Sally (77) has lived at our specialist dementia care home, Claremont Court in Guildford for over five years. Her husband Brian shares their story.
“My wife Sally was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 and by late 2012 I was struggling to cope. Sally’s condition progressed quite quickly whereby she needed help to look after herself.
I’d promised my wife that I’d care for her at home but the stress was starting to take a toll on my health. It was recommended to me that a respite break at Claremont Court might be a good idea. Despite my reluctance, it was the best decision I could have made at that difficult time.
I wanted a local home that was spacious and comfortable, and Claremont Court’s purpose-built accommodation really appealed. I was also impressed by all the activities and outings available to residents. Sally had always been sociable and creative, so she responded well to these new opportunities. The team are so kind and they always have time for me. I see the training they have had and how well Sally is looked after.
Staying in touch is very important for me and I visit every day. Whether for meals, activities or just time in the garden, the team have integrated me into Sally’s daily routine. Even though Sally can no longer speak, I’m sure she knows I’m still there. I wouldn’t want her anywhere else.”
Karen Byres, Home Manager comments: “We know that person-centred dementia care enables our residents to live a meaningful life. Sally is testament to that. It’s also our job to support family members through the many difficult decisions they will make. We consider Brian a part of the Claremont family. We are always here for those that need us.”
John age 85 was living in Scotland with his partner – his wife having died a number of years ago. John was in the early stages of dementia, but was well supported by his partner and by the small village community he was part of. But he was admitted to Inverness Hospital and whilst he was there his partner became very ill and couldn’t cope with him coming home.
His two daughters, Linda and Angela who live in Surrey, looked for a suitable care home for him in Scotland, but could find nothing suitable for his needs. So they approached Claremont Court to see if a place could be found and John moved in March 2015.
When John first arrived he was very confused and lost. The key challenge for the care team at Claremont Court was to help him settle in and gain his confidence. Above all, the team needed to really get to know him well and to be able to “read his signals”. “It’s all about managing his needs and expectations and us as a team adapting to them,” says home manger, Karen Byres. “When a new resident moves in we do spend a great deal of time with them – and this was particularly so in John’s case. He was a long way from his original home and the change was massive for him”.
John now has a ground floor room with his own terrace and his daughters have planted flowers in pots for him – which he loves. He goes outside, either on his terrace, or to get involved in activities in the home’s secure garden, whenever he has the chance.
“Dad is now very settled and happy. A real transformation from how he was when he moved in in March. The home encourages us to spend as much time with him as possible and me and my sister bring our children in to see him often. It’s wonderful to see him smiling and relaxed. The team has really bought him back to himself – such a weight off our minds”. Angela, John’s Daughter
Margaret age 88, who has early stage dementia and was at risk from self-neglect, had been living in a village in Surrey when she was admitted as an emergency to a local home. It became obvious however that she was neither happy nor settled and it clearly wasn’t the right environment for her. Her daughter looked at Claremont Court and a place was found for her at the home.
When Margaret first moved in she took all her meals in her room and was reluctant to come out at all. She would respond when spoken to, but would never initiate a conversation.
In line with the policy for new residents, the care team at Claremont spent a great deal of time with her, getting to know her really well and finding out her likes and dislikes.
“Now Margaret is one of our star residents” says Karen Byres, Claremont’s Manager. “She is sociable and has a wicked sense of humour – which keeps us all entertained and on our toes!” She comes out of her room a great deal and loves chatting to members of the team. She enjoys a glass of wine – I buy her favourite Merlot for her and she has a glass before her supper every night”.
Margaret’s daughter said: “We knew Claremont Court was right for Mum when I was out with her one day and she said – I want to go home. That is a real breakthrough and the team was thrilled when I told them what she had said. She really does feel at home there and it’s such a relief to see her so settled, happy and relaxed and to know she is now in a safe and caring environment”.