Practical guide for caring for someone with dementia

A practical guide for caring for someone with dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for disorders in the brain that cause memory loss, personality change, and impaired intellectual functions. Compared to normal memory loss from old age, dementia will have a profound effect on a person’s relationships and other elements of their day-to-day life.

Dementia comes on slowly, but at some point, the person affected is likely to need some level of care. Some of the most common signs of dementia like memory loss, impaired judgement, confusion and faulty reasoning can cause difficulties and dangers in that person’s life, meaning that they need someone to keep an eye on them.

If you’re faced with the task of caring for someone with dementia, then you may be feeling a little daunted. Like anything in life, the more you do something, the more natural it will come- and it always helps to be as prepared as possible beforehand.

Here are some tips for caring for someone with dementia: 

 

Find available support

Caring for someone with dementia can be an emotional experience, and it’s easy to overlook your own feelings when you’re focused on being responsible for someone else. It’s completely normal to feel guilty, sad, angry, confused or any other emotion- but you don’t have to sit with these feelings by yourself.

While you might not be able to talk to the person you’re caring for about how you’re feeling, there are many different support groups online where you can talk to other carers who are going through the same thing as you.

If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed with the task of caring for your loved one, then you should never feel guilty about asking for help. Most people find that bringing in an at home carer helps to put their mind at ease. You should consider a home care service like this specialist, who will care for your loved one from the comfort of their own home. Abney & Baker will be happy to provide an experienced carer who will help to make both you and your loved one’s life much easier, removing a huge weight from your shoulders. 

 

Managing finances

It’s a difficult conversation to have, but making future plans while the person still has the mental capacity to do so helps to make you feel more relaxed about the future. A person with dementia may be okay with managing their finances when it comes to direct debits, but if it starts to get too much for them, then it may be worth you taking over.

If it’s possible, then set up a third-party mandate to give you permission to manage your loved one’s bank account. Usually, if you contact banks and explain that you’re caring for someone with dementia, then they will be happy to help.

 

Be realistic

Finding out that your loved one is losing their memory is a hard pill to swallow, but it helps to be realistic about the disease. Do your research so that you’re aware of the facts, and try not to feel downcast if the person you’re caring for has a bad day. Dementia comes with good and bad days, and once you’ve accepted that, things can be a whole lot easier to cope with. 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Ways to reduce the stress of working from home

3 ways to reduce the stress of working from home

Before the pandemic came along I think most people used to think of working from home as ‘the dream’.  Everyone had these images in their heads of working from their sofa, staying in their PJs all day and generally feeling pretty relaxed while getting things done.

After the past year though, with so many people suddenly having to make working from home their reality, a lot of people have realised it really doesn’t match up to that dream.

There are loads of benefits to working from home, and it can be the perfect solution for getting a better work/life balance, especially if you used to have a long commute to an office every day.  But it can also bring a lot of stress for a lot of people.

If it’s looking like you’ll still be working from home for a while, and you’re finding it quite stressful at times, then these 3 tips should help make life a bit easier.

 

Set clear boundaries

One of the biggest issues people face with working from home is finding that your work life and your home life sort of blur into one another.  It can be hard to make a clean break from your working day when your office is the kitchen table.

So do whatever you can to start creating boundaries between your working day and the rest of your time at home.

Set clear times for when you’ll start and finish work each day, and then stick to them (no more ‘quickly’ checking your work emails from your phone in the evenings!).

If you miss the way that your commute gave your some down time to move from work mode to home mode, then try popping out for a walk round the block when  you sign out for the day.  Or create a new habit like popping the kettle on and having a particular type of tea at 5pm to mark the end of your working day.

 

Get everything in good working order

If you’re going to be working from home for a while yet, then it’s about time to deal with any little niggly issues you have with your home working set up.

Most of us rely on the internet to be able to get our work done, and a slow or unreliable connection can make things really stressful.

If you don’t think you’re getting the internet speeds you should be from your provider, then try using a company like SpeedCheck to see what speeds you’re actually getting.  If you’re not getting what you’re paying for then have a chat with your provider and ask them to sort it out for you.

You can also look into getting a signal booster to make sure your wifi reaches all the different corners of your home, so you can still check your emails on days you want to work from the bedroom.

Now is also a great time to look into getting a decent desk chair and making sure your desk is set up properly to look after your back.

 

Manage your time

Chances are you’re being left a bit more to your own devices while working from home, without your manager wandering round the office and checking in quite so much throughout the day.

So take a bit of time to properly plan out your day and make sure you’re managing your time as best you can.

This could include things like using the pomodoro technique to work in timed blocks and then making a point of taking a quick break to stretch your legs, get a drink, or have a chat with a friend.

It’s also really important to make sure you take a proper lunch break each day.  Move away from your workspace to eat and, if you can, get a little bit of exercise.  Just a 10 minute walk after you’ve eaten can make a big impact on how good you feel.

