September is World Alzheimer’s Month – an international campaign to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and challenge stigma associated with the condition. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which affects memory, thinking, problem solving and language.
Greensleeves Care, a national care charity, has responded to this challenge by introducing a dementia service at all its care homes including Torkington House in Acton, west London. As part of its dementia service, the charity has changed the way it recruits and trains its staff and has created a dementia friendly culture within all its care homes. The care provided to residents is based on the principles of ‘personhood’ by Dr Tom Kitwood. He identified that all human beings have the need for comfort, attachment, inclusion, occupation and identity. These needs are even more significant for those living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Torkington House is designed with the residents in mind, making the home bright, spacious and homely. Hand rails encourage independence among the residents. The garden is dementia friendly, with seating areas and raised beds enabling residents with dementia to enjoy gardening if they chose to. It is also wheelchair accessible. A summer house and water feature add beauty to the garden. The home is equipped with good lighting which helps residents take part in daily activities of their choice. Residents often bring in personal item (i.e. linen, rug, picture frames, throw, and cushion) that makes their bedroom more homely. They are also encouraged to choose when and where they would like to have their meals. Picture cards are used alongside the weekly menu to help residents to be able to decide what they would like to eat. Snacks and drinks are available 24 hours and supplement a balanced diet.