Case Study: Supporting Steve with dementia home care
Our vascular dementia client
Steve is 88 years old and living with vascular dementia. He lives with his wife Anne who was his primary carer. Steve’s dementia meant that he was highly anxious, easily agitated and dependent on Anne. He would become paranoid and aggressive if she left his sight.
Steve had enjoyed a successful career in business, in the military and as a civilian pilot. Now the frustration he felt was showing itself as aggressive outbursts. He had been prescribed antipsychotic medication which was negatively affecting his physical and mental well being but sadly not making a difference to his behavioural symptoms. His care was putting an immense burden on his wife Anne.
When Anne’s daughter Carol contacted The Good Care Group, the challenge was to find a way of providing care that was acceptable to Steve, did not threaten his self-esteem or cause him undue agitation.
Our dementia home care service
Using the SPECAL® method*, we found Steve could still access many positive memories of his time as a pilot. When we referenced aeroplanes or flying, he would swing his arm in a wide arc and say with pride ‘I flew around the world, you know’. Through accessing and cueing positive past memories we found we could allay Steve’s fears. Steve’s behaviour became calmer and he was less prone to fear, paranoia and aggressive outbursts.
However, he would still get upset and angry if he felt Anne had gone somewhere without him. Anne wished to take a break and the challenge was to facilitate this without causing Steve excessive anxiety.
Again, his dementia care team worked with Steve and his family to uncover old memories and found that Anne had owned and run a small florist. Steve was very proud of this but would not have been involved in the day to day running of the business. The next time Steve asked where Anne was, we used a phrase - ‘sorting out a problem at the shop’ – which was familiar to Steve, and which reassured him that Anne was tied up elsewhere without making him feel that he should be there with her. Once the twin themes of flying and Anne’s need to solve problems at the florist had been established, we managed to facilitate a holiday for Anne and her daughter without causing distress to Steve.
Steve continues to live with dementia in the comfort of his own home. He is off of his anti-psychotic medication and outbursts are rare events. The care and support offered by The Good Care Group has given back independence to Anne who can again be his loving wife, not solely his carer, and allow her to take days out and the occasional holiday abroad.
“The Good Care Group has helped me to make time for myself so I can then give Steve the love and care he deserves. The SPECAL approach has really worked for Steve – his own doctor said nothing could be done and that the only option for him was a life on medication.”
*For more information about the SPECAL® method, please visit www.contenteddementiatrust.org
- The Good Care Group has helped me to make time for myself so I can then give Steve the love and care he deserves. The SPECAL approach has really worked for Steve – his own doctor said nothing could be done and the only option for him was a life on medication.
Steve's wife, Anne