We know it is expensive to find Dementia care and support in the home and any option such a live-in carer is not only expensive but the person with Dementia may not be at the point of wanting someone with them 24/7.
Homeshare is a low cost option which allows the person to continue to live in their own home. We offer our Homeshare service across the UK and think very carefully about who we match as a Sharer to live in the home of someone who has Dementia. It isn’t necessarily about them having specific Dementia experience – after all, everyone’s experience of Dementia is different and every Dementia journey is an individual journey. It’s more about matching Sharers with the right manner, empathy and patience. Shared interests can really help too. Someone with even quite advanced Dementia may often have very strong past memories and retain skills.
We also understand that living with someone with dementia can have its challenges for a Sharer especially as the disease progresses, and that is why it is essential to ensure the support offered is knowledgable and experienced. The team at Share and Care Homeshare have a wealth of experience supporting people living with dementia.
Some of us have had the journey of our own parents’ dementia. Flora, the newest addition to the Share and Care team, used to be a Sharer, living with a lady who had dementia, and has also supported many others with Dementia as a visitor. Caroline Cooke, our founding director, is also a Dementia Friends Ambassador and has been trained by the Alzheimer’s’ Society to deliver information sessions, which she does regularly both for our own clients’ Sharers and families, as well as to other community groups including the Red Cross and Age UK.
To give an idea of how we can support our Sharers….
Arthur* has been living as a Sharer with one of our Householders, Maureen*, a retired GP, for four months. Maureen is living with dementia. Recently Arthur had an unexpected hospital stay, and when he returned home, Maureen’s attitude to Arthur changed and became negative. He turned to us for advice.
Because of her dementia, Maureen, was unable to process sympathy towards Arthur about his hospital stay. Instead, her emotional response was that she was upset and hurt that he had ‘abandoned’ her, and hadn’t been giving her support and attention. She was therefore upset and cross with him. People living with dementia may not always remember – or be able to process – the events themselves, but the emotions of the events will stay with them.
We therefore suggested that Arthur could try to win her over by reinforcing the previous positive emotions she had for him. He spent a weekend of doing special things with her, and surprising her with unexpected treats, to re-build her positive feelings for him. By the end of the weekend Maureen had invited Arthur to join her for tea and cakes, and a walk around the garden. Positive progress indeed.
* Names have been changed
Caroline Cooke regularly runs Dementia Friends Information Sessions. The sessions run over Zoom and last 45 minutes. Everyone is welcome. Please click here to contact us to book your place on the next session.
Homeshare really can help give Dementia care and support in the home, although a Sharer can not give personal care, this can be arranged seperatly through a care agency.
Current Sharer Mirella, talks about what it is like to homeshare with someone who is living with Dementia.
What can we do to support a loved one of yours?
- Our Founder Caroline Cooke trained as a Dementia Friends Champion to help people understand what it is like to live with Dementia.“My training, combined with my personal experience, enables me to offer empathetic suggestions, support, reassurance and understanding to those who are supporting someone living with Dementia.”
- Caroline runs information sessions for family members and Sharers which cover the key messages that we want everyone to know about Dementia.
- We offer our Homeshare service across the UK and although in rural areas it is more difficult to find Sharers we will always try.
- We can look for two Sharers to share the responsibility of supporting someone with Dementia at no extra charge – the monthly fee remains £150 per month for the Householder.
- We also understand how important it is to be a listening ear for our Sharers – and often for the families of the Householder too. Sometimes it’s just about being sympathetic and understanding and giving practical suggestions – such as clear signage, a quieter environment, or even going for a walk to give the supporter their own breathing space.
- We offer a free weekly “Zoom” Seated Exercise Class to all clients, we have seen how much some of our clients with Dementia have enjoyed this. More information and to book
- Share and Care Homeshare is a friend of the Alzheimer’s Society and encourages all Sharers to become Dementia Friends too. Sign up here to be a Dementia Friend
What a Sharer can’t be responsible for:
- Personal care – Homeshare can sit alongside a care package from an external care agency if additional support is required.
- Being woken up at night – except in the case of a rare emergency
- 24/7 responsibility
Read the story of how having a Sharer has improved the life of one of our clients who is living with Dementia.
“We are absolutely delighted to have Mich living with Mum, and so grateful to Share and Care for putting us together. I can’t believe my luck. It just goes to show that sometimes you just have to be brave and find a non-traditional solution.”
October 2021 – Dementia together magazine- How homesharing can give people with dementia support and friendship
by Gareth Bracken.
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