A City In Japan is Using A QR Code To Track Dementia Patient

Iruma, a city of Japan, is distributing this 1cm (0.4in) square stickers as a free service, to help elderly dementia sufferers to reunite with their family members when they go missing. According to the Iruma welfare office, this small barcode contains sufficient personal information (e.g. address, telephone number and a unique identity number) to help the police to help the dementia sufferer return home.

The stickers are water-proof and remain attached for two weeks averagely. It also has a great advantage — although there are ID stickers for clothes or shoes, dementia patients are not always wearing those items.

jpn qr code

(Credit: BBC via Getty Images)

Reference: https://internetofbusiness.com/japan-dementia-qr-codes/

How to look for a care home



When searching for a care home locally, whether it is for yourself or your loved ones, it is utmost important that the person feels comfortable in their choice and that the home has the absolute right ambiance as well as facilities to meet all required needs. In the UK alone, there are more than thousands of care homes available providing various types of care. Subsequently, there are many ways to find the right care home one needs; major care home providers offers search services and many other directory services out there can help as well, for instance, Bupa, Sunrise and CareUK all provide excellent customer services.

Many people would prefer to phone or write to a number of homes and ask about the level of care provided, the fees and the waiting list. On top of the information collected, it is also very important to visit the homes that seem promising. Our editor Ray Stephens have recently found a specialised online service from bestukcarehomes.com that helps people looking for care homes around the UK.

Last but not least, one should always check the quality inspection reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) or the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) in Northern Ireland.

This free test can spot early signs of dementia

dementia test

This test can be completed online or by hand which tests language ability, reasoning, problem solving skills and memory. Results can then be shared with doctors to help spot early symptoms of cognitive issues such as early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Around 800,000 people in Britain are currently suffering from dementia in Britain with more than a million expected by 2021.

Currently Alzheimer’s is only diagnosed through in depth cognitive testing, but researchers said the simple test worked equally well.

The research was published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

One book that will change how you look for care homes

Best Guide to UK Care Homes‘ is the book that you cannot afford to miss in 2014!

best uk care homes guide 2014

This copy, which is the No. 1 recommended guide by various UK Care Homes experts, has been completely updated and revised for 2014. Written by 3 leading care home experts from Harvard University, the London School of Economics and myself, this volume covers all the key questions concerning various elderly care options available in the UK today, choosing different types of care, care funding advice, care home check-list and FAQs.

It is available in the Top 10 best-sellers under ‘Ageing Parents’ category on Amazon now. The book has special Kindle enabled features. However, this copy does NOT require an Amazon kindle device. It can be read on your computer, or even on your iPhone, or Blackberry, or Android phone, or Windows 7 phone, or any tablet devices!

Communication and compassion drives care industry forward

What do you enjoy the most about working in care industry?

The world of healthcare and working in this industry offers many people rewards and benefits.

There is never a dull moment and it is rare to experience the same day twice.
Quite often people will ask what do you do for a living and when I tell them that I look after the elderly and specialise in those who have Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia. Often I get the reply “oh I admire what you do, I couldn’t do that you must have a lot of patience”. I know lots of healthcare professionals out there get the same reaction I’ve heard it a lot after almost 10 years in the profession. Sometimes it even makes me smile because yes there are a lot of people who could not do the job, you have to be a special kind of person.
For me I am passionate about every person having the care that they want and deserve. It didn’t take me long to work out in this profession that there are a lot of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia who don’t get listened to properly. I expect carers to listen and take their time wherever possible especially when they are looking after a person with Alzheimer’s.


What are the most important qualities a care home professional should have?


I believe that great health care professionals should have excellent communication skills that include being able to listen and speak clearly to residents and their families. They should be able to feel compassion and provide comfort and overall have empathy for the person they are caring for.
Health care can be stressful, long shifts and quite often the professional may encounter many traumatic situations. They need to be able to work without allowing the stress to cause them personal harm. Great health care professional always respect people and rules they should always be mindful of their employers confidentiality policies and respect the different cultures and traditions.


What is your personal motivation to work in the care home industry?

Caring is an active engagement in the total well-being of the person – putting the person’s needs at the centre of everything you do for them. This includes promoting, preserving and encouraging their capabilities and interests.

care-home-Christine ElsleyTo achieve this we need to share experiences with our colleagues and provide additional information for those staff that have an interest and enthusiasm for person-centred care. People understand better when they relate key ideas to their own life and for many they learn while they are doing.

