How to tell if someone is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease?

As people get older they often forget things.  Day to day occurrences like forgetting names, appointments or how to use the microwave are common place as we age. Adults in the developed world are today, living much longer than they were 40 years ago.  As a result, an increase in brain cell death has been found in those over 50.  Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory or reasoning skills.  It can be difficult to differentiate from daily forgetfulness but it can be treated to temporarily improve symptoms if identified early enough.

What are the causes of Dementia?

No one knows specifically what causes any form of dementia but it has been linked to head injuries, strokes, brain tumours or cerebrovascular disease.  Dementia is a syndrome, not specifically a disease but a group of symptoms that affects cognitive tasks in an individual.  It is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s disease can fall under.  It can occur due to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

You are more likely to develop Dementia as you age.  It occurs when brain cells are damaged.  Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be responsible for about 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia.

Causes of dementia can include;

  •        Progressive brain cell death
  •        Neurodegenerative disease
  •        Injury – post traumatic dementia
  •        Infections
  •        HIV
  •        Vascular diseases
  •        Strokes
  •        Depression
  •        Chronic Drug Use (prescribed and non-prescribed)
  •        Thyroid abnormalities, vitamin deficiencies

It is important to note though that these are not the only causes and by no means definitive.  A perfectly healthy adult in later life (even as young as 30’s / 40’s / 50’s) can suddenly develop one of the many forms of Dementia and it is important to understand the symptoms so that you can help make their life as comfortable as possible.  For the purposes of this article however the focus in on Alzheimer’s disease which is the most common form in the United Kingdom.

 

How can I spot the onset of Alzheimer’s in a family member or friend?

It is important to remember that as people age, we will typically forget things.  As a guide, we’ve listed 10 “warning signs” that you may look for, where 6 or 7 of them are common place.  To make it easier we’ve also listed “common age-related changes” below so that you can decide whether it is actually a symptom or just forgetfulness linked to older age.

 

1)      Confusion with Time or Place

A sign of Alzheimer’s is where a person loses track of the passage of time – dates, times of the year.  They may have trouble understanding something if it’s not happening immediately.  Quite often they will forget how they got there or where they are.

What is common for an age-related change: Confusion about the day of the week but remembering it later.

2)      Mood Changes and a dramatic change in Personality

The personality of people with dementia and specifically Alzheimer’s can alter over a short space of time.  They may become easily upset at work, with friends or family and specifically in places outside of their immediate comfort zone.  They can show signs of confusion, depression, act suspicious, fearful or constantly anxious.  Routines can change as a result.

What is common for an age-related change: Becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted or developing very specific ways of doing things.  Routines are not necessarily an indicator of Alzheimer’s, people change routines to suit environment as they grow older but can they be important when comparing with other warning sings.

3)      Withdrawal from social activities or daily commitments such as work

An individual’s tastes changes with age but someone with Alzheimer’s disease may start to remove themselves from work projects, sports, social activities or hobbies.  They may suddenly avoid attending social activities because they’ve noticed changes themselves.  More importantly they may suddenly forget how to do a long-time favourite hobby or have trouble keeping up to date with their favourite sports team.

What is common for an age-related change: General weariness towards social obligations, family occasions or work.  People become more tired as they get older and it is important to realise that they are less likely to feel as engaged as they used to when it comes to regular events or more importantly work.

4)      Memory loss that disrupts daily life

One of the most common signs, especially in the early stage is forgetting recently learned information.  Asking for the same information over and over (increasingly relying on aides – reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to easily remember on their own.  Dates and events are common to this pattern but are more realistic as a symptom if the information is asked for a number of times.

What is common for an age-related change: Forgetting names or appointments is common place at all ages.  It becomes more regular as people get older but typically those not suffering from a dementia related syndrome will remember these at a later date.  This is why it is difficult to spot unless combined with a number of the other “warning signs” listed here.

