Tag Archives: Respite

Dementia: Honesty and Integrity

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The concerns that I have raised with Alderlea Care Home are being dealt with very professionally.  Managers within the home are conducting a thorough investigation.  The Local Authority Safeguarding Team are also monitoring the situation.

When I picked Maureen up from Alderlea on Wednesday afternoon she said: ‘I like this kind of place’.  I echo her feelings.  Yesterday the Deputy Manager told me ‘she is loved here’, and she is!

I have already booked Maureen into Alderlea for my next Respite Break.  They have approached my concerns with honesty and integrity: it doesn’t get much better than that!

Once again I count my blessings that we live in North East Lincolnshire.  When my sister in law raised concerns about my brother’s treatment in Norton Grange Nursing Home in Coventry, she was given a month’s notice of eviction.  Thankfully, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Brandon House Nursing Home exudes person-centered care.  Unfortunately, they have inherited the prescription of antipsychotic medication.


Dementia: It’s Time To Take Care Homes Back Into The Public Sector

The shortcomings at Alderlea Care Home are an inevitable consequence of the current funding model. I am not at all surprised that one Care Home a week is closing.

 All Care and Nursing Homes need to be taken back into the Public Sector.

The following article is posted with the kind permission of the author.

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King Charles…
News and Comment from Roy Lilley


The seagulls shouted at each other, wheeling and diving.  Below them a man, walking his dog, leaned into the winter wind.
The waves crash on the shore; fizzled and bubbled their way up the beach and disappeared into the pebbles.
Watching from a bay window, across the promenade, Anil Laghari.  
Time to walk a dog… what a luxury.  Anil was envious.  He’d always wanted a dog.  Soon he thought.  Soon…
He turned and looked back at the chintz sitting room.  Upright easy chairs arranged around the walls.  Walking frames nestling with each other by the door.
Through the archway small dining tables and chairs stood, waiting.  Upturned drinking glasses and paper napkins.
The smell of breakfast worked its way from the kitchen through the ground floor, up the stairs to the rooms on the landing.
The day at The Sea View Nursing Home has begun.  Actually, the day becomes night, becomes day, becomes dawn.  No one notices the change in the sky.  Payne’s Grey to flannel grey.
The vast sky-scape; billowing and angry, today.  The horizon, invisible.  Better days… seamless blue.  Thundering black to gin clear.  The changes that visitors and painters come to admire.
Fishermen stand on the edge of the tide, their beach-casters bending.  Surfers brave the cold.  In the summer families brave the rain.  Anil, couldn’t remember the last time a Sea View resident ventured out, down the ramp, across the road to the beach.
Most of them hardly ever look out of the window.  They look at day-time television.
When he and his wife, Shirley, took on the care home there were days out, shopping visits.  They had a minibus.  No more.  The residents very frail, shortage of staff, insurance, risk assessments; pile that lot together and you have a mountain to climb.
Anil and Shirley met when they were working in the NHS.  Anil worked, as he called it, ‘in the bowels of the finance department‘, Shirley amongst ‘the bowels in the front line‘.  A nurse.  Their private joke.
Life was better then; optimism and hope.  When they culled PCT’s… voluntary redundancy, Anil’s pension not far off, a deal not to be missed. Shirley said goodbye to the NHS.
They sold their home, bought Sea View.  Their dream came true.  Their own care business.
Regulations, fire, health and safety, registration.  It was tough but they were ten years younger then.
In the hallway, a picture of the opening day.  The Mayor cut a ribbon.  She said nice things about care of the elderly.
Since then the Council have halved care home fees.  It’s the private payers who keep the place going.
Across the sector the annual, average care home, pre-tax profit is £11,000.  Thirty pounds a day.  Buskers make more.  Averages are made-up of highs and the lows.
Shirley and Anil have made a loss in each of the last three years.  But for the fact they live in the small flat, at the top of the building, they would have given up last year.
They are giving up this year.  They have put the CCG, the local authority, the residents and their families on notice; 31st March.
On hearing of the closure One of the resident’s sons racially abused Anil, told him to stop ‘ripping off the NHS and eff-off back where he came from’.  
The CCG haven’t done anything and the local authority told the local newspaper they have ‘the matter in hand’.  Social services have done  ‘assessments’.
There isn’t much else they can do.  One care home a week is closing.  Resident’s acuity is taking a dive, getting nursing help is impossible, the local Trust employs anyone who comes on the market.  Staffing in seaside towns notoriously difficult.  The sector, generally, impossible to staff safely.
Shirley tried to employ some Portuguese girls as care assistants; trained them herself.  After Brexit, they went home.  The locals aren’t interested.
The care home will revert to ‘residential’ planning status.  A developer is interested.  Shirley and Anil will just about get their money back and settle-up with the bank.  Break-even for ten years hard slog.
Anil looked out and saw the morning sky had grown darker.  There was a storm on the way.  Rain lashed the promenade.  The man with the dog, like his dream, has gone.
Anil wondered; Jack Russell or King Charles.

