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When older adults lack a sense of purpose

Assisting Hands Home Care wrote on the 20th of October 2017:

“We all want to make a difference in the world and to feel that our lives have meaning. Yet as we grow older, life changes can make us feel adrift, without goals or purpose. We retire from our jobs. Our children are grown, maybe moved away. Disabilities might reduce our ability to take part in meaningful activities. And it doesn’t help that our culture routinely delivers ageist messages that older adults aren’t as important or valuable.

This is a serious problem, say geriatrics experts. Consider these recent studies, which show a sense of purpose is linked with:

A healthier brain. The American Heart Association reported that people who said their lives had meaning were less likely to suffer brain damage from a stroke. Study author Patricia Boyle of Rush University also noted that purpose in life could protect against dementia by building stronger cognitive reserve—the extra brain connections that delay the signs of dementia.

A longer life. A study published in The Lancet found that a meaningful life may lead to a longer life. Researchers from University College London found that among the seniors they studied, those who reported frequent feelings of a worthwhile life were 30 percent less likely to die over the course of the study. Said Prof. Andrew Steptoe, “There are several biological mechanisms that may link well-being to improved health, for example through hormonal changes or reduced blood pressure.”

More years of independence. A long life is good; a healthier long life even is better! A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that people who felt a sense of purpose in life were more likely to retain good physical function and independence, as demonstrated by grip strength and walking speed.

A stronger heart. A study by researchers at Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital found that people who reported feeling useful to others tend to have better heart health. The researchers paid particular attention to a series of Japanese studies on the concept of ikigai, which translates to “a life worth living.” They say that a sense of purpose can help our bodies weather stress, and motivate us to live a healthier lifestyle.

Better sleep. In July 2017, researchers from Northwestern University published a study showing that “having a good reason to get out of bed in the morning means you are more likely to sleep better at night.” They found that purpose in life improves overall sleep and lowers the risk of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia. They suggested enhancing purpose in life as a safer alternative to sleep medications.

These are just a few of the studies from recent years that should convince us to build a sense of purpose in our own lives, and to help senior loved ones do the same. Indeed, said researcher Patrick Hill of Carleton University in Canada, “There are a lot of reasons to believe that being purposeful might help protect older adults more so than younger ones. For instance, adults might need a sense of direction more, after they have left the workplace and lost that source for organizing their daily events.”

Helping seniors find meaning in life

We might think that seniors who are coping with health challenges would be less focused on meaningfulness—but that is not true. Geriatricians call for “culture change” in senior living communities, senior services departments and other senior care providers, recognizing that people who see themselves as passive recipients of care lose their sense of identity. Allowing people who receive care to give back by helping others enhances their well-being immeasurably.”

To continue reading the rest of the article, click here.


Founded in 2010 by Rob Jones  in response to a clear need in the South African retirement industry for specialist independent consultants, Shire Retirement Properties is focused exclusively on the retirement industry.  Shire provides a unique service to the industry through hands-on and dedicated advice and support, sometimes over several years as villages develop and become fully operational.


The Longitude Prize on Dementia

The Longitude Prize on Dementia


“Dementia is not a natural part of getting older. Dementia is caused by different diseases that affect the brain, which mainly affects people over the age of 65. It is a group of symptoms that often get worse over time and include:

  • memory loss
  • confusion
  • problems with words, language, and comprehension
  • changing behaviours and a need for assistance in everyday living.

Around 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia. The condition devastates lives, causing people a series of losses – of memories, relationships, and identity. That number is predicted to increase to 153 million by 2050. The chances of developing dementia increase with age:

  • 1 in 19 people younger than 65
  • 1 in 12 people aged over 65
  • 1 in 6 people aged over 80

Crisis points

Cognitive loss can cause a decline in independence, social interactions, and the ability to achieve fundamental daily activities. These not only create frustration but have a large impact and increase on their changing needs, such as assistance with their care needs, hospitalisation or entry into care homes.

Dementia progresses over time and can impact many different parts of the brain in different ways, people affected have highly varied needs that can also change over time. This makes it very difficult to offer the kind of tailored, appropriate support that can enable people to continue living at home and doing the things they love.