5)      Familiar tasks at home, work or leisure become more difficult to complete

A sudden change in the ability and frequency to complete common / familiar tasks can be a sign that the person is having difficulty with Alzheimer’s.    They may begin to struggle to manage a routine task at work, have difficulty driving to the home of a family member or suddenly fail to understand the rules of games they’ve played regularly for a number of decades.  Daily and regular tasks are often the first things the individual struggles with and can be an extremely frustrating experience for them and those close to them.

What is common for an age-related change: Occasionally needing prompting to record something on TV or forgetting what the settings are on a washing machine for a particular type of rinse.

6)      Difficulty in planning tasks or solving what were once deemed simple problems

Concentration is affected through age but signs that things aren’t too good include taking much longer to complete tasks that were simple to the individual in the past.  Following a plan or working with numbers can become a headache with the person having trouble to remember steps in a familiar recipe for a meal or keeping track of monthly finances. Each individual is different as they get older but someone who has been an accountant or a chef all their professional life doesn’t typically forget the basics of either vocation over a short period of time.

What is common for an age-related change: Making occasional mathematical errors or forgetting an ingredient in a well-known recipe.  Again, it is best to take in to account all signs rather than individual oddities.

7)      Visual images and spatial relationships causing concern to the individual

Deteriorating Vision can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. Judging distances, determining colours or difficulty reading are all common place as the brain shrinks through the disease.  The person may become frustrated at no longer being able to recognise simple sentences or judge depths as easily as they could in the past and this can manifest in dangerous ways such as problems with driving.

What is common for an age-related change: Vision changes with age normally and can be exaggerated by other ailments such as cataracts.  Checking with an optician can help ease concern.

8 )      Decreased sense of judgement

Alzheimer’s may cause changes to judgement or decision making in the individual.  For example, they may pay less attention to their own personal hygiene, grooming or may use poor judgement when dealing with money.  This can be more noticeable in those that were either extremely conscious of their grooming habits or particularly thrifty with their finances.

What is common for an age-related change: Everyone makes bad decisions from time to time.  People tend to make more as they get older.  Bear that in mind when considering whether this is something that is common place for the individual in question.

9)      Speech problems or difficulty in writing

Alzheimer’s causes people to have difficulty following or joining in to conversations.  They may suddenly stop mid-sentence without knowing how to continue, or they may begin to repeat themselves.  They may remember vividly instances from their youth but struggle explaining an event that happened two days ago.  Likewise, their vocabulary may start to deteriorate making them use the wrong words or calling things by the wrong name (e.g. calling a “watch” a “wrist clock”).

What is common for an age-related change: Everyone forgets words from time to time and this increases as people get older.  The frequency of which this happens, especially if the person were for example an English literature lecturer could dictate whether this is really a symptom of Alzheimer’s or just a sign of old age.

10)  Losing the ability to retrace steps or misplacing items

A person with Alzheimer’s may put things in unusual places.  They may lose items and be unable to retrace their steps to find them.  Sometimes they may accuse others of taking items without consent.  This may occur more frequently as the disease advances.

What is common for an age-related change: With busy lives many people often lose items and struggle to retrace steps to find them.  It is common to misplace something and then only remember where later.  The frequency of this happening is one of the key factors in establishing a link to Alzheimer’s especially if the individual becomes adamant that someone else is regularly “hiding” or “stealing” items.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing 6 or 7 of the listed items above on a regular basis, please seek the advice of a doctor to find the cause.  Early diagnosis allows yourself and the individual to seek treatment and plan effectively for their future.

TutorCare offer a range of training courses regarding awareness for the different kinds of dementia.  These courses are CQC recommended and help professionals and family members recognise the early symptoms and assist in their longer-term care.

Courses can be arranged on site for Dementia Awarenesssupporting people with Dementia and Dementia champions with courses combined where deemed appropriate.

