Story from a care home
The provision of ‘iPad’ tablets to Older People’s Care Homes in the county during COVID lockdown restrictions. This enabled a number of residents, including people living with Dementia, to be supported to keep in touch with their loved ones via video calling. This overcame long periods of lost contact due to restrictions on physical visits. A Care Home Manager wrote:
As a reflection of the help Flintshire County Council have given us during the pandemic. We have several residents with dementia who now are able to see and communicate with their families. In particular, one of our residents speaks to his son in Australia every Tuesday morning. He has not seen him in person for a few years, they only spoke once or twice a year on the phone and now due to the tablets that are provided by Flintshire he is able to zoom his son every Tuesday morning. He can’t remember when the call is (what day/time) or where the call takes place but he knows he can speak to his son and his daughter-in-law each week and he gets a lot out of their chats and is ever so grateful.
Creative Conversations story
Social Services work with North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) to implement the Creative Conversations model of support for people living with Dementia and their family and careers. This is facilitated through Integrated Care Funding (ICF).
Mr A and his wife would frequently go out to the shops and to cafes, shops, and even visited some of the Dementia memory cafes in the local town. This gave them both a lot of enjoyment. However this changed with the pandemic and the social restrictions. Mr A became increasingly confused and his behaviours became more challenging for his wife. This would manifest itself in Mrs A sometimes shouting at Mr A and this could lead to him leaving the house. Their family members live locally but could not visit frequently apart from dropping off shopping.
Mr & Mrs A were referred to the Creative Conversations practitioner. Initially with virtual meetings and later as safely socially distanced meetings. Mr A enjoyed the conversations with the facilitator and liked to show his puzzles, colouring and word searches which are his main activities. Mrs A now has a greater understanding of how her reactions to Mr A are so important to his well-being but still finds this difficult at times so ongoing support with this is important. Following the initial visits, the wider family are now visiting regularly outdoors. They have been present at some conversation visits and have been offered additional support to develop their understanding of the impacts of Dementia.
Story from a Care Home
We had a lady with us, living with Dementia. We discovered that she loved bananas. The smell of them brought good happy memories. This lady was refusing to wash, shower etc. I searched online and found a company in Sheffield who specialise in Banana scented body wash and shower gel. I spoke with them and explained about this lady and the difficulties with her showering and how she loves the scent of Bananas. They sent me over two bottles and it’s safe to say, the lady in question absolutely loved the smell, the experience and has been having showers. This shows that these little things can go a long way for people.
Some additional reflections from Jane Meakin, Creative Arts Practitioner and Dementia Support Specialist
As a direct result of the Covid-19 restriction the Creative Conversations project was adapted into a 1-2-1 service which focused on delivering support for the family carer(s) and cared for in their homes/gardens. This consisted of providing a variety of activities to either complete with myself during my visit and/or as suggestions for the carers. There was a definite need for this when so many people were stuck indoors with little or no stimulation resulting in low moods and challenging behaviours. There has been very good feedback from both the cared for and the carers.
There has been a number of light-hearted online activities available for those living with dementia in their own homes and care homes including movement sessions, quizzes and reminiscence conversations which have been enjoyed by all the participants.
Dementia Friendly Communities
Some additional reflections from Yvette, NEWCIS regarding the weekly virtual Dementia Friendly Coffee Mornings during lockdown.
People have been trained up to use the tablets, and have been given tablets from the funding. On the coffee morning we share memories, we sing, we bring objects along to discuss and also share family photographs. Everyone has a great time and we end on finding out what everyone is having for lunch that day! We have had tears, comfort and chats but most of all laughter! We would not have been holding this virtual coffee morning was it not for the pandemic and we felt it important to offer a way for people to get together and have a natter over a cup of tea.