Paul is a fantastic example of the high quality care every person with dementia should have access to

Recognising the carers who go above and beyond to make others’ live better

Having only become a carer six months ago, Paul is a fantastic example of the high quality care every person with dementia should have access to – which is why he’s been nominated for the Professional Excellence Award at this year’s Dementia Hero Awards!

Paul started working as a carer last October following in the footsteps of his wife, who also works for Ashridge Home Care. Their home is in Bulgaria but for extended periods of time they both come to the UK to do their jobs as live-in carers.  Due to pandemic travel and socialising restrictions Paul has been away from his friends and family in Bulgaria and has been unable to meet up with his wife whilst in the UK.

Paul spends all his time focused on how he can support Derek (a 95 year old gentlemen with advanced dementia, living in Buckinghamshire), to make sure he feels happy, safe and confident in his own home and local community. Derek can’t remember Paul’s name but he knows he is there to look after him and gets anxious when Paul is not around. So when Paul takes his break he leaves signs all around the house for Derek to read that say ‘Paul has just gone for his break. He will be back in 10 minutes.’ Just one small example of how Paul is dedicated to caring for Derek and making sure he always feels safe, secure and happy.

In the six months that Paul has been caring for Derek he has transformed his quality of life, both physically and mentally. With Paul’s support and encouragement Derek has been given a new lease of life, he is able to walk around his own home, take regular trips to places he used to visit, demolish his favourite chocolate cake in the local outdoor café, watch YouTube videos of vintage car rallies and sing his favourite songs.

Although new to caring Paul’s compassion, understanding and enthusiasm has had a tremendous impact on Derek’s life and overall wellbeing.  Paul repeatedly goes above and beyond when it comes to supporting Derek.

For example, before Paul arrived, Derek used to spend all day in his chair, sleeping, not engaging with anyone and walking a couple of steps, maximum. Paul was determined to get Derek walking again and enticed him with the promise of a trip out.  It worked!  With Paul’s encouragement and help Derek can now be regularly seen out and about in his local town, and thinks nothing of walking around the house with his frame.

Spending time getting the little things right is vital in enabling your loved one to stay in control of their lives.

When Paul found out that Derek used to own a vintage car he set about helping Derek rediscover his love of vintage car rallies.  Paul hooked up his laptop to the TV so that he could play YouTube videos of old rallies and Derek was delighted to be able to recognise many of the places in the videos.

Derek’s son told Paul that his Dad loved swing music so Paul plays him many songs, a number of which Derek knows and is able to remember the lyrics and sing along.

Who better to describe the impact Paul has had on Derek’s life than his son, Rob

“When Paul returned from a Christmas break, Dad had been struggling a little, particularly with mobility.  It was such a relief to speak with Paul later that week and hear that Dad was now walking with his frame but otherwise unaided. He explained that initially he told Dad that he reckoned he could walk the length of the sofa, the next day to the door, then the hallway and finally to the toilet and back!

“It has not been easy for them, dealing with the restrictions of the pandemic. Dad has had 2 eye operations, and new hearing aids, yet through it all Paul ‘s been thoughtful, positive and supportive.

“I have been especially encouraged how Paul has engaged with Dad, rekindled his interests, nourished them, and even introduced Dad to the wonders of YouTube! Nothing seems too small for him to enrich Dad’s life. I noticed that Paul had bought nuts which he put outside the window to encourage the birds and a squirrel to visit. It turns out that the squirrel is a regular, who, every morning makes my dad smile.”

There’s overwhelming evidence that staying at home with one to one care and attention can have a profound effect on health and wellbeing. We support many families across Buckinghamshire through their dementia journey and find ways to help them through what can sometimes be a challenging time.

Nearly three quarters of us want to stay in our own homes as we get older – and we definitely DON’T want to move into residential care. With shocking news stories commonplace, a staggering 97 percent of people do not want to go into a care home if they become ill or less able to cope.” According to the “Better at Home Report” commissioned by the Live in care hub.

It can be upsetting to watch a loved one experience the onset of dementia. We have learnt over the years that when caring for a person with dementia, it’s important to encourage normality and routine, as this can go a long way towards reassuring them and alleviating their anxieties and fears. This is why we made sure that everyone, from our Office and management teams to our home carers are all certified dementia champions.

With an award winning compassionate care company to provide one to one support, our clients with Dementia can live fulfilling independent lives, and remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.