How one local care home is dealing with rising rates of dementia
Recent figures indicate that the number of people living with dementia in Herefordshire is expected to rise by 42% over the next decade. As a result, understanding how to care for people with dementia is more important than ever.
In Hereford, we’re lucky enough to have groups of people who dedicate their working lives to improving the lives of elderly people.
A recently opened care home, Brockington House, is one of those groups dedicated to delivering the highest level of dementia care to its ladies and gentlemen. A home very proud of its commitment to being dementia-friendly, it is the staff at Brockington House that make the biggest difference to the people that live there, explains Home Director, Shann Thomas:
“Everyone who works in Brockington House has a good understanding of dementia care and how it can affect people differently. From the care staff to the maintenance teams, everyone knows the individuals and how best to support them.”
Simon Westbury, maintenance assistant at Brockington House, was personally recognised for going above and beyond at the recent ‘Dormy Awards’ ceremony, hosted by owner of Brockington House, Dormy Care Communities. Awarded Best Newcomer at the event, the award was for someone who is new to care and has fully embraced the role.
As a maintenance assistant, Simon is responsible for some of the less obvious duties that are nevertheless vital to the residents’ quality of life, including those living with dementia. This includes a heavy focus on safety within the home as well as tasks like taking residents to GP and hospital appointments and offering practical assistance. You will also find him playing board games with the ladies and gentlemen in the home and getting involved with their dancing lessons!
Delighted with his award, Simon said:
“For fellow colleagues as well as management to recognise my efforts makes me feel very proud and appreciated!”
Previously semi-retired, this is Simon’s first role in the care industry. After moving to the area in 2018 with his wife, who also works for Dormy Care, Simon was asked to take on the maintenance role due to his 30 years’ experience in compliance.
“I didn’t realise there were so many safety checks and procedures in place in care communities, but I think it’s great,” said Simon.
“It keeps our ladies and gentlemen safe, which is all that matters. You often read stories about poor care homes in the media that worry you but as soon as I started at Dormy, I realised how dedicated the carers are, how professional the nurses are, how talented the chefs are and just how much the housekeeping and maintenance teams take pride in their work. It’s more than just a job for the people here.”
Talking about their dedication to dementia care, Simon said:
“It can be tough to see and upsetting at times, but we do all we can to support those living with dementia. All the staff have had training. We have facilities and activities in place like the Tovertafel ‘Magic Table’, an interactive table which projects a series of stimulating light games you can move with your hands, which is amazing for people with dementia. It brings people to life and engages them in ways we don’t often see in those with more advanced dementia.”
For anyone considering a career in care, Simon advises that they read up on subjects like dementia to better understand how it affects those who have it and their families.
“You need to know that dementia affects people differently. Everyone has their own different needs that you must learn to understand, even those without dementia. Everyone is their own person and if you work in a care home, you must be willing to adapt to each individual.”
When the time comes to look for extra support for a family member, Simon says the best research you can do is to ask about what safety practices are in place, find out how long staff have been working there and – most importantly – read reviews.
“Brockington House has a 10 out of 10 rating by the TripAdvisor of care homes, which we’re so proud of. If you’re considering a home, check their rating on carehome.co.uk to make an informed decision.”
For Simon, the most rewarding aspect of his role is knowing the difference he makes.
“I try to make a difference by keeping the home looking beautiful and making sure I’ve done all the checks to keep our residents safe. The best advice I was given is to keep thinking ahead for anything that could cause harm, so my job is about prevention. Every day that passes without an incident means I’ve done my job.”
As his award for Best Newcomer demonstrates, Simon Westbury takes his role in the care industry seriously. Whilst dementia rates continue to rise, it is people like Simon who provide reassurance to those in Hereford who will eventually grow old and need additional support.
Pictured above: Simon (centre) after winning his award, with CEO of Dormy Care Communities, Helen Davies-Parsons (right) and Mike Parsons (left).