Home is where the memories are

Houses are built of bricks and mortar, but homes are built of memories, and the small moments of wonder in the everyday. As we grow older more of our pleasure is seeped into the memories of our past, of our homes and our families. The significance of our morning coffee in a mug painted with puffins, is personal to us. The mere act of holding the mug enough to invoke the smell of the sea, and the laughter of our loved ones.

Old age can be cruel, it can rob us of our independence, our energy, our abilities, but it doesn’t have to rob us of our homes. With Ashwell Home Care Services, we can help your loved one to stay at home for as long as possible. Our flexible care can grow with changing demand, so from maybe an initial weekly help with the shopping, right through to end of life care in a familiar environment, we can be with you every step of the way.

You may be concerned that the only solution to your situation is to put your loved one into a care home, but in fact the statistics paint a different picture: “Approximately 418,000 people live in care homes (Laing and Buisson survey 2016). This is 4% of the total population aged 65 years and over, rising to 15% of those aged 85 or more.” This shows quite how many people are remaining in their own homes.

And it is proven that remaining at home rather than going into a care home, can be emotionally and mentally beneficial for the elderly. They can find it difficult to move into a new environment and can be confused by losing their everyday points of reference. Using our Care Companions allows people to remain in their familiar surroundings, with support and compassion. At home they can continue to make choices about their meals, their bedtimes, even what they want to watch on the television. They can sit in their own armchair with their cat on their lap, rather than be subjected to a strict schedule of mealtimes and bedtimes.

We know that these conversations can be difficult, but old age is inevitable. We are here to help you enjoy the best of times with your loved ones, and help them to stay in their own homes, with their memories. Call us today at Ashwell Home Care Services on 01684 778750

Worcester Garden Centre Helps Home Carers Bloom During COVID Crisis

Worcestershire care company Ashwell Home Care Services have been giving a ‘blooming’ helping hand looking after their clients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic thanks to a local garden centre.

The home care agency was founded in 2019 by husband and wife team Philip and Deborah Ashwell and provides state of the art, individually tailored care to people in their own homes within Worcestershire.

They wanted to ensure that all of the people that they provide care for had some treats after Easter to keep their spirits up. They enlisted family members to help them put together special care packages, brightly decorated boxes containing items such as: sanitising gel, tissues, tea and coffee, biscuits, chocolate and other goodies.

St. Peter’s Garden Centre at Norton also kindly donated plants to the home care service so that they could bring a bit of colour to the lives of people that they look after.

Managing Director Philip Ashwell said: “Debbie and I, along with our fabulous care team wanted to do something to brighten up people’s day when we visited them at home. We thought a box of treats would be welcome, so Debbie enlisted her mother to help decorate boxes while she was in lockdown, and our team pulled together to buy treats for each box. We got in touch with St. Peter’s Garden Centre and hoped they might be able to support us somehow. We were overwhelmed when Deputy Manager Neil Domoney called us to say they would love to help, donating stunning home orchid plants for us to give to the people we care for.”

Care Quality Director Debbie Ashwell added: “These are really difficult times and it’s lovely to see so many people pulling together to help one another. Family is very important to us and we want the people that we care for to feel a part of our extended family. Having support from local businesses at this time has certainly lifted our spirits and we hope that people are doing something to support their local community to. We will get thought this tough time working together and we cannot thank Neil and his team at St. Peter’s Garden Centre enough for their kindness.”

During the coronavirus pandemic Ashwell Home Care Services have continued to provide much needed care for people across the county. Their professional team visit people at home to provide much-needed care services and also to carry out essential shopping/errands for them, allowing family members to observe lockdown guidelines set out by the Government.

The Care Quality Commission registered agency, based in Malvern is family run and provides care to individuals in their own homes based on their needs and wishes. For more information visit www.ashwellhomecareservices.co.uk.