I feel very privileged to be able to work with many individuals who share their lives with people on a daily basis and go that extra mile to help others.


Christine Elsley is a lead practitioner in Dementia Care and has a degree in Dementia studies. Most of all, she is passionate about people with dementia being looked after with dignity.

Peanut butter, a quick test for Alzheimer’s

You may not have heard of ‘the peanut butter test’, but it could become a fantastically low-cost and non-invasive way to test for Alzheimer’s. After all, what’s less invasive than asking someone to smell some delicious peanut butter? ‘The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline,’  according to a report from the University of Florida, researchers from which conducted the experiment.  But with Alzheimer’s patients, the sense of smell is affected in a very particular way: The left nostril is significantly more impaired than the right. Weird! But true.care-home-peanut-butter

The experiment involved capping one nostril and measuring the distance at which the patient could detect about a tablespoon of peanut butter. In Alzheimer’s patients, the left nostril was impaired so thoroughly that, on average, it had 10 centimeters less range than the right, in terms of odor detection. That’s specific to Alzheimer’s patients; neither control patients (those not suffering from cognitive decline) nor those with other types of cognitive impairment (like dementia) demonstrated that nostril difference.

Peanut butter was used because it’s a so-called ‘pure odorant’. Generally our sense of smell actually incorporates two distinct sensations: the olfactory sense, or smell, as well as a trigeminal sense, which is like a more physical burning or stinging sort of sense. Peanut butter has no trigeminal element; it’s only olfactory, which makes it ideal for testing, as the link to Alzheimer’s is specifically dealing with the olfactory sense.

This could be a great, inexpensive, early warning system for those with Alzheimer’s; the illness is not easy to detect, requiring neurological examination as well as mental, and has to be carried out by a professional. The peanut butter test? Much easier.


Alzheimer’s cure is near

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neuro-degenerative disease has been hailed as the ‘turning point’ in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients. But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases.care-home-tea

Medical professor from University of London expresses that the finding is a turning point in medical history to control and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Many other experts in the field also deem it as a landmark study.

When a virus hijacks a brain cell it leads to a build-up of viral proteins. Cell responds by shutting down nearly all protein production in order to halt the virus’s spread. However, many neurodegenerative diseases involve the production of faulty or misfolded proteins. These activate the same defences, but with more severe consequences.

The director of research at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK stresses that targeting a mechanism relevant to a number of neurodegenerative diseases could yield a single drug with wide-reaching benefits, but this compound is till at an early stage.

Caroline urges for more resident-centred care homes

What are the most important qualities a care home professional should have?

The answers are all in the title really.

Firstly, they need to care.  They need to care about all of the people they work with, both colleagues and residents. They should be compassionate and attentive. Care home professionals need to find out about each other and those they care for as individuals.  Everyone needs to ensure they know what is meant by ‘person-centred care’.  It’s about everyone in that environment. They need to be egalitarian and treat other people, fairly, with respect and kindness.  Anyone working with other people needs to be in touch with their own feelings, to be able to empathise with others and have good listening skills. They are not looking after relics in a museum they are caring for and working with some very special people.

Secondly, the place they work in is a ‘home’ not just a work-place. People who work in care homes should emanate a sense of intimate security to add to the atmosphere of being at home.  In just the same way as they run their own homes they need to be flexible in their organisation of meals etc. to allow for personal choices and requirements. Staff need to bring a feeling of domesticity in to the building, where everyone is involved in helping to get the ‘jobs’ done.  Maintaining the opportunities for meaningful occupation.  A care home should not feel like a hospital or a hotel.

Care home professionals should be professional and by that I mean that they should respect their own profession.  They should be keen learners that are motivated to keep up to date with information available, on research and models of care etc.  We need reflective practitioners who are not afraid to admit that they have made mistakes; that they are still learning, along with the rest of us. We need people who are resourceful, open to new innovations and ready to change their models of care for the benefit of those using their services. Changes cannot happen if they are treated like a ‘quick fix’. It takes time to ensure that the desired outcomes are recognised and worked towards as a long term goal.  It takes a team of professional people who recognise the strengths and weaknesses of each member and encourages each person to take part in achieving those outcomes.

We are asking for a lot from care home professionals, we need to recognise this and ensure that we are giving back what they deserve.  Allowing care staff to work set hours, so that they can plan their home lives accordingly, and allowing them to be salaried would be a good start.


