Dysphagia (Swallowing Problems)

A person with Dementia may have trouble chewing food, they may have even forgotten how to chew. Foods that are difficult to chew should be avoided, such as tough meats, hard crusts, biscuits and also sweetcorn, as we all know is difficult to deconstruct. People with dentures may also struggle and it is important for these to fit properly

dementia care home - swallowing problem


Swallowing difficulties (Dysphagia) can happen as the dementia progresses. If someone is having difficulty they should be referred to the SALT Team (Speech and Language Therapists). Some signs are avoiding to eat hard foods, not swallowing and constant chewing. The inability to consume the food properly can also lead to weight loss, malnutrition and even dehydration. It is also really important the person is in a suitable position to eat because if not this will increase the inability to swallow or the likelihood of choking.

Larchfield House (a dementia care specialist) provides a well-balanced, nutritious and tasty solution with our pureed food, which is beautifully presented for our residents. The consistency of the food enables an easier swallowing option without having to struggle with chewing, fluids are also thickened, which all aid towards prevention of choking.

Residents with swallowing issues are referred by our nursing team, you can contact them directly if you are caring for your loved one or via your GP, if you need advice. Please contact us at Larchfield House, we will always try to help and support the local community. Call on 01628 639428 you may download our brochure from dementia care home

Resident Experts

Larchfield House is undertaking a case study to understand the importance of “Resident Experts” (Patient Experts) is our person-centered approach to the wellbeing of individuals who have an interest and ability in their health care.

Residents should be considered a full-fledged partner of the health care delivery team and the resident’s experiential knowledge is recognised. The aim of our ongoing study is to show how residents view their engagement with healthcare professionals regarding their direct care. Residents may describe themselves as proactively engaging in three types of practice, regardless of health professionals’ openness to their role as partners.

  1. The first is, the process of continuous learning that allows them to acquire experiential knowledge about their health, as well as scientific information and technical know-how.

  2. The second involves their assessment of the healthcare they receive, in terms of its quality and how it aligns with their personal preferences. It includes their assessment of the quality of their relationship with the health professional and of the latter’s scientific knowledge and technical know-how.

  3. The third type, adaptation practices, builds on residents learning and assessments to compensate for and adapt to what has been perceived as optimal or non-optimal health or healthcare circumstances. Residents appear to play a more active and less docile role in their own direct care if the partnership or the degree to which the health professional seeks to encourage patient engagement.

Note: Capacity does play a part in this study and a cautious professional approach will always be taken to ensure all outcomes are considered and safe.

For more details visit our dementia care home website or visit Dementia Symptoms page.

Dementia Umbrella

dementia vascular frontotemporal lewy bodies


The word dementia comes from Latin, De means apart and mens meaning mind. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks, such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is an umbrella term that the specific types of Dementia fall under. There are four main types of dementia listed above which were statistics of under 65’s, but there are many more.

Alizheimers was named after Alois Alzheimer who was a psychiatrist who identified the abnormalities in behavior and the brain tissue of a lady called Augusta D she was 50. The study was from 1901 to 1906, when Augusta passed away. They discovered unusual plaques in the brain. Alzheimer died at the age of 55. But this was the forerunner to understanding dementia.

The word dementia has Latin origins, de meaning apart and ment meaning brain. Also in 1822 the praecox meaning for dementia was what we now call schizophrenia.

If you would like to know more about dementia please click on the website, What is Dementia section on our dementia care website or pick up a brochure from our reception at:

Larchfield House, Larchfield Road,
Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2SJ
Tel: 01628 639428
Email: info@larchfield.care

The Decision – placing your loved one in a care home

care home funding or package pricing

This is something that is very hard to decide. If you have been living with someone for many years and now you are not able to cope with their care and you have to decide to move them into a care home, the end of your home life relationship.


There are feelings of loss, finality, grief, guilt, a turning point which none of us want to reach. Guilt is a major player in the feelings people experience but we have to understand that the needs of the person we are caring for are paramount. Everyone is different but as Dementia or Alzheimer’s progresses, continence, eating issues and behaviour can be a 24hr care situation. We need to remember to look after ourselves as mentioned in a previous article Molly who looks after Jack, who is doubly incontinent and also quite a big man, Molly is exhausted all the time and struggles to cope but feels duty bound to soldier on. So who is this best for, I would say neither as Molly’s health is suffering and because she is so tired she struggles to keep an even temper with Jack, so is this good care for Jack?