Dementia: This Is Not A Safe Place!


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Yesterday I made a late evening visit to see Maureen in Alderlea Care Home.

I was puzzled by the absence of staff from the Resident’s Lounges.

I had to summon staff after I intervened when a resident was being assaulted

I will raise my concerns with appropriate personnel this morning.

I need to bring this Respite Break to a premature end.


Dementia: The Road To Antipsychotics


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  • Your husband has Alzheimer’s.
  • You receive little support.
  • You are worn out.
  • You put your husband into Respite Care.
  • He has no idea where he is.
  • He goes into a woman’s bedroom thinking it is you.
  • He responds physically when a carer tries to separate him from his ‘wife’.
  • The Police are called and he is removed to a Mental Health Unit.
  • He is Sectioned and detained in the MHU.
  • It takes 6 months before any Home will accept him as a resident.
  • His carers at his current Nursing Home say he is a ‘lovely man: easy to manage’.
  • He occasionally smiles as he sits alone and catatonic in the Dining Room.
  • Is there any incentive for the Annual Review to change my brother’s medication?

Dementia: Now I Understand!


Image result for Now I Understand PictureI visited my mum and brother again yesterday afternoon.  Mum was such good fun as we sang along to YouTube together.  I fed our kid his evening meal and he rewarded me with some beautiful smiles.

There is little doubt that mum is bored for long parts of the day.  I can’t be much fun parked in the Residents Lounge with the TV constantly on blaring out inappropriate programmes.  It wouldn’t take much to brighten up her day: they know what she enjoys.

I’m always puzzled by my brother’s catatonic state and his restlessness as he sits continually shifting his position in his chair.  It is possible that his presentation can be explained by risperidone.  I was told yesterday that his medication means that ‘he is never any trouble.’  There are strict guidelines on the use of this antipsychotic for the elderly and I sincerely hope they are being applied in my brother’s case!

Dementia: Grugging Is Back!


As you will see from the photo above grugging – group hugging – is once again firmly established as an ongoing Retreat at Madhyamaka.  I encouraged Gen Togden, the Resident Teacher here, to demonstrate the technique after lunch yesterday. Shortly afterwards, in their farewell to Jo (3rd left back row), Working Volunteers demonstrated that they understood the practice.

Grugging is being taken to York tonight.  It will be on in various venues as the Volunteers celebrate the forthcoming birthday of one of their number (far right, front row). As an experienced grugger I have been asked to go along to ensure there is no straying from the path!

Togden’s teaching below has great relevance to me this morning as my Retreat draws to a close:


Dementia: Madhyamaka Is Amazing

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I had a really good day yesterday.  Taking Precepts at 7am. was a really helpful start to my day.  The teaching on my Retreat continues to be excellent; provoking me to think about how to move my mind in a positive direction.