Beyond the typical associations with memory loss, dementia can affect many different parts of the brain and its effects are therefore highly individual. For some people, one of the first symptoms of dementia is difficulty with speech and word finding, which can have a significant impact on their ability to express themselves and communicate with others (expressive and receptive aphasia). Others may struggle with sensory issues and find themselves easily overwhelmed by auditory and visual stimuli.

People with dementia want to retain their independence

Unfortunately, this journey is often characterised by a series of losses – in abilities, independence, choice and autonomy. Many people with dementia would like to retain their independence, both to reduce the burden on their loved ones and carers and to retain their own dignity and sense of self. In the absence of a cure, we know that more innovative approaches are needed to help promote independence and maximise quality of life.

People can still live well

It’s important to try to stay positive. Despite its challenges, people with dementia can live fulfilling lives and don’t have to stop doing the things they love. There is practical and helpful support out there for people living with the disease and their friends and family.

About the Longitude Prize on Dementia

The Longitude Prize on Dementia called on innovators around the world to develop digital solutions that support people with dementia to remain independent for as long as possible.

The Longitude Prize on Dementia will be awarded to the creator of a breakthrough technology that learns from a person living with dementia, adapting and compensating for their condition as it progresses, and enabling them to continue living independently for longer.

The winning solution will be a digital device or service designed for use by people living with dementia as the primary users. It must be able to demonstrate a transformational improvement in the lives of users, helping them to retain independence in one or more of the areas that contribute to their well-being and quality of life, including essential activities of daily living, communication and social interactions; and other activities that enable them to lead a fulfilling life doing things they enjoy.

Using advances in science and technology, such as AI and applications of big data, the winning innovation will be tailored to individual users and adapt to their changing needs over a sustained period of time. These technologies must be empowering for the user, overcoming existing ethics, design, and technology challenges to develop a solution that is easy and enjoyable to use for people living with dementia as they transition through some of the pivotal transition points along the journey through the early to mid stages of dementia.

The initial entry took place from 26 September 2022 to 26 January 2023. Supported by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), finalists will participate in an independent study to evaluate the effects of their technologies on the lives of people affected by dementia. The evaluation will look at the processes of co-design and innovation.

From smart gloves to games: 175 brilliant ideas entered the prize, with solutions from every continent in the world. Solutions entered ranged from:

* Smart wearables, such as smart glasses to aid memory recollection through story-telling and facial recognition;
* Cognitive interventions, such as virtual reality games with reminiscing opportunities;
* Home and physical aides, such as artificial intelligent chat companions.

More than 50% of applications came from businesses whilst 18% stemmed from academic institutions and universities. Applications are now undergoing assessment.”

We are excited to announce that Shire is one of the three entries from South Africa with our Shire App. The concept of the App is to facilitate communication between

  • Employers,
  • Employees,
  • Clients and Family of Clients in the Retirement Sector.

The entry to the prize envisages a means to assist those living with dementia to remain independent for longer, by improving the understanding of their routines and by upskilling Careworkers specifically for their clients through an e-learning platform that is part of the App.




The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade

On 13 September 2021, published ‘The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade’ written by Jenna Ross:

“How is the Job Market Shifting Over the Next Decade?

The employment landscape is constantly shifting. While agricultural jobs played a big role in the 19th century, a large portion of U.S. jobs today are in administration, sales, or transportation. So how can job seekers identify the fastest growing jobs of the future?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects there will be 11.9 million new jobs created from 2020 to 2030, an overall growth rate of 7.7%. However, some jobs have a growth rate that far exceeds this level. In this graphic, we use BLS data to show the fastest growing jobs.

We used the dataset that excludes occupations with above average cyclical recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, jobs such as motion picture projectionists, ticket takers, and restaurant cooks were removed. Once these exclusions were made, the resulting list reflects long-term structural growth.

Here are the fastest growing jobs from 2020 to 2030, along with the number of jobs that will be created and the median pay for the position.

