Putting the pieces back together
A new way of treating dementia recommends that you concentrate on creating the best possible quality of life for people. Andrew Gimson finds out how RMBI homes are pioneering groundbreaking techniques in dementia care
Helen Walton speaks with some emotion as she discusses providing good quality care for people living with dementia. As operations director at Dementia Care Matters, an organisation that has become closely involved in the provision of dementia care in the homes run by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI), Walton draws a sharp distinction between the right and wrong approach.
Care has traditionally been very institutionalised; huge importance is attached to routine and the atmosphere in some homes is sterile. People with dementia are treated as passive recipients from whom no initiative is expected.
Walton is deeply concerned that this kind of care still exists today, which can leave people sitting in their chairs staring into space. She believes strongly that it can be different, that instead of being run with the greatest possible efficiency, homes can concentrate on creating the best possible quality of life. She emphasises that although people living with dementia may have lost their capacity for logical thought, ‘their feelings are enhanced – feelings are what they have left, and are stronger than before’.
For Walton, staff must encourage rather than repress the natural inclinations of those they look after. The first step is to relax any barriers between staff and residents. In a home where Dementia Care Matters is called in to advise, the staff will get rid of their uniforms and the main meal of the day will be eaten together. Once this happens, it will not necessarily be apparent who is a member of staff and who is a resident. The two groups will be running the home together as friends.
Debra Keeling joined the RMBI four and a half years ago. In her role as deputy director of care she has a brief to bring in exactly this approach. She is ‘hugely encouraged’ by the progress that has been made: ‘The people who live in our homes are now becoming much more involved. We’re really developing communities.’
Joining their reality
The RMBI has seventeen homes in England and Wales, accommodating more than one thousand residents. Louise Baxter is home manager at an RMBI home, Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court in Essex. She tells the story of Nina Wainwright, who arrived in the dementia support unit in 2008. Mrs Wainwright, who was suffering from early to mid-stage dementia, had great difficulty settling in. Like many people, she felt disorientated by leaving her own home. She would ask: ‘What is this place? Why am I here?’
The staff became increasingly worried about her happiness and welfare, so they arranged with the catering contractor for Mrs Wainwright to start working in the kitchen. Each morning, she comes downstairs, goes to the kitchen and starts to wash up and make herself useful. She believes she lives upstairs in her flat and is employed to undertake washing up as well as some waitressing duties. This has given her a sense of purpose and allowed her to feel once more in control of her life. Staff ‘join Mrs Wainwright in her reality’ – they do not seek to disabuse her of her beliefs.
Baxter believes that her diploma course with Dementia Care Matters has certainly given her the confidence to join people in their reality without being accused of infantilising them. ‘It allowed me to work in the way I’d always wanted to.’
‘If a resident asks for her mother, you could say: “Tell me about her. She sounds very special”’ Debra Keeling
Conventional methods for treating dementia would confront the person with reality. When they asked for their mother, for example, they would be stood in front of a mirror and shown they were clearly far too old for their mother to still be alive.
Nowadays, there is a different approach. When a resident with dementia says they want to go home, the best thing to do is open the door and let them go outside. ‘Once they’re outside, the urgency to get out is gone,’ says Baxter. ‘You can then go and rescue them by saying something like: “Oh hello, Mrs Jones. I live next to you. Would you like to come and have a cup of tea with me?”’
There are parallels between the care of children and those with dementia. If a child is playing a game that depends on imagining that a toy is real, you do not ruin things by telling them to stop being so stupid, the model car is not real. Rather, you enter into the child’s world in the same way that you should with a person with dementia.
Keeling agrees: ‘While you should never lie to people with dementia, if a resident asks for her mother, you could say: “Tell me about your mother. She sounds very special. Do you have a photograph of her?”’ The RMBI has sent one or two people from each of its homes to take the diploma run by Dementia Care Matters, while everyone else – from gardeners to trustees – have attended courses run by the Alzheimer’s Society.
Dementia Care Matters has awarded Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court its Butterfly Services kite mark. Launched in 2010, the kite mark is conferred after unannounced visits by auditors who ‘observe the quality of interaction between staff and people’ in a home. Six of the RMBI’s homes have received the award and this work is of the greatest value. By showing that there is a better way to look after people with dementia, the RMBI and Dementia Care Matters are performing a public service of inestimable value.
