Creative New Approaches Key to Maintaining Residential Care Standards


The issue of long term care is a major one in the UK at the moment. Growing life expectancy means that the prospect of needing some kind of professional support in later life is a very real one for many of us.

Because my area of expertise lies in legal issues affecting older people, such as Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and residential care, I make it my business to keep up to date with the latest industry developments. So, I attended the Care & Dementia Show at Birmingham’s NEC on 11 and 12 October. The size of the exhibition, which filled this vast venue, highlights the scale of the issue at hand.

Many of the older clients I deal with are, quite frankly, terrified by the prospect of going into a care home, both because of the loss of independence this can signify, and as a result of the not infrequent scare stories they hear, about varying standards.

So it was heartening to hear the show’s speakers tackling such issues head on, with discussions about what ‘quality’ should mean when it comes to later life provision.

I attended a number of lectures in which the owners of the most outstanding facilities described their commitment to demonstrating best practice. The key to this, they said, as with any business, is choosing committed staff and investing in their development so that they are able and motivated to deliver the very best care.

At James Legal, we take our role in helping people deal with ageing related matters very seriously indeed. We have recently become a Dementia Friend, so that we can stay up to speed with the latest advice on supporting people who are living with one of the many illnesses which fall under the banner ‘dementia’. I also recently became a fully accredited member of the Solicitors for the Elderly organisation, which provides training for professionals like me in the softer skills we need to communicate effectively with older, more vulnerable clients.

Professor Graham Stokes, Global Director of Dementia Care at BUPA, was among last week’s speakers. He described what he thinks the future holds for looking after people with dementia-related illnesses in care homes. Firstly, unfortunately, he doesn’t believe there will be a cure any time soon, despite an increasing amount of research.

This means that care homes are likely to find themselves looking after an increasing number of people with dementia. In his opinion, this means that new approaches to enhance those residents’ quality of life are going to be vital. I think that a good example of such a new approach is the inspiring, themed sensory experiences provided by forward-thinking companies like Little Islands, an exhibitor at the show, aimed at giving dementia sufferers a little of themselves back and encourage them to communicate again.

If you, or a member of your family, are concerned about an issue related to elderly care, don’t hesitate to give me a call on 01482 974477 or 07702 893497.

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