Margaret Lowe hands gift boxes to Debbie Ashwell
Several Ashwell Home Care Services Care Packages out for delivery

Coronavirus and it’s impact on our care provision

The spread of the COVID-19 continues to dominate the news. As you would expect we continue to monitor developments very closely

Coronavirus, or to give its official name COVID-19, is a new strand of flu virus which has previously never been seen in humans. It is believed to have originated from a flu virus which affects bats before making the transfer to humans at a flea market in Wuhan, China. Since then the virus has spread throughout the globe, affecting many countries including the UK.

At Ashwell Home Care Services we are doing everything possible to keep business as usual. We want to reassure you that our major focus is the health and welfare of both our care companions and our clients. We are ensuring that our Care companions and clients are being updated with the latest information.

We therefore want to share with you some of the actions we are taking

  1. All staff members have gone through infection control training
  2. All staff members have gone through Food Hygiene training

It is currently understood that people most at risk from the virus are the elderly and those with serious health conditions. As a home care agency who look after many people in the at-risk groups, the way in which we provide care and companionship has also needed to change so that we can best protect the people we care for. This is the advice which we have given to our Care Companions.

If we are also providing care for your loved one as a temporary measure, or to perhaps offer respite care to yourself or the rest of your family, then you may also want to follow as many of these steps as possible to minimise the spread of infection and even if not it is important that the information gets out to as many people as possible so we can best protect the most vulnerable in society.

Tips to minimise spreading infection:

  • Wash your hands often – with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available – this is especially important if you use public transport. You should wash your hands:
    • Before leaving home
    • On arrival at work
    • After using the toilet
    • After breaks and sporting activities
    • Before food preparation
    • Before eating any food, including snacks
    • Before leaving work
    • On arrival at home
  • Use disposable gloves where possible.
  • Cover up any sneezes or cough with a tissue or your sleeve, then throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect any frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door knobs, tables and desks, tv remotes, cutlery, cups, plates etc.
  • If you are worried about any symptoms please call NHS 111 or 111 online.

This table also summarises what people should do dependent on their age group:

Group / ActionWash hands more oftenHousehold isolation for 14 days*Self – isolation for 14 days**Social mixing in the community***Having friends and family to the houseUse remote access to NHS and essential services ****Vary daily commute and use less public transportHome working
0-69YesYesYesAdvised againstAdvised againstAdvisedAdvisedAdvised
70+YesYesYesStrongly advised againstStrongly advised againstStrongly advisedStrongly advisedStrongly advised
Any age Member of vulnerable group with an underlying health condition 1YesYesYesStrongly advised againstStrongly advised againstStrongly advisedStrongly advisedStrongly advised
Pregnant womenYesYesYesStrongly advised againstStrongly advised againstStrongly advisedStrongly advisedStrongly advised
Those with serious underlying health conditionsAs above, but further bespoke guidance will be provided by the NHS next week

 

*          If one member of your family or household has a new continuous cough or high temperature.
**        If you live alone and you have a new continuous cough or high temperature.
***      For example cinema, theatre, pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs.
****    For example via telephone or internet.
1          Such as anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year.

Self-Isolating

People returning from certain areas of the world are being told to self-isolate depending on where they visited and their symptoms, as well as people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. However, this isn’t just because they pose a risk to others but they are self-monitoring in order to identify early symptoms and enable prompt medical action.

If they are self-isolating then it should be ascertained whether the person is symptomatic (Showing symptoms of infection) or asymptomatic (people who may have the infection but aren’t showing any symptoms – perhaps in the early stages of the condition though it hasn’t been conclusively proven if asymptomatic people can transfer the disease at the time of writing (Wednesday 17th March 2020). If they are self-isolating but a visit is deemed necessary then we will conduct a risk assessment to decide the best cause of action although this may involve calling NHS 111 to arrange a clinical assessment before proceeding.

If the person is symptomatic

  • Avoid any further physical contact if possible – the person should remain in a room with the door closed and any belongings or waste they come into contact with should remain in the room also.
  • Advise anyone with you not to enter the room. If a travel or clinical history needs to be obtained or completed then do this by telephoning the patient in the room.
  • Ask the patient to call 111 from their room.
  • Your care companion will inform us so that a full risk assessment can be undertaken with an infection control specialist to decide on the next steps.

