14 February 2020
An honest interview with Dementia Care Manager, Tammy
We caught up with Tammy Symonds, Dementia Care Manager at Banstead Manor, our care home in Surrey to find out what support they provide for people living with dementia and what makes her proud to work at our state-of-the-art home.
What’s your experience in dementia care?
I have worked in dementia care for 14 years. I started off as a care assistant in a dementia community and I really enjoyed spending time with the residents and supporting them to do things they couldn’t do at home. I then moved into a senior carer position before being asked by my manager to apply for a management role. My career really took off from there and since then I have been on several dementia training courses to improve my knowledge and understanding on the subject. This includes a train the trainer course in Namaste care, which is a sensory programme that looks to support residents in later stages of dementia. In addition to this, I also have several NVQ’S in health and social care, a level 5 diploma in management and level 3 diploma in end of life care.
What is the most important part of your role?
Supporting the residents to live well with their dementia, recruiting the right team to care for those residents and building relationships with family members. I also think it’s important that I raise awareness of dementia within the home by educating team members, relatives and other residents about the condition so they have a better understanding on the subject and how we can all work together.
What qualifications does it take to care for residents?
You need a passion for care, you need to be caring, and you need to have empathy. Some of the best carers don’t have qualifications.
How do you encourage the team to get to know the residents and expand on their person-centred approach?
Before a resident moves in with us, we encourage them to fill out an about me booklet with support from their loved one or a member of our team. This is a continuously updated document and it gives us a great insight into their routine, history, hobbies, likes and dislikes. This helps us to plan an interesting and enjoyable activities schedule for the resident as well as build a care plan that is tailored to them.
What activities are there for residents at Banstead Manor?
We have a varied activities programme that is updated regularly and includes exercise classes, baking, gardening and aromatherapy treatments. Activities are tailored to the resident’s interests and needs, and include a range that promote mental, physical and social stimulation. They can also be group or singular. We try to match residents and team with similar interests to activities and this helps to create meaningful moments at the home.
What makes you proud to work at Banstead Manor?
The care team that we have! I am also proud of the environment we have for people living with dementia. It is an enabling, homely environment where people are encouraged to make friends, carry on their everyday routines as well as sample new opportunities and experiences. For example, if they want to cook with the team or help prepare their meals by growing vegetables in the garden they can. Our onsite hairdressers and therapy room facilities also enable residents to look and feel their best all from the comfort of their own home.
What advice would you give to someone caring for someone living with dementia?
You are not on your own and there is support available. Reach out to people living in a similar situation and share your experiences. Early intervention is also better, so if you notice your loved one is showing signs of possible memory loss contact your GP for a diagnosis.
For free dementia guidance and support please email Tammy.Symonds@hallmarkcarehomes.co.uk or call 01737 351353.
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