Manager for Guardian Homecare, Catherine Porter.

Exeter area care provider champions dementia techniques

Authored by Reporters
Posted Monday, January 27, 2020 - 10:28am

EXPERTS at a leading south Devon care provider are championing a variety of innovative techniques this month (February 2020) to care for people with dementia living at home in the county.

Guardian Homecare, operating in the Exeter area, says it is important to use different methods for those with the condition and has rolled these out as part of its staff training.

Manager for Guardian Homecare, Catherine Porter says: “We have worked with people with dementia for many years and through this we have developed a variety of techniques, which can be used when caring for someone with the condition.

“We have found them to be extremely helpful and, as a company, we now incorporate these methods within our carers training programmes to make sure our service users with dementia are properly cared for.

“It is important to use different techniques with different people. And the following are just some of the ones we use regularly:

Life storybooks and boxes – a booklet that is added to frequently, detailing a person’s past life, their culture, their family, work, hobbies and fun times.

Reality orientation – reminders about where they are, the time, the day, where we are, what we are doing, when we are eating.

Music – a service user we support loves to sing and enjoys musicals. We encourage this and take her to church choir music sessions, watch DVDs of old musicals that she chooses, and have the radio on if she wishes. If a person is mobile, it can be fun to dance too.

Validation – we do have times when a service user asks for their partner or other, we do not tell them that they have died as this would gain nothing other than upsetting them again and again. We simply divert by asking them questions about their partner or mother and try to focus on the good memories that they have. Sharing good times and memories is very rewarding for both the service user and the carer.”

Dementia affects a person’s ability to communicate, so they may need to develop alternative ways of expressing their feelings.

Non-verbal communication, including body language and the tone of voice of carers, will become increasingly important.

“A person with dementia may have a different sense of reality. By understanding this we can begin to be aware of what they might be feeling and be able to interpret their behaviour.

“We also recommend our carers simplify sentences and instructions so that they are not asking too much in one statement. Enable service users to have as much control over their life as possible and help the person by using visual or pictorial cues and planners to structure their day.

“A ‘life story book’ or ‘memory box’ of photos and mementos from the person’s past is also a useful way to help the person interact and reminisce.

“Relaxation techniques such as massage, aromatherapy and familiar music can be effective and enjoyable. Someone with dementia may be able to sing or hum a favourite tune even after they have lost the ability to speak.”

Guardian Homecare delivers personalised home care supporting people wishing to stay living safely and comfortably in their own homes in south Devon.

It is currently looking for 100 new honest and kind-hearted individuals to help add to its teams in the county, and offers training and the opportunity for internal advancement. Anyone who joins the team is creating a career path using the different qualifications they can achieve.

“No experience is necessary to become a carer, as we offer free, full training, which includes a company induction, first aid, information on dementia, health and safety, food safety, infection control, handling medication and moving and handling service users, with the opportunity to achieve industry-recognised qualifications after the initial six months probationary period.”

New recruits are given free uniforms, access to national staff discount scheme for many major brands, which, also, covers holidays and electrical goods, as well as 28 days paid holiday, paid travel between calls and paid mileage.

Anyone wishing to find out more about Guardian Homecare and career in care, should call 01803 853198 or visit

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