Posted 05/05/2021

Time for a Cuppa

One in three of us born in the UK today will develop dementia in our lifetime, and there will be one million people living with dementia by 2025, making dementia care one of the greatest challenges facing our society.

In 2020, we lost national treasure Dame Barbara Windsor following a long-term battle with Alzheimer’s. Five months earlier, England World Cup winner and former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton passed away after suffering from lymphoma and dementia. The exceptionally moving documentary Finding Jack Charlton charts the life of the former Leeds and England man – and how in his final years, he had the memories of his glittering career snatched away from him by dementia. These are two of countless cases that demonstrate just how important it is to raise awareness of this life changing illness.

Time for a Cuppa is an annual national fundraising initiative that sees the UK public organise their own tea and cake events to help raise funds for families facing dementia. With few existing treatments, social care is so crucial to those living with dementia. The pandemic has had a further impact on those suffering with the illness, and social care teams have had to go above and beyond and take extra care to provide the support that is needed.

Here at Swan, the customer is always our priority and our Care and Support team consistently go the extra mile to surpass customer expectations. We have specialist dementia care leads, and we run specialist dementia training for our care team. The expertise of our dementia care leads even feeds into our Swan Care and Specialist Accommodation logo; the logo retains pictures of our Swans because people with dementia and Alzheimer’s can slowly lose the ability to read and therefore rely on visual symbols.

Here’s an example of how one of our carers who have already made a difference to the life of a dementia patient.

Sally was 58 years old and had been diagnosed with dementia at aged 52. She could at times be aggressive and restless and would break things around the house. This was understandably very upsetting for her husband Paul, who felt helpless with the situation. 

Sally required one call per day to help with showering and dressing. Sally did not like things to happen quickly and liked to feel in control. We alternated the calls between three regular carers to allow Sally to build trust with them. Once trust was built, we would send another carer to shadow a regular carer before allocating them to the call. For Sally to feel in control, know the people who were supporting her and not feel rushed was very important for us in order to deliver a person centred, supportive service. 

As the carers were building trust with her, a difference in her behaviour was starting to show. When we re-visited to do a six-month care review, it was as if we were reviewing a completely different person. She sat on the sofa and remained calm for the entire hour we were there, even nodding off to sleep a couple of times. Paul said that his wife was a lot calmer now, no longer had emotional outbursts or tried to break things in the house out of anger and frustration.

Sally now has six regular carers who can provide her care without any upset or change to her behaviour. Giving just a little more time has made a world of difference.

To find out more about Time for a Cuppa and register for a free fundraising pack, visit Dementia Awareness UK.