 

It might not always be easy, but planning out your day, setting clear boundaries around your working hours, taking regular breaks, and sorting out your kit can really help ease some of the stress of working from home.

Do you have any other top tips to make working from home easier?

 

the things that every foster carer needs before they get started

Here are the things that every foster carer needs before they get started

Becoming a foster carer is a one of the most rewarding things that a person can do. You are stepping in to make the life of a vulnerable child in need better, and that is a truly remarkable thing.

Given how much uncertainty there is the world right now, and how difficult things have been for people in the most vulnerable areas of society providing a safe and supportive space for a young person is a tremendous way to help create a brighter tomorrow. All over Great Britain, people are stepping up to help.

 

As we’re sure you’re aware, becoming a foster carer is not something that occurs overnight, and it’s not a step to be taken lightly. If you have made the decision that this is something that you want to do, then it’s time to start thinking about all the things you’ll need to create a happy secure home for the young person who will be in your care.

Here are a few things that you will need to make sure that you progress through the assessment process smoothly and to ensure that your home is ready for your foster.

 

Get ready to answer a lot of questions

We know that you aren’t expecting to be matched with a foster child overnight, but you should be prepared for the fact that becoming a foster carer is a process that can take between four and six months.

You are going to need to be comfortable with being assessed by a social worker, who will ask you questions about your childhood, your life experiences, your relationship with your parents, and more besides.

You should also make sure that you have people who can provide you with character references and who are happy to answer questions about you. 

 

If you are starting to feel like you’re being put under a spotlight, remember that it is not only important that you are equipped with the right home and structure for a foster child, but that you can offer the kind of emotional support they need too.

 

Get a spare room ready

It’s a fact that anyone who wants to become a foster carer will need a spare room that can be just for their foster. Some people ask if they can become a foster carer without having that spare room but being able to provide a foster child with that space for privacy and security is absolutely crucial.

You do not need to own your home to become a foster carer (although you will need to have permission from your landlord or landlady if you are renting) but remember that foster children can be coming from all different kinds of circumstances where trust and safety may not have been in big supply. If you want more information about how to get your home ready, fostering agency Calon Cymru has a wealth of resources to help you learn more about fostering in Wales

 

Get your support structure in place

Becoming a foster carer is a big deal for both of you and it’s important to remember that there will be times when you will need to ask for help. The good news is that foster care associations don’t abandon you as soon as you bring the foster child home.

They should have round the clock social care support available in case of emergencies, as well as plenty of opportunities for continued learning to make sure that you continue to develop your skills, senses and awareness. But it’s also important to remember to keep your friends and family updated as to what’s going on with your progress.

This is a big step that you’re taking, and it will make a big difference to have some support in your social circle. 

 

Get ready for anything

While there is a lot of practical preparation you can do for becoming a carer, from getting their room nice and ready for them to getting a driver’s license if you don’t have one, one of the most important things to remember is that this is a process with a lot of emotions involved.

If there’s some negativity or hard times early on, don’t take it personally. If this seems like a big step for you, consider how strange and unsettling it can be for the child. 

However, it’s also a process that can be full of joy and love. This can be an opportunity for you to learn from them as much as they learn from you, and you’ll discover strengths that you never knew you had.

 

Get ready for this to be the start of something more

Some people take on a foster child and that’s it for them, they’ve helped one child feel safer, more confident and more loved. However, if you’re expecting this to be a one and done kind of deal, get ready for a surprise.

There genuinely is nothing like the feeling that comes from giving a vulnerable child the support and safety they need, of stepping in and helping them take that first confident step into their future.

So, is it any wonder that a lot of carers make it their life? Some carers have helped more than 300 children. This could be the first step on an amazing journey.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Setting up a perfect home office

Setting up the perfect home office

With so many of us working from home in the last year, it has never been more pertinent to make sure that your home office space is as ideal as it can be.

To help you create the perfect place for productivity, we’ve had help from a green print solutions company to offer you tips on what to consider when setting up your home office! 

 

Dedicated space 

Be it a particular room or a particular wall for the desk to go by, make sure that the office space is just that, a space all its own.

Keep away from distractions, and keep the office space separate from the areas at home that you like to relax and kick back in. Not only will it help you feel more organised in your day, it means you don’t bring bad work vibes into the lounge when you’re done. 

 

The right equipment 

Many of you may be finding that as you work more at home, you need different pieces of equipment to help you adjust.

This can be anything from a wireless mouse, to needing a second monitor. Many workplaces will often help set you up with the equipment you might need, so keep in mind the kinds of issues your setup has and how a new addition to your home office tech might help solve it. 

 

Desk & monitor height 

Keeping an eye on your posture when you’re working is something we should all pay attention to. Not only will it help your body in the long run, being comfortable also goes a long way to making the space feel that much more productive.

Your work surface is at the correct height if, when you sit up straight, your forearms are parallel to the ground and your wrist is not bent up or down when you type or mouse. Your monitor should line up so that  when sitting straight ahead, your eyes are at a height just below the top of the screen.

