The Retired Nurses National Home (RNNH), the care home run by charity Friends of the Elderly in Bournemouth, has a specialist dementia unit providing bespoke and person focused care for its residents living with dementia. As this September is the 9th World Alzheimer’s Month, the care home’s two Dementia Champions are raising awareness and challenging the stigma that surrounds dementia.
Ruth Arnold and Adina Ciobanu are based at the RNNH and care for all the residents who are living with dementia. They are both exceptionally passionate about their work, their residents and ensuring they deliver the highest standard of care, support, social interactions and understanding to everyone they look after, every day.
Comment on her role as the RNNH’s Dementia Champion, Ruth said: “I have worked in care for over 40 years, 33½ of those with Friends of the Elderly. I have always enjoyed looking after people and making sure they are healthy, safe and that their wellbeing is well catered for. I believe that through supporting each of my residents who is living with dementia, I can help them to enjoy and live their lives in the best way they possibly can through providing an exceptional level of personalised care.
Adina added: “Ruth and I work closely together and collaborate on different projects and activities that engage, entertain and stimulate our residents. No day is ever the same. Everyone is different and has their own way of thinking and understanding.
“A number of our residents prefer 1-2-1 activities such as hand and foot massages, helping us to tidy their bedrooms, taking a stroll around the gardens and having a chat or, before the COVID pandemic, going on shopping trips or popping for a coffee together. Others enjoy the social and group activities such as quizzes, bingo, arts and crafts and sing-along sessions.”
Both Ruth and Adina agree that being a Dementia Champion brings many rewards including gaining more knowledge about dementia and gaining different perspectives on how to continually improve and support their residents’ independence. Ruth added: “I enjoy the daily challenges and seeing that I can make a positive difference to someone who may be lonely, scared, uncommunicative or struggling in some way.”
Jess Stone, Friends of the Elderly’s Head of Marketing and Communications added: “Everyone at the charity believes in seeing the person first and not their diagnosis and that putting people into categories of residential and dementia does not work with the very ethos of what person centred and focused care should be. The team at RNNH recognise that everyone is different and should be cared for in a different way, is totally focusing on what they can do rather than what they can no longer do.”