Armed forces day out
It was a special day out for Richard Penelrick and his mother, Margaret, when they attended the Armed Forces Day national event celebrations on Plymouth Hoe, Devon.
Almoner John Pritchard and Master John Speak of Lord Roborough Lodge, No. 5789, Plymouth, in the Province of Devonshire, in partnership with the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF), arranged the visit.
Richard, aged 35, is the son of Allen Penelrick, who was a member of Lord Roborough Lodge. He has ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) and was presented with a special wheelchair with a power-pack from the MSF in 2009. Margaret Penelrick is also receiving assistance via the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Advice Team.
Charity at 15,000 feet
It was a leap of faith for charity by Kevin Hutton of Horsford Lodge, No. 5339, Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, when he made a fundraising parachute jump for the RMBI 2017 Festival.
This was no ordinary feat, with a tandem jump from 15,000 feet over Hibaldstow Airfield in Lincolnshire, apparently the highest freefall jump in Britain. His efforts raised £600.
Cycling from south to north
Campaigning for charity can be exhausting, as Robert Crawford discovered when he spent 65 hours in the saddle to complete the 908-mile Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride for the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland 2016 RMBI Festival. Travelling the entire length of Great Britain, at an average speed of 14 miles per hour, Robert, of Trinity Lodge, No. 6730, raised the magniﬁcent sum of £1,700. A keen runner on the fells, he presented a cheque to both the Kendal Mountain Rescue team and the festival.
As we all know, time seems to go by at an ever-increasing rate and, with that in mind, our great celebrations in 2017 are not that far away. Just think, as the Mother Grand Lodge of the world, we will be the ﬁrst Grand Lodge to reach three hundred years – what a fantastic milestone.
On this subject I want to address a point of huge signiﬁcance. The Pro Grand Master in his last Quarterly Communication speech, which you can read in this issue’s Senior Insights, stressed that this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to celebrate the occasion is for everyone. It is quite simply the members’ celebration. To that end we will be working tirelessly with the Provinces and Districts to make this a memorable experience for us all.
Our magazine continues to go from strength to strength and this is supported by a recent online readership survey. We were particularly impressed that forty-six per cent of our readers’ wives and partners are now enjoying the magazine. I have also just heard that Freemasonry Today has been shortlisted for an award by an external body as a membership magazine that has made the most progress for its readers. This is fantastic news.
In this issue, we ﬁnd out about brethren who are inspiring communities, challenging preconceptions and contributing to society. We ﬂy back to the Second World War to ﬁnd out how Squadron Leader, mason and secret hero Jerry Fray played a covert but hugely important role in photographing the destruction wrought by the Dambusters.
We explain why RMBI homes are now using pioneering techniques that focus on the quality of life for someone with dementia. And we go along to the ihelp ﬁnals to report on how Buckinghamshire Freemasons are giving young people the chance to show they care about the communities they live in.
I hope you enjoy the issue and that you and your families have a wonderful festive season.
12 September 2012
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
I have recently finished the two yearly Regional Conferences that I have with Provincial Grand Masters. These are relatively informal affairs and cover a wide range of subjects. I find them extremely useful and they are kind enough to say the same – but, of course, what else could they say!
One theme that ran through them all was a determination to see our numbers on the increase by 2017. Indeed, in one or two cases, this has already started. This means that perhaps we are getting some things right.
I have said frequently that we must not be looking for new candidates simply for the sake of increasing numbers, but if we can start this increase with the right candidates there should be a knock on effect.
Enthusing new members is of paramount importance and we heard from Brothers Soper and Lord at the September Quarterly Communication about the work of the Universities Scheme. Following that talk I have asked the Universities Scheme Committee to think about how best we can implement some of the principles that were mentioned, across the whole Craft.
Recruiting and retaining young candidates is our most important task and I am confident that those who have made the Universities Scheme successful can help us with this important challenge. However this is not just down to them and we must all pull our weight in this respect.