Occupation Percent employment change, 2020–2030P Numeric employment change, 2020-2030P Median annual wage, 2020
Wind turbine service technicians 68.2% 4,700 $56,230
Nurse practitioners 52.2% 114,900 $111,680
Solar photovoltaic installers 52.1% 6,100 $46,470
Statisticians 35.4% 14,900 $92,270
Physical therapist assistants 35.4% 33,200 $59,770
Information security analysts 33.3% 47,100 $103,590
Home health and personal care aides 32.6% 1,129,900 $27,080
Medical and health services managers 32.5% 139,600 $104,280
Data scientists and mathematical science occupations, all other 31.4% 19,800 $98,230
Physician assistants 31.0% 40,100 $115,390

Nine of the top 20 fastest growing jobs are in healthcare or related fields, as the baby boomer population ages and chronic conditions are on the rise. Home health and personal care aides, who assist with routine healthcare tasks such as bathing and feeding, will account for over one million new jobs in the next decade. This will be almost 10% of all new jobs created between 2020 and 2030. Unfortunately, these workers are the lowest paid on the list.”

We ask ourselves, how does this picture unfold in South Africa, and the answer is similar to the article written by Jenna Ross.

According to : Jobs That Will Be In Demand In The Next 5-10 Years In South Africa (4May 2021)

“Since technology and the rest of the world are advancing rapidly, it can be hard to know how the labour market will look like in the next five to ten years. Fortunately, according to the current progress, specific jobs with growth potential have become supreme contenders.

  1. Software Developer

A software developer is one of the fastest-growing jobs with best outlook. Unless you have been lying under a rock for the last 20 years, you already know the vast roles these professionals play in everyday life.

  1. Medical And Health Service Manager

A medical and health service manager role is one of the most-demanding jobs in the next 5-10 years. The healthcare industry is extensive and complicated and providing care for patients is only part of the job. A medical service manager’s role is to collect payments, schedule appointments, keep medical records and coordinate with other care providers.

  1. Post-secondary Teacher

A post-secondary teacher is one of the best careers for the future as people seek advanced education from every part of the world. College professors provide the final transitional resources between young adults and the real world. Students attend college to earn practical skills in their profession hence the importance of a post-secondary teacher. One of the most amazing things about this career choice is that it is something that one is passionate about. It is flexible and pays well.

  1. Nurse Practitioner

A nursing practitioner is a registered nurse with advanced training in primary care services. This way, they can perform certain functions ordinarily done by doctors, such as ordering medication, lab test and x-rays. Considering the importance of health, a nurse practitioner is one of the most-demanded professions, which will likely grow.

  1. Financial Manager

If you are looking for a career that will give you excellent financial stability, then one as a financial manager is one of the best. Remember that every firm, regardless of its size, requires someone to handle the money. And big business procures the services of a financial manager that is among the best-paying high-demand jobs in the next 5-10 years. Financial managers create reports and assist in directing the organization’s long-term financial goals.

  1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

As the world is going green, people are looking for renewable and sustainable energy solutions, and solar panels are one of the most popular. This has resulted in great demand for solar photovoltaic installers that promises a good salary. These professionals install solar panel systems according to the client’s needs and specifications.

  1. Wind Turbine Technicians

With a post-secondary non-degree award and sufficient on-the-job training, you can become a professional wind turbine technician. The profession is amongst the best career for the next ten years as people are going for renewable energy. Wind turbine installers install and maintain renewable energy systems.

  1. Personal Care Aides

Personal care aides are one of the most influential people in the health care profession. They serve the population requiring extra assistance with their daily living requirements. However, people in this profession concentrate more on non-medical services. Regular duties include meal planning, preparation, dressing, bathing, housekeeping duties and many more.

  1. Statisticians

A statistician is one of the fastest growing jobs with a bachelor’s degree. What does a statistician do? They analyze and apply data in a wide array of fields. Since they hold advanced knowledge in statistical interpretation, they are an integral piece of government research institutions and other firms.

  1. Physical Therapist Assistants

A physical therapist’s aide role is to assist the physical therapist with the patient’s appointment and set up equipment for upcoming meetings, among numerous other functions. The responsibilities also vary by the area of practice. One can secure a job in residential care facilities, private physical therapy offices or via government services.

