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How care is changing in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 22:30 21 January 2017 | UPDATED: 22:30 21 January 2017

Care homes are working to share knowledge with the wider community

Care homes are working to share knowledge with the wider community

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Care homes can be seen as isolated and cut off from the community, but that’s changing. B&M Care dementia specialist Caroline Inch looks at how caring for the elderly is being opened up, to the benefit of all

From quality assurance to the physical caring environment, the care sector is awash with service innovations. But many care providers are looking beyond the immediacy of their homes to engage and support the wider community

As a private, residential and dementia care provider, we are pioneering the concept of community integration of care in Hertfordshire. The ongoing mission is to support the wider community, offering a year-long programme of free seminars, including a Living Well with Dementia workshop that offers specialist advice and networking opportunities to families and those caring for a person living with dementia, as well as a care finance seminar presented by Eldercare Solutions about the complexities of care fees planning.

A further initiative is the Second Wind Dreams’ Virtual Dementia Tour. This is a ground-breaking interactive programme that uses sensory tools to enable users to experience the physical and mental challenges those living with dementia face on a daily basis. The tour has visited care homes to offer the experience freely to GPs, councillors and families and friends of those with dementia, and to train more than 1,100 employees to develop further their person-centred approach to care.

In addition to specialist knowledge, many of these care homes offer a variety of year-round social events, including fun days, garden parties, community coffee mornings and, most notably, an annual car show, which welcomes more than 200 vintage vehicles.

Further to this, support is offered to local Women’s Institutes, social clubs and Neighbourhood Watch groups by offering to host meetings in care homes’ numerous purpose-built lounges, coffee shops and other communal living areas.

All these initiatives are an effective way to support families, carers and those living with dementia beyond care homes.

Dementia is the biggest killer in the UK. It is up to care homes to provide an innovative support system to reduce social isolation and get people to see our homes as somewhere where they feel comfortable going to get the advice they deserve.

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