Brethren, in November I visited my Great Grandfather’s mother Lodge in Hertfordshire and a splendid occasion it was, with an almost faultless 2nd Degree Ceremony being performed. I can almost hear you all thinking that they would have spent hours rehearsing. Not so, as they didn’t know that I was coming.
The reason for mentioning this today is that in the Reply for the Visitors the Brother speaking referred to the Craft as an altruistic society. Altruism is one of those words that I have often heard used and possibly even used myself without having been completely sure of its meaning. The dictionary definition is “regard for others as a principle of action”. Rather a good description for a lot of what Freemasonry is about.
If we can instil this ethos into our candidates, we won’t be going far wrong. Of course it is not all that we are about, but it is not a bad starting point, as it should naturally lead to a practice of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, which in itself leads on to our charitable giving, which seems to be second nature to us.
During this year the Festivals for our Charities in our Provinces have raised a total of nearly £10m, of which Leicestershire and Rutland raised £1.7m for the RMBI; Warwickshire raised £3.16m for the MSF; Cambridgeshire £1.285m for the Grand Charity and Devonshire £3.836m for the RMTGB. In these troubled economic times this, Brethren, is remarkable and I congratulate all those concerned.
I hope that our membership, as a whole, are far more familiar with the activities of all our Charities than might have been the case 20 or so years ago. The promotion of their activities by the Charities is excellent and the Freemasonry Cares campaign has enlightened many people at home and abroad about what support is available.
Whilst 3 of our Charities are Masonic in their giving, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that - quite the contrary in my view, the Grand Charity, of course, has a wide brief for giving to non Masonic bodies, provided that they are also Charities. Not everyone appreciates this aspect, or how much money is involved and we should be quick to point it out.
Brethren, since 2007 we have had excellent and amusing talks on the past at the December Quarterly Communication from Brothers Hamill and Redman and we should be proud of our history, but it is of paramount importance that we look forward and ensure that we go from strength to strength in the future in both numbers and our usefulness to the society in which we live.
Brethren, I wish you all a very relaxing break over Christmas, particularly if, like me, you will be having your Grand Children to stay.
After many months of painstaking work and dedication by Bev Niland, Home Manager, and staff, together with Karina Baldwin, Gold Standard Champion for Ecclesholme in Manchester, the Home has achieved their award. A presentation by Lucy Giles, Clinical Nurse Lead for Gold Standards Framework, was made at Manchester Town Hall.
Prince George Duke of Kent Court, Kent, has also achieved the Gold Standard Award.
This highly coveted award is the only one to be recognised by all Care Home Authorities and lasts until 2015 with yearly visits by the Framework Authority to check that the very high standards that this organisation demands are being maintained. Congratulations to all concerned.
The Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker and the Deputy President of the RMBI Chris Cain were welcomed to Tithebarn by Laurie Scott (Chairman of the Friends of Tithebarn) and the Home Manager Linda Johnson.
Ray Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Roy Pyne, Provincial Grand Almoner (West Lancashire), David Littlewood, Provincial Grand Almoner (Cheshire), along with many of the Friends of Tithebarn and their wives and partners were also in attendance, along with the chairmen of several groups from the Province: Frank Umbers (Ormskirk), Peter Levick (Bootle), Brian Henshaw (Southport), David Hawkes (Liverpool) and Harry Cox (North Fylde).
In his opening speech Peter said: “I am delighted to have been invited to open what I thought was to be called the ‘Garden Room’ but is now to be called the ‘Jubilee Room 2012’, which is this ‘Jubilee’ year.
"I still remember with pleasure my visit to Tithebarn in March 2009, when I was delighted to officially hand over to the RMBI Chief Executive David Innes the new ceiling lifting system in the Maude Sullivan Wing. After the handover, my wife Julie and I were pleased to take an escorted tour around Tithebarn, and we were most impressed with everything we saw."
He continued: “Linda, I congratulate you and your team on the continuing excellence of your work and I hear nothing but praise about the quality of care you unfailingly provide. This is a wonderful example of what we Freemasons believe in, kindness and caring for those in need.
"The Friends of Tithebarn are special people, and not only the Friends, because I am told that increasingly the wives have become involved. Laurie Scott's appointment to Grand Rank last week by the Duke of Kent was most appropriate, recognizing the work of Laurie and the Friends over so many years.