  1. Bicycle Repairers

In recent years, people have discovered the importance of bicycle riding to their health and are adopting the culture. The prevalence of the practice has contributed to the rising demand for bicycle repairers. Ordinarily, bicycle repair technicians assess and solve maintenance issues of bicycles regardless of their complexity. Such professionals find employment in bike shops, sporting goods stores, non-profit organizations and other areas.

  1. Occupational Therapy Assistants

Have you ever thought of a career in occupational therapy? It is one of the best careers for the next ten years, considering the growing demand for occupational therapy. As the name suggests, an occupational therapy assistant aids the therapist with specific duties like stretching, rehabilitative exercises and many more.

  1. Informational Security Analyst

An informational security analyst is one of the most promising careers to pursue, considering the direction the world is taking. The development of technology and its adoption in various aspects of people’s lives has created a significant risk that information system analysts must review. A big part of this job is protecting computer networks and systems from cybercrime. Therefore, these professionals will install antivirus software and other safeguards to protect information.

  1. Accountants And Auditors

Whatever business you are in, you require your financial records to be in good order. One needs to learn if their business is making a profit or loss. That is where accountants come in – they help manage a business’s accounts, including taxes.

  1. Management Analysts (a.k.a. Consultants)

Managers always seek solutions to problems, and it is the analyst’s role, popularly known as the consultant, to make this happen. It is one of the best jobs with growth potential and with an excellent annual income. A management analyst is required to provide revenue increasing and cost-cutting solutions to make a firm more profitable. The profession pays pretty well, but it requires frequent travelling.

  1. Construction Managers

Construction managers are responsible for erecting new structures that are cropping up everywhere in a business-oriented environment. A construction manager is in charge of a construction project and ought to make all the operational decisions.

  1. Dental Hygienist

Dentists are integral in oral healthcare, and it is one of the most demanding jobs in the next 10 years. Everyone requires dental services at some point in their lives, so it is a demanding job.

  1. Civil Engineers

Civil engineers are vital to a country’s growth and citizen’s well-being. They are responsible for ascertaining that people have access to clean water in numerous circumstances like after a hurricane.

  1. Computer System Analyst

As the name suggests, a computer system analyst is responsible for all the computer-related activities in a firm. Firms usually have more than one computer systems analyst with different roles and a manager overseeing their operation. This is one of the most promising careers since all significant firms have computer systems.”

Shire is proud to be part of Project Scaffold.

Project Scaffold has been developed as a voluntary pilot programme that will gather and test results from ten participating frail care facilities to pave the way towards a new dispensation. The main objective is to develop a home-like environment that is person-centred and more affordable. We, like many countries abroad, believe that hospital-like care needs to make way for person-focused care. Project Scaffold, although not a crisis management tool, hopes to facilitate the sharing of best practices within the sector throughout the duration of the project.

A Care Transformation Toolkit (CTT) has been compiled for the use of those care centres selected to participate in Project Scaffold.

Support is available on request from the following participants:

1. Syd Eckley (Consult Age), a gerontologist and social worker who will mainly be responsible for assessing compliance in terms of Act 13/06.
2. Rob Jones (Shire), an experienced consultant on retirement living and associated services, including care.
3. Magda Pienaar & Yolandé Brand (true2you), specialising in facilitating the creation and/or implementation of person-directed care and organisational cultures.

To read more about Project Scaffold, click here.


Empowered Direct Care Staff: Lessons from the Green House Staffing Model

Susan C. Reinhard, Edem Hado, Barbara Bowers, Susan Ryan & Marla DeVries, wrote on 19 January 2022, for AARP: LTSS Choices: Empowered Direct Care Worker: Lessons from the Green House Staffing Model

“Green House homes, an alternative to traditional nursing homes, are best known for being smaller structures with just 10 to 12 residents that have the look and feel of a “real home.” But they also fundamentally differ in their workforce model, which is designed to improve the quality of work life for all staff, but particularly for the Shahbazim—the Green House home’s direct care team of certified nursing assistants.

The staffing model is unique and fundamental to Green House’s philosophy and results in positive outcomes for residents and workers alike. A national evaluation of the Green House model demonstrated that Green House homes consistently perform in the top tier of nursing homes on clinical/health outcomes of residents. (They have also fared much better than traditional nursing homes during the pandemic, with fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths.)