This will help maintain a healthy and comfortable posture, away from dreaded hunched shoulders!

 

Lighting 

This one is nice and simple, but is an easy one to forget. Make sure you’re not working in a space that’s too dark.

Daylight has been known to help with productivity, so keep this in mind when setting up your space, and let the sunshine in! 

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Tips for choosing a school for your child

Top tips for choosing a school for your child

Picking where your children go to school is no easy decision. There are many factors to take into consideration, making the process potentially quite overwhelming.

To help ease some of the pressure, we’ve worked with an independent school in Hertfordshire to bring you some top tips for choosing a school for your child. 

 

Make lists 

It may seem simple, but writing down what you want from a potential school in a list is a great way to start making sense of everything.

Not only will it help you organise your thoughts, but it will make you stop and think about exactly the type of education you would like your child to receive, leading you on the path to finding the best school to match your needs. 

 

Location 

There is of course the very practical question of location to deal with when choosing a school. Once you establish whether you would like your child to be close to home or open to boarding school education, you can begin to think seriously about the location of the school.

It is a top priority to consider when it comes to managing the practicalities of how your child will get to school, and what time out of your schedule that journey may take. 

 

Visit 

Once you’re starting to get to a shortlist of the place you like the look of, go and get a feel for the place by paying a visit. Seeing the environment of each school before you make your final decision can have a big effect on which school you end up leaning towards.

You’ll be able to get a first hand experience of the type of facilities the school has, as well as be able to meet and talk with some of the staff there, giving you a fuller picture on the kind of atmosphere the place has. 

 

Ask questions 

Be it when you’re paying a visit or through email and phone calls, never be afraid to ask any question that you may have.

Those at the school should be more than happy to answer any queries; they know that this is a big decision and they will want to help you put your mind at ease over any burning questions that you may have on the brain.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Benefits of forest school for children

The benefits of forest school for children

Nowadays, children tend to rely on their smartphones, games consoles and other digital devices as source of entertainment, causing them to lose sight of the simple joys derived from playing outside. Many transferrable skills can be developed through outdoor play because it provides them with various learning opportunities.

Of course, not all children have access to a safe outdoor environment to explore freely, which is why it is important for schools to provide this opportunity for them.

This is why Forest School is so great.

 

At Barrow Hills, an independent school in Surrey, learning is not confined to the classroom. They have access to over 15 acres of woodland; a wonderful location for Forest School related activities, such as climbing, hiding, balancing, building dens, lighting fires, investigating creepy crawlies and many other enjoyable pursuits. It is fantastic for physical and sensory development, allowing staff to engage all types of learners.

After all, some children face issues with conventional learning and processing and retaining information. It is an incredibly stimulating environment for the children to develop key skills. 

Outdoor learning is a fantastic way to teach children things that cannot be learned from books alone.

They are able to practise multitasking, teamwork, and problem solving, to name but a few. These are skills that must be performed in order for them to develop. In the outside world, there is so much to see and explore, especially as nature is always changing.

Essentially, it promotes holistic, whole body learning and allows youngsters to develop emotional intelligence, as well as academic talent.

Allowing children to let off some steam and express themselves in this safe, structured environment away from the pressures of a regular learning environment is ideal because when they do eventually return to the classroom, they will do so feeling fresh, happy, and willing to learn.   

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

How be more involved in your child's education

How to be more involved in your child’s education

Getting more involved in your child’s education can help their own attitudes towards education improve.

This can be achieved both inside and outside of the classroom With guidance from a school and sixth form in Somerset, we’ve put together some tips to get you on your way to having a more active role in your child’s education 

 

Nurturing a learning environment 

Creating a learning environment in your home is a great way to keep your child’s mind curious about learning.

Be it reading to them, talking about different topics over dinner, or doing your own studying along with them, there are many ways that you can make your home feel like an open space where questions can be asked and learning can be had. 

 

Meet their teachers 

Don’t just wait for the next parents evening to ask teachers questions about your child’s education. If you have a query, or want to know in more detail how you can continue to encourage learning and studying at home, their teacher will have great insight into how your child likes to learn.

Together you can both work to ensure your child is getting the best education that they can.  

 

Structure & goals 

To help motivate your children to do their homework, put together a structure and rewards system at home.

Be it creating certain blocks of time dedicated to work and play, or an incentive to reach a certain point in their work by a certain time, giving your children structure can help them focus and give them a better chance of keeping up to speed with their work in the classroom. 

 

Managing expectations 

Not every child is going to be a straight-A student, and not every child will be able to learn in the same way as others. Therefore, it is worth managing your expectations when it comes to their learning. Try not to pile on the pressure, as that can make children’s learning suffer.

Make sure they know that they can come to you when they’re facing issues with their studying. Communication is key to understanding your child’s education, as well as revealing to you areas where you can get more involved.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post