can still have a life of joy and laughter – even if they may not
quite be the person they were before."
As part of Alzheimer’s Month, the Red Homes Healthcare group is raising awareness across its homes and further afield of the importance of communication.
“We often leave it too late to find the right home for our loved ones because we feel we should do more or that we’ve given up on them," said Mr Daniel.
"The truth is the sooner they have the right care and the right environment their days become lighter and happier.
"But it is important to go and see for yourself and ensure you can communicate openly and freely to the manager and their staff.
"It’s always about good communication."