If the patient requires urgent medical attention

  • Your Care Companion will inform the ambulance call handler of potential links to COVID-19.If you are caring for someone who requires urgent medical attention then you should also do the same.
  • Once the patient is transferred to hospital, the room may be closed and quarantined for visitors to prevent further spread of the infection.

If you would like to discuss with us you or your loved one’s care needs than feel free to contact us online or by calling 01684 778 750.

Dementia Matters – It’s important to talk

Ashwell Home Care Services will be presenting a talk on dementia care and why it is important to talk about the condition at Christ Church Hall Coffee Shop on Friday 7th February at 10:30am.

The talk is free for all to attend.

"Dementia Matters - it's important to talk" - Talk by Deb Ashwell of Ashwell Care, Friday 7th February 2020 10:30am at Christ Church Hall Coffee Shop.

5 fundamentals to caring for someone with Dementia

Dementia can be a very upsetting condition and if it affects a loved one, in the early stages, it can be difficult to comprehend how you will be able to help your loved ones through this time. Here are five fundamentals to consider when you are caring for someone with dementia.

1) Dementia has more symptoms than just memory loss

A very common misconception is that the only symptom of dementia is memory loss and though this is extremely common, there are actually many variations of the condition we call dementia and each have very different symptoms at the beginning. For example, frontotemporal dementia and Pick’s disease is more likely to affect the parts of the brain that control behaviour, personality and emotions so people may become more impulsive, act with more apathy or indifferent, or their behaviour may change completely.

However, towards the later stages of the condition many forms of dementia start to affect patients in the same way, with many people struggling to do many daily tasks independently such as dressing and going to the toilet, and may also struggle to communicate or recognise loved ones.

2) Plan for the future

The only constant that can be guaranteed when caring for someone with dementia is that their needs will change. Remember most types of dementia are irreversible and progressive, meaning over time patients will have worse symptoms and will require more care for their dementia. It is therefore important to consider the future and prepare for a time when professional care may be required, either at home with a home care agency or in a residential care setting. It is also important that a dementia care plan is drawn up and continually reassessed so any changes in your loved ones’ needs can be considered.

3) Actively empathize

One of the main things to do is remain compassionate and empathetic to your loved ones as people with dementia are prone to becoming confused over their whereabouts, their identity and even when they are living. Try to imagine how you would feel and want to be treated if you suddenly found yourself disorientated in an unfamiliar place which is sadly what many dementia patients have to experience every day.

4) Think positively

When you are caring for someone with dementia it can be very easy to become bogged down with feelings of negativity and like your best isn’t good enough, especially with dementia being a degenerative condition but always remember that you are helping them enormously even if you believe what you are doing is relatively minor. Also many experienced dementia carers will say that the person they care for can have good and bad days and it is a great idea to try to remember the good days or moments when you are caring for someone – perhaps a journal or diary may also help you and the person with dementia to remember these times.

5) Accept Support

Sometimes it can be very hard to accept help as we can often feel like we are failing our loved ones in their time of need by admitting we are unable to cope. However, there is no need to feel scared or like you are being judged when asking for help. Many people turn to their own family in the first instance and this can be a great way to help share the burden and the practicalities of caring for your loved one. Many people also find support groups to be very helpful as they can talk to people who are in a similar situation to themselves as well as learning about local dementia resources that can be used.

Many people also would like to keep their loved ones in their home for as long as possible so may look to home care agencies who can help provide dementia care at home. Ashwell Home Care Services is one of these agencies and we can help you to face the challenges that dementia can present in the future and help you and your loved ones to live positively with the condition in the present.

We’re helping to host Perry Manor Care Home’s Senior Showcase

Ashwell Home Care Services are proud to have been asked to help host this event at Perry Manor Care Home in Worcester. The event is open to all and will be a great way to ask all the questions you have about Care, both in your own home and in a residential setting. The police and fire brigade will also be there to assist with any home safety questions you may have. We hope to see you there.

Click here to find out more or to book your place please call 01905 886504 or email james.wright@careuk.com.