What are some of the areas that the care home industry can improve?

My work takes me into a variety of care home settings and the ones that strike me as getting it right are those where they work as a team.  I’m talking about housekeepers, gardeners, activity co-ordinators, kitchen staff, management, office workers, everybody working together to give the best service they can.  These are the places where I can recognise true person-centred care, where everyone matters.

To enable all of the staff to give of their best, there is a real need for training. The government are making headway through Dementia Friends to ensure that the general public dementia aware.  This puts the onus on our profession to ensure that all staff are trained beyond the stage of ‘dementia aware’.  It is beneficial for the care home to have staff fully trained in Cognitive Stimulation and confident in the appropriate usage of Reality Orientation and Reminiscence Therapy.

Care home managers triumph when they invite staff, visitors and residents to look at the home with new eyes, encouraging feedback on any improvements that can be made to the environment.  Looking for ways of enabling residents to remain independent for longer or items which will stimulate feelings or conversations.  It’s wonderful to see these ideas in practice in some of the homes I have visited.   This is where staff can be at their most resourceful, lots of these ideas are cheap and cheerful.  The environment can benefit dramatically when we implement small changes which will enhance the quality of life for those living and working in the home.


What is the key issue facing the care home industry in this country?

I know I’m going to leave myself wide open to an onslaught of disagreements here.  I know so many people will say it is a lack of funding.  Whilst I acknowledge that this is a factor, I honestly think the key issue in this country is the number of care home owners and managers who truly believe they are doing a good job when the simple truth of the matter is that they are not delivering person-centred care in the true sense.

There are, of course, lots of owners and managers in the industry who are doing a fabulous job, but, if you asked them what they would do to improve their care homes, they wouldn’t look at you ‘gob-smacked’ and tell you that they believe they have one of the best in the area.  They are the people who will immediately give you a list of goals they would like to incorporate in to their homes and also tell you what research they would like to know more about.

Sadly, there are still too many who have been doing the job for a long time and haven’t learnt anything new in the process, they are still constantly playing music from the 1930s – 1940s because they believe that is what their residents want to listen to. They haven’t asked the residents. They fail to explore the possibility of someone liking Cliff Richard, Barbara Streisand, The Isley Brothers, or, heaven forbid, Abba,  (dare I even mention Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin or London Grammar)and yet there are many people living in care homes today who’s popular music tastes don’t include ‘Roll out the barrel’.  Personal tastes in music are as varied as the different genres available.

So many managers just want to ‘tick the box’ for training their employees in dementia care.  They only want the very basic awareness course, they’re not interested in courses about ‘Activities’ because they already do bingo twice a week and they have someone in once a fortnight to run armchair exercises. (Oh, and once a month a man comes in and sings to them).  They don’t have art materials, or poetry books, a video player in the lounge, or pens to do the crosswords in the paper. There are no dolls to be seen, or pets in the home.  In fact there is very little of any interest in the rooms at all.  The managers will ask ‘Do you do a course for behaviour problems, or how to restrain difficult residents?’  They don’t appreciate that improved environments will reduce these problems drastically, allowing them to concentrate on the niche requirements of individuals (perhaps something as simple as a doll or teddy bear to cuddle, or someone to talk to for a while at certain times of the day). They have very little understanding of how individuals with dementia can be helped to make sense of what is going on around them.

Activity Co-ordinators are crying out for training which is relevant to their role, their managers however, are spending the money on flower arrangements in the reception area.  They haven’t even thought about finding out if there is a lady who did the flower arranging for church each Sunday living in their home. There are too many care homes still working to timetables, with the importance placed on what the home looks like to visitors rather than models of care which have been adapted to suit the choices of their current residents.

If we wish to make any inroads into improved care for older people we need to listen to what people want for themselves in their new homes, as well as employing staff who engage with customers, people who endeavour to understand and facilitate the personal needs of those living with dementia.



Caroline Benham has extensive experience in the care home industry, worked for Anchor in the past and currently a volunteer for Alzheimer’s. She is currently studying towards a degree on Dementia Studies while working as a dementia care trainer.


Tips for finding the right care home from industry insider Janis McFarlane

What do you enjoy the most about working in care home industry?
I enjoy working with people from all walks of life, residents and their families, managers and staff and related health professionals. No two days are ever the same; each day brings something different and a new challenge to be solved. I particularly enjoy teaching staff and showing them that excellent quality care can and is provided within care homes. Observing staff develop their confidence, skills and meaningful relations with residents brings a smile to my face and gives me the “oomph” to carry on promoting care in care homes, deal with suppliers, develop policies and manage the accounts!

