21 December 2019
Case Study: Helping My Grannie Find The Right Place To Manage Alzheimer’s Disease
“My grannie started to demonstrate the early signs of dementia after my grandad sadly passed away a number of years ago. Despite not being hugely reliant on him, she started to become more anxious and depressed, calling us up late at night and leaving us worrying messages. Not only this, but just under a year after the passing of my grandad, she began to be forgetful; not remembering where she placed items or even conversations that we had had. After many tests and visits to the hospital, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which was a shock for my family, but we knew that we needed to ensure that we made the most of every minute with her.
“As the symptoms began to come to light even more, we decided that she would be safer in a retirement living community home that had independent living. Not only would this allow her to continue her independence in a safe and secure environment, but she could join in with day trips and make new friends, so she wasn’t alone. This move proved to be working well for a period of time. We would join her for meals in the dining room, have a coffee in the living room and spend time catching up with her either in the gardens or her room, which had a kitchen area, bathroom, bedroom and living room! My grannie would participate in all the activities on offer, from bowls to knitting and ensured that she went on all the trips she could. She seemed to be enjoying her time with her new friends and we were very happy with the decision we had made.
“A few months later, my mum received a call from the manager at the home, explaining how my grannie had become a little angry over dinner and was showing signs of frustration. This was completely out of character for her. Over the next few weeks, you could tell that she was getting upset and frustrated, displaying more signs of the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. During this time, she injured her finger and she was taken to hospital for an operation and the disease seemed to progress more than it had done before. Not only was she confused, but my grannie was angry. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go home, would pack up everything in the room into her bag to go home and this was when she started to say that she wanted to get home to see her parents, who haven’t been around for years.
“After many discussions with professionals and doctors ensuring it was the best plan of action, we decided to move her to a care home where she would receive more help. Once she was out of hospital and settled into her new home, she seemed to improve for a few months. Despite a lot of conversations going around in circles and being repeated, my grannie knew who we were, and we were able to have relatively normal conversations. However, this didn’t last too long and the repetition and confusion were more regular, so we decided to just agree with her mistakes during a conversation instead of trying to correct her, as this seemed the best way to keep her happy and less anxious.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t long until we found out that the carers hadn’t been caring for her very well; her clothes hadn’t been washed and nor had she. Due to the stage of progression she was in, she didn’t want to be washed by anyone else and was refusing for her clothes to be washed in the washing machine with others, so the carers didn’t argue with her and just left her. With much dispute with the care home, we decided to look elsewhere for a care home that would provide correct care for residents who have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
“When we found Hallmark Care Homes, we were over the moon; the team receive ongoing training, they deliver relationship-centred care and completely understand how to care for a resident with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, they even tailor the environment, by making everyday activities more accessible and feasible and make sure that they fully support every resident in their homes. What’s more, they also make sure that every resident receives the nutrition they require.
“My grannie is now between the moderate and severe stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Now when we visit her, we make sure that she enjoys spending time in the moment, especially as she now doesn’t recognise who we are and talks about events that haven’t happened. She still thinks that she lives at home with her parents and she doesn’t make as much conversation anymore. However, the environment she lives in is calm, friendly and there are plenty of activities for her to take part in. The team are great and ensure that she washes regularly, has her hair cut and is cared for really well. Although the speed of the progression is incredibly upsetting, we are very pleased with the move and she seems to be enjoying herself.”