If you have the peace of mind that your loved one is being well looked after and you are able to visit as often as you like and have quality time rather than from an overwhelmed aspect. At Larchfield there are no restrictions on visiting your loved ones, we also understand that family members need support and we are here to listen and help in whatever way possible. We have a relative’s gateway so family are able to look at the care notes and see pictures of what their loved ones have been doing. Staff are always available to help and answer your questions. We always ask when we have a new resident that their family put together a Life History, this can be a key to unlocking memories and getting to know the likes and dislikes of a person. We take pride in our approach which is person centred and we remember at all times that this is our resident’s home. Contact Larchfield House – dementia care home for more details.

Finding a care home and sorting out the funding issues can also be stressful, doing research and visiting homes, so you can be reassured that your loved one will be well looked after. Understanding how the funding or payment system works can be found on the care home website  https://www.carehome.co.uk/fees/feesadvice.cfm

Dignity Action Day

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Dignity Action Day gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to upholding people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people receiving care. Dignity Action Day aims to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives.
Dame Joan Bakewell, Dignity in Care Ambassador said:
“Dignity Action Day highlights a more respectful way of behaving towards vulnerable people. The very old and the very young clearly need our respect, but it wouldn’t do any harm to spread the dignity message across the population then we can all benefit.”

At Larchfield House we believe that dignity is at the heart of everything we do and we celebrate the importance of dignity to all every day. Visit our website or visit us and see the inspirational things we do every day to ensure we always put the dignity into everything we do. www.larchfield.care  or call 01628639428

Confused Memory Retrieval

Spontaneous confabulations

This is fascinating; there are 3 different types of confabulations Spontaneous, momentary and other false forms of memories. It’s related to traumas to the brain and includes Alzheimer’s disease, basically it refers to inaccurate or false memories arising from neurological diseases of the brain, in Dementia this would be frontotemporal dementia. An example would be when I am talking about something from my past, I get events muddled up to the point where I am referring to a completely different time period and story. So I went on holiday to Morocco with my Mum last week (I am 83) and I describe the trip in quite a bit of detail and also mix into this recollections of other memories jumbling them all into one account. This is a spontaneous outpouring of muddled and inaccurate recollections. So I have just provided a false memory without conscious knowledge of its falsehood.

It is argued that confabulations are the effect of three contributing factors, a vivid imagination, and an inability to retrieve historic memories systematically and source monitoring deficits (a metacognitive process involved in making judgements about original memories, knowledge and beliefs). A knowledge corruption. Studies have shown that these false recollections show a self-serving bias which is greater than encountered in healthy volunteers. Meaning showing a selective bias in distorting the recall of original negative self-image memory although this was also found in healthy individuals showing that past memory is often positive biased.

Momentary confabulations
This is believed to be caused by provocation such as being questioned and probed about your memory. This would include where memory tests are done and patients are asked to recall a story and are pushed to answer. This can cause confusion with events, names and incidents but within this they remain satisfied and happy with their answers unaware of any false recollections. This has been concluded to be a lack of control over memory retrieval.

Other form of false memories
This is due to specific circumstances if lying is a behaviour or habit, quantified as a pathological liar.

For more information please visit dementia care website or call Larchfield House on 01628 639428 and speak to Kelly/Jane. We run regular Dementia Friends session which explain in plain and simple terminology with interactive examples, which really helps to give you a good basic understanding of what happens through the process of Dementia.

Sundowners Syndrome

Sundowners Syndrome

This is a fascinating syndrome, symptoms can be from, agitation, mood changes, being emotional, being afraid, pacing up and down, restlessness and depression. It is expected that a high percentage of people living with Alzheimer’s will experience Sundowners.

This is usually associated with the sun setting but can happen much earlier. It’s generally related to middle stages of Alzheimer’s and mixed Dementia. Patients are generally unable to understand their behaviour pattern as abnormal but then what quantifies abnormal when it’s normal for them.

