Not-for-profit quality care for over 25 years

David’s Story – Recognising Dementia Action Week at Care South

During his life, David and his wife, Jill won 16 golds at Chelsea Flowers Show, he was an associate of the Royal Photographic Society, owned a photo library and illustrated lots of books. David lives with dementia. David has led a rich and fulfilling life and Care South’s Maiden Castle House team are now helping David to keep it that way. Life does not stop when living with dementia.

Care South’s experienced teams use many methods to help people living with dementia, including reminiscence work recalling fond memories and events from the past. For David, it was the activity assistant bringing in her professional camera for David to use which brought back lots of his memories and saw him quickly photographing flowers from the home’s gardens like the natural photographer he is.

David and Jill lived in Weymouth in Dorset before he moved to Care South’s Maiden Castle care home in Dorchester. He started his career as a Research Chemist before swapping jobs to open a plant nursery called Oakleigh Nurseries with his wife. They worked hard and a major milestone for the couple was winning their first gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. They went on to win an amazing 16 in total! David was even featured with Peter Seabrook in a TV programme called ‘Growing for Gold’, which led to him being asked to appear in a film about the nursery they owned. His wife still proudly owns the DVD. David was a founding member of the Institute of Horticulture and past Chairman of the Hampshire branch of the Butterfly Association. David has also illustrated lots of books and he wrote his first book for the Royal Horticultural Society before being asked to provide some photos for it. David is a wonderful photographer, and this led to lots of other books being published and illustrated during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as special photo shoots; all securing his proud membership of the Royal Photographic Society.

Aaron Whitehead, Director of Residential Care at Care South, commented: Our job is to help support and nurture our residents to help them keep living fulfilled lives. Everyone loves seeing David in the gardens photographing the flora and it is so fascinating to hear about his wonderful life and the many amazing experiences he has had.

“Recognising the early signs of dementia and understanding when it may be time for your loved one to move into a residential care home can be very difficult and upsetting. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and does not just affect older people, which is a common misconception.”

Care South has always taken pride in providing exceptional learning and development opportunities for its employees and the not-for-profit charity is committed to improving how it works and its knowledge of dementia care. Over 94% of Care South’s team have completed dementia awareness training and the company is developing a dementia care framework which will deliver further training to all the teams across the South of England, even for those not providing direct care. It’s important to Care South to try and change perceptions of dementia and ensure they are aiding in the transfer of knowledge into valuable skills to help care and support those living with dementia and their families.

Rachel Sohorye, Home Manager at Maiden Castle House, commented: “Dementia Action Week gives a good opportunity to really raise the understanding of dementia, the signs and when it’s time to ask for help. We know it is incredibly difficult for families that residents can live such full and wonderful lives before living with dementia. We also know that residents can find the changes happening to them so frustrating and can find it difficult to recall their wonderful life experiences. It’s very important for us that we continue to push forward with dementia research, training and care so that we all understand it and know how to interact with and respond to people with dementia, as well as support our residents’ families. David, along with all of our residents, is a joy to have in the home and it feels like such a breakthrough when we uncover reminiscence activity that brings the biggest smiles to faces.” 

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