Visiting and keeping in touch with loved ones who have moved into a care home is a vital part of family life.
And now a new resource has been launched to help families overcome some of the barriers that can crop up when a loved-one living with dementia moves into care.
A care home in Renfrewshire has teamed up with Scottish Care and the Care Inspectorate to produce a handy guide to help making a visit to a care home an enjoyable and engaging experience for everyone.
Heather Edwards the Care Inspectorate’s dementia consultant said: “We know that maintaining close relationships with loved ones is really important for the wellbeing of people living in care, particularly those living with dementia.
“But we also know from our experience, and the experience of the care providers we work with, that it can sometimes be difficult for people to adjust to visiting their loved ones in a new setting, particularly if that person’s behaviour or needs are changing.
“This guide contains some practical, simple advice about how to prepare for and enjoy visiting loved ones.
“For example sometimes people living with dementia don’t talk a great deal. It can be important not to worry about this , and understand that it’s ok to sit quietly together.
“Similarly, instead of asking questions like ‘what did you have for lunch’ which can cause distress if someone can’t remember, you could ask staff what was for lunch, or take a look at the menu, so you can then have a chat about lunch.”
The booklet, called Come On In! came together after Jackie Weston, manager of Campbell Snowdon care home in Bridge of Weir discussed the issue with some the families who visit the home.
The project has been in development for 12 months, and was led by residents and their families. Campbell Snowdon care home received funding from the Life Changes Trust for 150,000 copies to be printed. These will be distributed across Scotland by the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Care.
Jackie Weston, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we are now in the position to share this resource with others.
“We started sharing our experiences of what makes a good visit at one of our Abbeyfield ‘Family Forums’. We knew this kernel of an idea had massive potential, and here we are today!
“‘Come On In’has been a labour of love for us all and we are so proud that it will help others support their friends and family with dementia. We would like to thank everybody involved for making it happen.”
Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust’s dementia programme, said: “We are pleased to support this valuable resource. Too often people with dementia living in a care home do not receive visitors because family and friends feel awkward, or don’t know what to expect.
“This booklet breaks down some of those barriers and shows that it is important to have people coming and going in a care home. We believe this small booklet will have huge impact across Scotland.”