What are the most important qualities a care home professional should have?Apartment building in the city with a spectacular sky
A genuine desire to care, we can teach our staff many things including how to be a professional care person, we cannot teach staff how to be “caring” that is inbuilt in the person.
Respect for other peoples beliefs and choices in life whether we agree or not, being able to support someone to carry on with their wishes that you don’t personally agree with is difficult especially for young care givers.
Compassion, understanding and patience all very easy to say, but far more difficult to deliver if they are not inherent qualities.
The ability to work with the ethos, we work in our residents’ homes they do not live in our work place. Lastly, a sense of humour, the ability to enjoy and have pride in being a professional care giver is essential.
To all the people out there looking for a care home for themselves or their loved ones, what is the best advice you would offer? 
Visit many homes and visit the same home on different days at different times without the need for an appointment with the manager. Speak with residents of the home if possible; find out if they enjoy living there. Observe the staff interactions with the residents and go by your own instinct and feelings. Ask many questions and go prepared with a list of all you want to know no matter how trivial you may think they are, every little detail is important to you and your loved one.
If you were given money and resources to set up a research group, what would you research on the UK care home industry?
Where do all the teaspoons go? Only joking!
Possibly the healing of pressure ulcers that have not developed in the care home or the experiences of relatives concerning “a good death”. I think care homes bench mark themselves against external standards of other organisations and there are many areas of care that external organisations should bench mark against good care homes.

What is the key issue facing the care home industry in this country?
Finance, sustainability and a wider understanding publically of what we do well, what we are expected and required to do, what we wish to do and the financial restraints we face in being able to deliver what we are capable of doing. We are caring for more complex care needs not just in elderly care, we have seen an increase in the need for care of younger people with long term complex needs as a result of trauma and substance misuse entering care homes, we can deliver the care, we can meet their needs however we need reasonable fee structures to enable us to do so. A healthy dose of respect for our services wouldn’t go amiss and whilst bad news sells newspapers a readdressing of the balance of good news stories would be appreciated!

care-home-Janis McFarlane

Janis McFarlane has worked in the care sector for 33 years, she was also trained as a registered general nurse in Fife and worked within the NHS in Fife and Forth Valley in acute areas before embarking on a journey over the last 23 years within the independent care sector that has seen many, many changes in that time. During that time, she has worked as a home manager, regional and senior regional manager and her current role is Director of Operations with The Holmes Care (Group) Ltd. Her passion is end of life care, we don’t get a second chance to get this right, and to be with someone at the end of their life is a privilege. Her aim is to continue to break down myths and barriers surrounding what happens in a care home and to facilitate our managers and their teams through learning and empowerment to provide the very best experience and memories for residents and their families that we possibly can.

Whiff-whaff sweeps care homes

Active senior woman-Whiff-whaff sweeps care homesFollowing the film Ping Pong, a documentary about eight over-80 world table tennis champions at the over 80′s World Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia; over 1,200 care homes in the UK have received the ping pong pack and their residents started taking up the sport.

In the film, emotions are running high and the champions show great tenacity and a determination to win, despite some of them battling against the physical ailments that tend to come with old age. Centenarian, Dorothy DeLow, from Australia, who is featured in the film, says ‘Table tennis is my life’ and for these competitors it really is. She reveals how she lost her husband and her daughter and says ‘I was playing table tennis, and I think that saved me’. Dorothy, who is the oldest competitive player in the world, left the UK on a Sydney bound boat in 1911 when she was two – around the same time table tennis is thought to have been invented. She started playing in her 70s when both her husband and her daughter died in the same year.

care-home-pingpong-Whiff-whaff sweeps care homes

Some of the care homes have set up mini tournaments. Residents say the film inspires them and makes them want to get involved in table tennis. Table tennis is good for your mental state and your physical health. You have fun and it helps people to stay fit. We want to smash the stereotypes people have about older people. So far we have distributed the ping pong packs to over 1,200 care homes. The pack is for smaller care homes that don’t have the resources of the bigger ones. We are trying to focus on regions and areas that under-serviced and we have been working with local authorities to help us identify which care homes will most benefit from receiving the free packs.