Perry Manor Care Home Worcester Senior Showcase Poster

New business aims to transform home care in Worcestershire

A brand new home care provider in Worcestershire is aiming to transform the way that care is delivered locally and to set a benchmark for the future of home care in the county.

Ashwell Home Care Services was founded by husband and wife team Philip and Deborah Ashwell, to provide state of the art, individually tailored care to people in their own homes within Worcestershire.

The agency, based in Malvern and registered with the Care Quality Commission in September, provide bespoke care to individuals in their own homes, based on their needs and wishes. Using high-tech software the agency can ensure personal care and support is delivered in the best way, coupled with a personal and inclusive approach by their Ashwell Home Care Companions.

Managing Director Philip Ashwell said it was ‘personal experience’ that led them to start up their own business: “As a family, we have had loved ones receiving care which, at best could be described as mediocre. Their providers did not recognise the importance that how they received their care could affect their outlook & quality of life. It spurred us on to create a care company that really focuses on that crucial word: care. My wife and I have over 60 years’ experience between us in this and the customer services sector and we want to make a real difference. All care should be delivered in a non-judgmental way regardless of people’s background, race, colour, ethnicity or sexuality.”

The Malvern based care agency also uses state of the art technology to ensure that visits to those they care for are monitored and that they can pinpoint at any time where their Care Companions are. The technology also allows Ashwell Home Care Companions to see at a glance what their clients’ needs are every time they visit so that tasks are completed without the possibility of anything being missed.

Deborah Ashwell, Ashwell Home Care Services Manager added: “Everyone that we have the privilege to look after will be given their own Care Companion. This is more than just someone who calls into your home to prepare meals or remind you to take medication – we want them to be someone they can trust, someone who they know has their wellbeing at heart. Our staff are all handpicked because they have demonstrated to us that their values and beliefs are the same as those of our company and that we are proud for them to deliver our company vision. We want to change people’s views about the standard of care they receive and set a benchmark for other care providers!”

Ashwell Home Care Service provide care to those who wish to remain independent in their own home and respite support to those who care for a loved one. They offer a wide variety of services, which include personal care services, overnight sitting, dementia care, housekeeping services, companionship, medication services, meal services, end of life care.

How do you solve a problem like social care funding?

A really interesting podcast from the The Kings Fund about big ideas in health and care. It is a talk with experts from The King’s Fund and beyond about the NHS, social care, and all things health policy and leadership

LGBTQ and Dementia UK

Phil is a doctoral student and lecturer with an interest/focus in LGBTQ, Dementia care and micro-aggressions in care. He has created a very engaging blog to help share resources, articles and research in this area. it explores topics such as interesting research being conducted in the US exploring the possible increased likelihood of LGBTQ communities experiencing cognitive decline, the need for safe spaces for older LGBTQ individuals for Pride Month, links to a fantastic guide exploring the needs of older LGBTQ individuals and much more.

Malvern Pride

We were delighted to be a sponsor and to be at  the very first Malvern Pride Event on Saturday 27th July meeting people and handing out our leaflets and pens to spread the word about Ashwell Home Care Services.

We were thrilled that Phil Harper who we are consulting with gave us a mention during his speech on dementia care for the older LGBT population and that he wore one of our polo shirts  – with great style!

Despite the weather everyone had a really great time and we were really proud to be a part of this momentous occasion and to promote our company name.

Top picture left to right :
Anne-Marie Fletcher, Phil Ashwell, Debbie Ashwell

Bottom Picture back left to right :
Phil Ashwell, Phil Harper

Bottom picture front left to right :
Debbie Ashwell, Anne-Marie Fletcher

Dementia is our Collective Responsibility

We can’t ignore it any longer.

Dementia should be and must be our collective responsibility. A good place to start is in collectively facing up to the fact that it is in our midst and that each year hundreds of thousands of men and women are living with it and dying with it. Dementia does not just happen to old people – around 5% of people with Alzheimer’s are under 65

Nicci Gerrard is the author of What Dementia Teaches Us About Love