Sundowners Syndrome causes are unknown but it is thought by some experts to be linked with the bodies natural day and night cycles. There are plenty of articles to be found on this with no proved conclusions but the light element features highly as a probable cause.


Having worked with ladies and gentlemen who show a typical symptoms of the syndrome, I have often wondered about life’s past routines which strangely are connected to light. What if I used to collected my children from school every day and hurry home to get their tea, or I finish work and rush off to get my train home. All based around time routines and light, quite clearly this is mere hypothesis but surely food for thought?

At Larchfield House we are seeking information related to this subject and any experience or examples you would care to share would be very valuable to us.

Contact Jane on 01628 639428 Ext 205 or visit our website dementia care home

Aggressive behaviours with Dementia

This can be either verbal or sometimes physical. But there is always a reason, first if I am in pain how do I communicate this, then if I don’t like a situation or a person how do I tell you. If behaviours change very suddenly then it needs to be checked by a doctor to see if there is any underlying causes such as a urinary tract or chest infection. It is surprising how much impact this can have on someone’s behaviour. Both conditions can cause from aggressive symptoms to hallucinations. Early diagnosis is very important to ensure medication can be issued to prevent complications.
Aggression can also be caused by poor communication, body language, loud noises, and large groups of people. I experienced a lady who got very agitated because she couldn’t understand whilst in a group setting, why all these people were invading her home. I agree, I wouldn’t like that and from her perspective it was a reality.

There is always a reason behind behaviours, but being on the front end of aggression can be very hard, this is where standing back and understanding that something is wrong and giving the person some space truly helps, (as long as they are in a safe environment). If you are telling me constantly to eat my cake and I don’t want to, my prerogative, then I need to react as we all would, but perhaps in a different way.

dementia care homes

It is always important to share issues such as aggression to help you through and understand the reasons behind this. Remembering, that any person on the end of aggression needs support, understanding and advice.

Larchfield House specialise in Dementia Care and all its facets. If you require any further information do not hesitate to contact the Larchfield Team on 01628 639428 or pop in to see us for a confidential chat with one of our staff about the services that Larchfield has to offer. Or visit our web site dementia care homes

Denial

Denial may seem like a strange subject but it’s very common when a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia. It is I believe a self-protection mechanism because not only is your loved ones life changing but so is yours and quite dramatically. My example of Jim who looked after his wife Fran in the last article was a true example of denial. He would not accept any help because he thought it would all go away and get better. His and Fran’s life became a regimented string of routine, which was his way of controlling something as he had no control over Fran’s dementia and the path it took. We should take a step back and try and understand as best we can about dementia although every single person living with dementia’s journey is different. The forgetfulness, the word confusion, incontinence and eventually even the ability to feed ourselves and communicate as just a few examples.

Acceptance although hard will help not only the carer but the person living with dementia. I have experienced people getting frustrated and exasperated even angry when they are trying to convey information which is forgotten in minutes. Whereas if you try to understand and accept the journey it would make it not only easier on yourself but also on the person. Jim decided that Fran did not like milk on her cereals and she struggled to eat them dry and difficult to chew his daughter intervened and put milk on them for her. Fran then ate them with ease, Jim on the other hand got very angry as he thought he knew best. Jim was losing control and didn’t know what to do or how to act. They had a glass of wine every evening which Jim continued to give to Fran and would shout at her to drink, because not to was so not the norm. Eventually he realised, when she had collapsed and broken her hip that perhaps his methods of care were not appropriate.

Acceptance is so much better than denial, so you can work together for the best interests of both of you and your family. Seeking help can be in various forms in the earlier stage having respite for yourself and finding a day care centre specialising in dementia care, giving you that much needed break. Then as things progress consider a specialist care home for the needs of your loved one and yourself, which is a very hard decision but coping on your own 24hrs a day is a very hard request on anyone.

If you would like to discuss this with a member of the Larchfield House Care Home, Specialist Dementia Team, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01628 639428 or pop in and see us to have a chat. All conversations are strictly confidential and they are not shared with anyone.