This report highlights those unique features, particularly the extra training and responsibilities that the direct care workers/Shahbazim receive. The coaching, supervision, and collaborative roles among the Shahbazim, Green House Guides, and nurses are starkly different from those found in traditional nursing homes and result in, among other benefits, significantly lower staff turnover rates.

Empowered Direct Care Staff: Shahbazim

The Green House model empowers the Shahbazim (singular Shahbaz, which also means “universal worker”) by focusing on key staff development areas such as enhanced training, consistent staffing, engagement and collaboration, and shared decision making.

  • Enhanced training. Unlike traditional direct care workers, Shahbazim have an additional 128 hours of specialized training in such areas as emergency preparedness, dementia care, and culinary skills including food safety and handling as well as “soft skills” such as communication.
  • Universal workers. Shahbazim work as a self-managed team of universal workers to respond to residents’ needs. They are trained to provide a full range of services and supports, including personal care, laundry, housekeeping, and meal preparation (which allows residents to enjoy favorite foods, rather than just what’s on the menu.).
  • Consistent staffing. The Green House staffing structure is designed to operate like a family, where workers are consistent and are intimately involved in residents’ lives. This leads to strong bonds between Shahbazim and both residents and their families and is fundamental to achieving a better quality of life for residents and staff.
  • The Guide. As the formal supervisor of the Shahbazim, the Guide is responsible for ensuring Shahbazim meet federal requirements for nursing homes, adhere to the organization’s values and procedures, and honor the Green House model. The Guide ensures high-level collaboration between Shahbazim, nurses, and other clinical support team members.
  • Engagement and collaboration between Shahbazim and nurses. The Green House staffing model operates through an ongoing collaborative/team relationship between Shahbazim and nurses, with the role of the Green House Guide serving to supervise the self-managed work team of Shahbazim. This frees nurses to be mentors and teachers, and to focus on clinical care.
  • Shared decision making. Shahbazim are equipped with problem-solving and decision-making skills and tools as part of their training. Leadership staff work with them to ensure decisions are value based, align with current regulations, reinforce quality care standards, and honor the resident voice.
  • A unique model of leadership. Green House Guides, nurses, other department managers, and additional leaders practice a coaching approach to supporting the Shahbazim with five elements: creates a valued relationship; presents an issue (for the Shahbazim to work through); gathers information to understand the nature of the issue; engages in problem solving with the Shahbazim; develops a plan of action and evaluation measures with the Shahbazim.
  • Shahbazim feedback in assessing the organizational practices. Each year, Shahbazim and other team members participate in an online assessment to evaluate the application of the Green House model in day-to-day practices.


It is also important to note that fairly compensating front-line caregivers is vital— regardless of whether they work in a Green House community. Historically low wages and thin benefits have forced many CNAs and other nursing home staff members to accept multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Finally, even if nursing home operators do not intend to alter their housing structures, they must examine their staffing model. Given the current workforce crisis, it is time to rethink traditional staffing models. Lessons learned from the Green House model can guide new thinking. Nursing homes can avail themselves of support from the Green House Project in order to apply the Green House principles.”

To read the full article, click here.

Founded in 2010 by Rob Jones  in response to a clear need in the South African retirement industry for specialist independent consultants, Shire Retirement Properties is focused exclusively on the retirement industry. To contact us, click here.

Project Scaffold: Revising the approach to Care Services within the older population of South Africa

 We are excited to share with you Project Scaffold. Work commenced last year to address the need to urgently explore a new approach to care services in South Africa. The development of Project Scaffold was a huge effort, involving several specialists.

What became clear is that especially frail care services require urgent restructuring. Never in our history has this sector been so close to total collapse, with reports of over 50% of available beds open and many facilities closing.

The sector must take the initiative to explore a lasting solution and cannot wait on Government for assistance. We believe that serving your own clients the best way possible, rests largely with you.

Project Scaffold has been developed as a voluntary pilot programme that will gather and test results from ten participating frail care facilities to pave the way towards a new dispensation. The main objective is to develop a home-like environment that is person-centred and more affordable. We, like many countries abroad, believe that hospital-like care needs to make way for person-focused care. Project Scaffold, although not a crisis management tool, hopes to facilitate the sharing of best practices within the sector throughout the duration of the project.