For a full range of our Mental Health Care courses please visit – http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/care-training-courses/mental-health-care

 

Sources: Medicalnewstoday.com, healthline.com, alzheimersresearchuk.org, alzheimers.org.uk

You can make a donation to the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society by visiting here –  https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/donate

The Benefits Of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training

Nonviolence crisis intervention is an important aspect of every business. Most businesses rely on the day to day interaction between humans from all walks of life. While it is never good to start a conflict, preparing your team to learn how to stop crisis through peaceful means will do your business a lot of good.

 

At TutorCare we specialise in training and certifying individuals for a number of care related courses.  One of these is in the area of nonviolent means of crisis intervention. The core emphasis is not using physical restraint to stop crisis except as a last resort. They focus on equipping people with verbal techniques of de-escalation to minimize the need for physical crisis intervention.

A nonviolent crisis intervention training course is designed to meet the needs of every individual irrespective of their cognitive range, verbal ability, behavioural disorder or any other special need. Participants learn the importance of observing and understanding all the possible factors that make behavior challenging and the most efficient way to intervene according to each situation. Although the emphasis is on verbal methods of de-escalation, some nonviolent methods of physical restraint are also taught during training. This helps reduce the number of disruptive incidents within the organisation.

 

Although advised for care providers, an organisation doesn’t need to pay for each staff to participate in this training; rather a single employee or the business owner can receive the training and train others within the organisation. It is a cost effective and comprehensive training option.

 

Benefits of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training to an Organization Through the effort of a certified member of staff with proven strategies for safety, violent behaviour can be reduced or eliminated completely.

    • It helps reduce incidents of injury in the workplace
    • It helps your business meet accreditation standards
    • It minimizes liability
    • It improves staff retention
    • It helps your business comply with legislative mandates
    • Demonstrates that your organisation is committed and willing to contribute to a safer community
    • It helps you create and maintain a caring, respectful, and safe environment for those being served and your staff

 

Benefits of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training to Staff

This training reduces the risks of staff injury around the workplace. It drastically reduces the occurrence of injury associated with physical intervention

  •  It will improve the level of mature communication among staff because it establishes a common language
  •   It will boost the level of staff confidence to step up and verbally intervene
  •   It will alleviate the degree of stress and anxiety that can arise as a result of uncertainty and confusion
  • It will make every member of staff feel safe at work again
  • Benefits of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training to Those You Serve
  •  It allows them to live, learn and thrive in an environment that is safe and respectful
  • They can comfortably interact with some positive role models who are equipped to manage even the most difficult situation
  • They will become active participants in the process of debriefing and learn coping skills
  • They will feel supported by empathic, compassionate and respectful staff
  •   They will be able to receive guidance about positive behavioural choices

When you opt for a training program in the UK, you’ll be able to choose from different packages available. At the end of the training, you will have learned how to organise your mental state about how people escalate their behaviour, how you should respond during a crisis, preventive practicing, and techniques of non-affiliated holding skills. You will also learn how you can build your confidence to teach others about what you’ve learned. In the end, you would be given a certificate.

The instructor certification allows you to pride yourself as a qualified and certified instructor. You would able to conduct in-house training at will. This is a good way to downwash the program throughout your organisation.

When you have received your certificate as an instructor, you’ll have access to exceptional support for training implementation. This would be an ongoing process and not just a one-time event. You would automatically be a made a member of the CPI Instructor Association. This is a global network of intervention and crisis prevention specialists. Membership guarantees that you and your organisation enjoy so many benefits.

 

Some of the Benefits of Instructor Certification Include:

Maximization of initial training skills and investment with the aid of free consultation. You’ll be able to solve problems with CPI training directors without charge regarding crisis intervention and training issues.

You’ll be able to attend free webinars to gain more knowledge and skill.

As a certified training instructor, you’ll be granted access to many online training resources. These resources are strictly restricted to instructors. You’ll be able to learn physical intervention skills and have access to legislative updates through newsletters. You will also have access to print journals and supportive stance to aid your cause. Following our course these resources will help you work towards becoming an expert in Assaultive Behaviour (JSM), and you will enjoy member pricing discounts for paid resources. All certified instructors who demonstrate an extraordinary level of expertise can also earn a place in the Hall of Merit.