Every time I come here I benefit from the warmth of my fellow travellers.  At 10 ‘o’ clock last night a woman I hardly knew was willingly giving me advice on how to improve this Site.  I’m not sure if she will have time before her departure this morning to see the results of her advice.

It is always reassuring to hear that your wife is ‘settled’ during a Respite Break.  That was the news when I made telephone contact with Alderlea Care Home last night: a member of staff assured me that she was ‘doing brilliant’.   I just hope that Maureen’s thinking has shifted from feeling that she is an ‘invalid’.  I would hate her to think that is why her husband has left her in the care of others for a while.

Once day breaks I will be able to eat again, after not having any food since yesterday lunch-time: the one meal you are allowed after taking Precepts.  It’s good to have a day when food does not take up so much of your time.  Although I won’t be wasting any opportunity to consume my share of the beautiful food that will be available here today!  The other thing I will focus on today is to watch my mind and what I say: drawing on the guidance I’m getting on my Retreat.



Dementia: Heeding Wise Counsel

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I eventually let my head rule my heart yesterday morning.  Once again our Key Worker kept me on the straight and narrow and eased Maureen into Alderlea Care Home.  He remains the only professional who Maureen remembers and trusts! Now I’m on my Buddhist Retreat I am grateful for his wise counsel.

I attended the introduction to my Retreat last night and I’m really looking forward to the next few days.  There are four teachings every day and we are encouraged to observe silence until late evening.  Madhyamaka is such a peaceful place: its impact on me is always significant.

I hope to find time to set up another page on this Blog so that I can share what I am  learning from my Retreat.

Dementia: I’m Tempted To Go For It!


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Maureen has been incredible over the last three days.  Our Little Diamond has worked tirelessly on my daily shopping list of activities.  I’m beginning to wonder if she has been using laughing gas as hysterics greet me when I return from my time out.

Maureen’s mood is so positive at the moment.  She had a shower and washed her hair this morning with minimal encouragement.  Then to cap it all she put on a complete set of underwear for the first time in ages.

Our Key Worker will be here shortly to take Maureen to Alderlea Care Home.  She has been at home for a month and it is time for me to have two weeks respite from my caring duties.  However, as things are going so well at the moment I’m wondering if a holiday together would be more appropriate.  It seems such a shame to put at risk what we achieved in the last few days.

It would be simple for Maureen to accompany me to the Buddhist Centre today and join me visiting family at the end of the week: there’s room for two on all my bookings.  It’s really tempting to go for it and leave Alderlea as a fallback position if needed!

Dementia: ‘You Need More Help Than That!’


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Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to confront you with the shortcomings of your situation.  When I told a nurse at Grimsby Hospital yesterday morning about the level of carer support that we receive she said: ‘you need more than that.’

Maureen had been taken to the hospital early yesterday morning because of pain in her abdomen.  At first, she was cooperative as she remembered her discomfort. Once the pain receded she couldn’t understand why she was being examined.  She concluded that it was my well-being that was under the spotlight and began to challenge staff as they attempted to diagnose the source of her pain.  Things became really difficult when she was told that she was free to go home.

It took myself and two nurses almost half an hour to persuade Maureen to leave the hospital and get into our car,  During that time she was physically aggressive and verbally hostile to anyone who tried to help her.

Next week provides an opportunity to explore how additional carer support goes down with Maureen.  Carers will be here for 6 hours on Tuesday and Thursday as some unused hours from Christmas and Boxing Day are reallocated.

On the 15th of January Maureen will be going into Alderlea Care Home for two weeks.  We have decided that a two-week Resite Break gives her a better chance to settle in new surroundings and me an opportunity to recover from four weeks of being on very long shifts.

Being a Care Partner is the most difficult job I have ever had in my life and I’ve had some tough ones.  It is important that the level of carer support reflects the demands of the role and is increased as things become more challenging.

The nurse who had saw Maureen in action yesterday is right.  Our current Support Package is inadequate.  It has not kept pace with changes in Maureen’s diagnosis: one of my resolutions for 2018 is to put that right!