Rotarian Helen Silver from Barrow Blind Society - Host Mike Silver

Wed 8th March 2017 at 18.30 - 20.00

Helen gets cheque off President Mike

Helen Silver, Registered Manager of Ostley House, gave the Rotary Club of Furness a talk on the work of Ostley House ,her job and an outline of the problems of Dementia.

Helen told us that Ostley House provides specialist care facilities for 44 residents of either sex with a sensory impairment, over and under 65 years of age  and also for older people without sensory impairment.
As a registered manager, Helen is compliant with the regulations of the Health and Social care Act 2008 and has the necessary qualifications, competence,skills and experience for her role. She is the leader of a dedicated team of carers at the home, who all understand the core values of dignity, respect and compassion for person centred care.
This is all taking place in an increasingly difficult financial environment, with wage pressures and staff shortages amongst other challenges. Only at Government level can all these problems be addressed.
The number of elderly people requiring care is increasing and by 2039 the number of people aged 75 and over will reach 9.9 million with the over 85s reaching 3.6 million. This presents significant challenges.
Ostley House is hoping to develop a dementia village, specialising in people with visual impairment as well as dementia. This is probably the first time in Great Britain that such an idea has been tried out. The conventional use of memory boxes, old photographs etc will not be of use as there is sight impairment, so other means of recognition such as familiar smell are being tried  eg. The cooking odour in the kitchen.
Helen then gave us a short explanation of dementia and its problems. She outlined Alzheimer’s disease as the most common at 62% of diagnosed sufferers with vascular dementia at 17% and mixed dementia at 10%. Memory loss, confusion, loss of speech and understanding combined with a steady decline of all functions physical and mental.
A few statistics include
850,000 sufferers in the UK rising to 1 million by 2025, 225,000 will develop dementia this year, 1 in 6 people over 80 have dementia and 40,000 under 65.
This all costs £26.3 billon in the UK, up to £32,000 per sufferer and 2/3 of this cost is met by sufferers and their families. Dementia is the main cause of disability later in life ahead of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Surprisingly Dementia Research is very underfunded also.
Helen pointed out that 123,000 people have both dementia and sight impairment, making life very difficult for them with isolation and everyday living big problems for them and their carers.
Certain types of dementia also result in sufferers having hallucinations, with detection of certain colours difficult and perception of movement impaired. This is worse for people with poor sight creating disorientation and isolation. Falls and  difficulties in learning new things add to the problems. Carers for these sufferers have problems identifying these problems and, without proper training, tend to restrict the person’s everyday life adding to the problems of isolation etc.
Helen emphasised that at Ostley House all these issues were looked at to ensure that the last few years of these residents lives were happy and cared for in the right way.
After Helen had answered a few questions, she was thanked by Rotarian Mike Silver and presented with a cheque by President Mike Hoad. Rotarians responded warmly.

Reported by Rtn Frank Randall PHF