There are so many benefits attached to training and getting certified as an instructor. The organisation, the prospective instructor, those who are served and your business as a whole will benefit from the nonviolent crisis intervention program.

 

Our training courses include – http://www.tutorcare.co.uk/care-training-courses/train-the-trainer/physical-intervention-instructor-course

HSE figures reveal workplace fatalities have risen

The latest figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have suggested that there has been a worrying rise in the number of fatal work-related incidents in the last year, and that employers could be doing more to protect their workers.

The HSE statistics show that 171 workers were killed between April 2010 and March 2011, which is a significant increase to the 147 workplace-related deaths recorded in 2009-2010.

Employers have a statutory duty to ensure the safety of their employees whilst in the workplace, but these figures suggest that not enough practical steps are being taken to prevent needless accidents, injuries and casualties.

The chair of the Health and Safety Executive, Judith Hackitt, urged employers to be more rigorous in carrying out risk assessments, sending staff on health and safety training courses, and improving safety standards. She said:

“The increase in the number of deaths in the last year is disappointing, after an all-time low last year.

“It’s a stark reminder of the need to ensure that health and safety remains focused on the real risks, which exist in workplaces not on trivia and pointless paperwork.”

Wolverhampton bar fined £9,000 over hygiene standards

The owners of a bar in the centre of Wolverhampton have been ordered to pay a substantial fine after a catalogue of food hygiene problems were uncovered at the premises.

City centre bar The Varsity, located on Stafford Street, was visited by environmental health officers from Wolverhampton City Council in November 2010. After a thorough inspection, officers reported that the bar had appalling standards of food hygiene and cleanliness.

The owners of the bar, the Buckinghamshire-based Barracuda Bars Co Ltd, were prosecuted by the council over the state of the premises. Donna Richards, prosecuting in Wolverhampton Magistrates Court, said that the inspection report stated that there was a “significant accumulation of grease and food debris on the floor” in the bar, along with a host of other problems.

After admitting that they failed to comply with food hygiene regulations, the bar’s owners were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £1,045.

This case demonstrates the importance of food hygiene training for all members of staff in bars, restaurants and hotels. On a food safety training course, employees will learn about the standards that food-serving premises are expected to meet, and how they can play a part in making this happen.

Hartlepool care home receives gold star award

An end-of-life care home in the North East town of Hartlepool has been honoured with a prestigious national award for providing exception care to its residents.

The Charlotte Grange Residential Care Home, which is located on Flaxton Street in Hartlepool, was given the Gold Standard Framework Award after demonstrating very high standards of care. The home, which has 46 residents, completed a two-year portfolio in which it proved that it met all of the 20 standards required to attain the award.

The manager of the home, Margaret Spence, expressed her delight at the home winning the award in the Peterlee Mail newspaper. She credited her staff and the high level of care training they had received with the success, saying:

“We are delighted to have been given this prestigious award.

It shows that we implement the necessary gold level standards, something which provides great satisfaction to residents and their family members.

“Our success is ultimately down to the staff at Charlotte Grange. We couldn’t have achieved this without all their hard work.”

The Gold Standard Framework Award aims to set the benchmark for standards of care in nursing homes throughout the UK.

Somerset farmers urged to undergo first aid training

Following the release of statistics which suggest that the agriculture is one of the most dangerous to work in, farmers in Somerset have been urged to undergo first aid training.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently published data which showed that there were 34 fatal injuries within the agriculture sector in 2010-11. This works out at an average of 8 fatalities per 100,000 workers last year, which is a considerable amount compared to the average 9.6 deaths recorded over the last five years.

Other industries in which fatality rates were high last year included construction (50 fatal injuries), manufacturing (27) and services (47).

According to an article in the Bridgwater Mercury, St John’s Ambulance is now urging farmers and anyone else working within the agriculture industry to consider taking a first aid training course. Even a basic training course can teach agricultural workers how to carry out CPR, deal with injuries, wounds and bleeding, and how to contact the emergency services.