A Care Transformation Toolkit (CTT) has been compiled for the use of those care centres selected to participate in Project Scaffold.

Support is available on request from the following participants:

1. Syd Eckley (Consult Age), a gerontologist and social worker who will mainly be responsible for assessing compliance in terms of Act 13/06.
2. Rob Jones (Shire), an experienced consultant on retirement living and associated services, including care.
3. Magda Pienaar & Yolandé Brand (true2you), specialising in facilitating the creation and/or implementation of person-directed care and organisational cultures.

Please note that all participants in Project Scaffold undertake to share findings with the team leaders and other participating organisations. This is very important because the information gathered will ultimately be used to lobby the Department of Social Development for amendment of existing norms and standards.

It is our belief that true transformation of the care sector must come from ground level upwards. Operation Scaffold will seek to simultaneously promote and enhance self-regulation and also to help open new forms of care service, ensuring quality and affordable care for as many people as possible.

Once you have embraced and adopted the programme, you and your team take full ownership and are able to drive it forward either independently (in terms of completing the various steps and maintaining your own identity and intellectual property), and/or to make use of the Project Scaffold team’s services – at your own discretion.

Should you have any questions feel free to contact any of the team members. See full contact details below.

Hope to see you soon as part of the Project Scaffold adventure!


Project Scaffold Team

  • Project Scaffold Admin: Anneke Liebenberg – / (072) 349 8395
  • Consult Age: Syd Eckley –
  • Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd.: Rob Jones – / (082) 658-1402
  • true2you (Pty) Ltd.: Yolandé Brand – / (084) 940-8777
  • Magda Pienaar- / (062) 863-649

Click here for the Project Scaffold Guide

Click here for the Application Form



Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll!

Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll!

Brigit Grant From Jewish News, wrote on July 12, 2020, 6:32 pm:

“Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll! Care home residents recreate iconic album covers

Sydmar Lodge residents in Edgware pay homage to classic albums by artists including Madonna, Adele, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.

When activities co-ordinator Robert Speker, decided to recreate album covers with the residents at Sydmar Lodge in Mill Hill, he had no idea his photographs would go viral in hours and create a media frenzy.

Robert, 41, who has worked at the care home for five years was at work on Sunday when TV and radio stations started calling to ask him about the project which features the home’s Jewish residents replicating the cover poses of artists such as Madonna, Adele, Bruce Springsteen and Rag ‘n Bone man.

Robert, who previously worked at Kisharon was featured in Jewish News when he took resident Shelia Solomons to see Rag ‘n Bone Man and Shelia, who appears in the album collection as Rag ‘n Bone Man complete with tattoos painted on by Robert and as bassist Paul Simonon in The Clash’s album London Calling.

Born and raised in Newcastle, Robert who has been working through lock-down, almost missed the birth of his third daughter, Olivia on June 25 when his wife Aya went into labour while he was at the care home taking the final shot of Hilda for the Blink 182 cover. “My wife is very, very understanding,” says Robert who is always coming up with new ways to entertain the residents.

“I have taken them to the Ritz for tea and I am thinking of ways to get them an outing to a casino. A few weeks ago I hosted a 100th birthday for a resident with her family on Zoom. It was wonderful but sad because she should have had the party she deserved.” With plans to come up with more ways to make the residents happy, Robert set up a go fund me page.

“I did the project to make them happy and I think the models’ families have enjoyed it, with even grandchildren posting about their grandparents, but the risks of Covid means they could be in lock-down for a long time and I want to make it a good time.”

Since posting the covers on Facebook, Robert has been contacted by news agencies across the globe and will appear on BBC News in the morning, CNN and Channel 5 tomorrow. “Then it’s back to Sydmar Lodge to think of ways to keep the residents uplifted.”

To view the album collection, click here.

Shire is proud to provide a range of quality,  independent, personalised services to the retirement market – We look forward to being of service to you. To contact us, click here.