"I understand that during the past four years, the Friends have done so much to improve the lives and wellbeing of the residents. I make no excuse for making mention of their good works, because it is important that we celebrate what has been done and achieved: Refitting the main Ambulance and providing a smaller ambulance, supplying the Home with new curtains and throw-overs for 41 bedrooms, purchasing three new large televisions for the main lounge, the Maud Sullivan lounge, and the library, supplying a new bookcase for the library, and two new computers, two printers, laptop and corner desk for the quiet lounge, providing new garden furniture, including five benches and three gazebos, supplying a computer controlled VDU in the entrance hall to display the daily programme to residents and visitors, helping the Home Events Organiser with residents' outings, and also supplying and distributing Christmas presents, and lastly, and I think there is a list of volunteers waiting to help - cleaning the pond!
"And now, there is more, much more - a new garden room extension to the main lounge, which is of course why we are here today. I understand that the extension has been on the cards for a very long time, and I think that the work has been ongoing for the past 18 months. The Friends are contributing the magnificent sum of £50,000 in respect of the project and this will go a long way to meeting the overall cost. And the RMBI are paying the balance. Also, the Friends are providing the furnishings and fittings for the room. All this means more benefits for the residents providing more useable space and creating options, it means more space generally, more space for the holding of activities, and more space for the holding of specialised activities.
"I know that the home is very much indebted to the Friends and they are to be congratulated and thanked for everything that they do, particularly with regard to this new garden room extension. They in turn receive wonderful support from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ who continue to give so freely and so generously. All of this makes me very proud to be a Freemason. And it is good to see the chairmen of the groups involved here today.”
Chris Cain then gave a short address on behalf of the RMBI, in which he said: “As I visit the homes around the country, I am impressed by the hard work and support the ‘Friends’ give their homes, I really do thank the Friends of Tithebarn for their magnificent support of the home and for their part in the creation of this new facility for the residents”.
Peter then declared the new Jubilee Room 2012 open. He then joined the residents of the home in the new room where he cut the celebration cake.
The Friends of Tithebarn then presented flowers to the principal guests.
The RMBI carried out a major program of work on Tithebarn, which started in August 2010 and was completed in December 2011. The work included the installation of two new fire escapes to comply with fire and safety regulations, seven bedrooms were extended to include en-suite facilities, a new nurse call system was fitted, a new fire alarm system was installed, plumbing was replaced and the wing was rewired, a new bathroom with lifting facilities was created, a new staff room with changing facilities was installed and a refurbishment of the kitchens was carried out and a new general storage area was built along with a new office for the home maintenance manager.
To find out more about Tithebarn or the RMBI visit www.rmbi.org.uk
East Lancashire Province is doing a great job of raising money for the 2015 RMBI Festival thanks to Freemasons Steve Grummett and Ryan Yates. Steve will be completing the Three Peaks Challenge over the weekend of 22-24 June 2012. This involves tackling the three highest peaks in the home nations: Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales.
Meanwhile, Ryan will be completing a 12-mile assault course set by UK ex-Special Forces members. Participants need to run, swim, climb, crawl, and have to suffer being electrocuted and burned along the way. As a serving soldier with two tours of Afghanistan behind him we are sure that he is up to the challenge.
The RMBI has recently produced a guide outlining how to leave a gift in your Will. The guide contains useful information for yourself, your solicitor and how your gifts can be used.
The average age of an RMBI resident when they first move into our care homes is 88 years. Older people have complex care needs so we need to continue to develop our Homes to ensure that the care provided, the buildings and the Home environment meet the changing needs of older people as well as legislative requirements.
The RMBI is committed to providing high standards of care and support, both now and in the future, ensuring that residents get the most out of life whilst living at any one of our Homes.
Your gift helps to ensure that the RMBI continues to meet the needs of older Freemasons and their dependants by making sure that people choosing to live in an RMBI Home have a home for life, regardless of any change in their financial circumstances, as long as we can cater for their needs. Such a service gives confidence and reassurance to residents who take comfort in knowing they will be cared for in their old age.
Legacies are a vital source of income to the RMBI and fund about a fifth of all our charitable activities.