In short, the skills learnt on first aid training courses could help to save someone’s life, as well as making the sector a much safer one to work in.

Looking at health and safety from a supervisory perspective

All businesses and organisations have a legal responsibility to ensure their employees safety whilst at work. This means taking all required measures to reduce or remove health and safety risks.

Whilst a company may have a health and safety policy, it will always need someone to implement it. Managers and supervisors therefore have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure all employees work in a safe, risk-free environment.

The best way to contribute to and even improve your companyâ’s health and safety culture as a supervisor, as well as to meet your legal responsibilities, is to undergo health and safety training.

By attaining a more advanced qualification such as a CIEH Level 3 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace, you will be able to handle all responsibilities in relation to health and safety no matter the size of the company or its main activity.

This Level 3, QCA-accredited, health and safety course covers the following topics over three days:

– The basic concept and principles of workplace health and safety
– Ill health and accidents in the workplace
– Organisation and management of health and safety
– How to supervise health and safety

Housing providers admit fire safety failures

A new survey has revealed that three quarters of the people who work for housing providers do not believe proper fire risk assessments have been carried out.

The survey, undertaken by the fire service and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), involved asking nearly 400 employees of different housing providers if they were confident their organisations had properly assessed all fire risks at the high-rise tower blocks they managed.

The results of the survey, which was launched following the deaths of six people in a fire at Southwark Council tower block Lakanal House in July 2009, revealed that 75 per cent of employees were not confident that the housing provider they worked for had carried out a suitable fire risk assessment.

Concerns were also raised about the level of fire safety training those employed to carry out the risk assessment had undergone, as 49 per cent of survey respondents said they didnâ’t think their block’s risk assessor was wholly competent.

All of this could mean that large numbers of tower blocks in the UK are potential fire hazards. Andy Cloke, from the Chief Fire Officers Association, said:

“We are still finding buildings with significant problems, It wasn’t until Lakanal that we got a bit of a jolt in the arm and we started to uncover the sort of problems we are now aware of.”

Report reveals shortage of well-trained home carers

A new report published by the think tank IPPR has concluded that due to a shortage of well-trained care staff, an increasing number of elderly people are receiving poor quality care at home.

IPPR researchers found a number of factors that appeared to be contributing to the UK’s failing home care system, including high staff turnover rates, an over-reliance on migrant workers and low wages. This situation appears to be worse in London, where as many as 75 per cent of home care workers are from overseas.

Care staff are under too much pressure to be able to spend more time with the person and properly assess their needs, and they have often not been given the proper care training. The report stated:

Previous research has shown that the majority of elderly people would like to remain in their homes for longer rather than moving into nursing home, but to do so requires the right level of home care.

IPPR Research Fellow Jonathan Clifton said:

“We need super carers high calibre people, paid at decent levels, with good career prospects, who are valued by society and equipped to provide personalised services for elderly people.”

Entry to social care: the Common Induction Standards

If you are new to the health and social care sector, there are a number of areas you must be trained in before you can work unsupervised. These are known as the Common Induction Standards, and they are essential for anyone starting a career in social care.

The Common Induction Standards are designed to reflect current policy and practice within the sector, and give new staff a comprehensive and standardised induction into their new roles. They feed in perfectly to more advanced training courses such as the QCF NVQ Diploma in Health and Social Care (Level 2), offering a more consistent approach to induction and training across the whole of the sector.

So, what are the Common Induction Standards?

There are eight standards, each representing an area of knowledge that you must be well-versed in before you can really get your career started.

1 Role of the health and social care worker
2 Personal development
3 Communicate effectively
4 Equality and Inclusion
5 Principles for implementing duty of care
6 Principles of safeguarding in health and social care
7 Person-centred support
8 Health and safety in an adult social care setting

If you study these eight areas in depth, you will have taken the first important step to delivering high-quality care and support.