Search dogs being trained to hunt down dementia patients who go missing

Search dogs being trained to hunt down dementia patients who go missing

The Daily Mirror‘s Danny Buckland wrote on 2 March 2020:

Lowland Rescue in Swindon, Wiltshire, is training dogs as part of the Search Dog Heroes initiative, which will help the relatives of dementia patients.

Roo, pictured with handler Jo Armstrong, recently became the first dog in the UK to be trained (Image: North Downs Picture Agency)

Search dogs are being trained to track down dementia patients who go missing as part of a £1million scheme.

Around 100 are involved in the Search Dog Heroes initiative to help police, relatives and care workers bring vulnerable people back to safety.

The dogs are schooled for a year to 18 months and work with their owners, who are skilled handlers.

The first active search dog, Roo the labrador-springer spaniel, has already found a dementia patient who went missing from a care home in Berkshire.

The five-year-old and her owner Jo Armstrong, a volunteer with the Lowland Rescue service that is training the dogs, responded to the missing person’s scent that had been previously collected as a precaution.

Jane Brown of the Missing People charity said: “The dogs will be a great resource. Loved ones can be found quickly and returned home safely. The dog can be any breed. The important thing is their natural ability and enthusiasm.”

The scheme, funded by People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund, supplies kits for relatives and care staff to take scent samples from the hands on a sterile gauze that can be stored in a jar for up to a year.

Ms Brown added: “It’s a simple, non-invasive process. For the vast majority of people, it will never be used but it can be vital in emergencies and can also provide peace of mind for relatives.”

Missing People chief Jo Youle said: “These dogs will help save lives.”

Around 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and the numbers are projected to increase to 1.6 million by 2040, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Two dogs have been trained so far  but up to 100 will be deployed nationally over the year in a free service.

To continue reading the article, click here.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry. To read more about our services, click here.

Elderly mom died and left her money & assets to a friend that cared for her

Elderly mom died and left her money & assets to a friend that cared for her

“I can’t believe mum left all her cash to a friend who cared for her.”

Daily Mirror’s Coleen Nolan helped this struggling single woman who is ‘hurt and confused’ after her mum left her no money in her will but instead gave it all to her friend.


“Sadly, my elderly mum died a few weeks ago, but I was shocked and upset to find out she’d left what money and assets she had to a friend who had cared for her over the last couple of years of her life.

Of course I would have expected my mum to leave this friend something because she was so good to her, but not everything.

I’m a single woman and work hard to pay the bills, and my mum must have known that money would have helped me.

Also, it’s not just about the financial stuff – it’s the fact that she thought more of this woman than she thought of me. Well, that’s what it feels like.

Am I a bad person to feel this way when my mum died? It’s consuming my thoughts every day and I’m ­struggling to believe she actually did it.

I don’t want it to all be about money, but I feel hurt and confused.”

Coleen Nolan replied:

I don’t think you’re bad to feel this way and I understand you being shocked and disappointed, but I don’t think it’s going to help to dwell on it.

It was her money to do with as she pleased – she could have left it to charity but she chose this friend.

Perhaps she felt she wanted to give something back to this woman who had spent a lot of time caring for her.

I don’t think it means she didn’t love you and it certainly doesn’t mean she valued this friend above you.

In fact, she left you the things that really meant something to her – her wedding and engagement rings and other jewellery that was precious, and the family photographs.

Maybe there’s a message in that to you – this is what’s important in life: things that have special memories attached to them and to remind you of those important family relationships.

I think it’s hard for you at the moment because your grief is still raw, but hopefully, in time, you’ll be able to appreciate that she had her reasons for making these decisions.

I think bereavement counselling would also help you to come to terms with things.

To continue reading the rest of the article, click here.

To find out more about the difference between medical care and frail care, click here.

Shire offers assistance to Service Providers – Continuous personal development of staff servicing retirement villages, such as:

  • Carers
  • Managers
  • Trustees

To contact us, click here.

Residents choose the best candidate for the role as Deputy Care Manager

Residents choose the best candidate for the role as Deputy Care Manager

Residents choose the best candidate for the role as Deputy Care Manager

An architect and author who has lost his sight, a retired school teacher, and a former member of an Examination Board are on the hunt for a new deputy manager at the care home in which they live.

The panel of elderly residents who live at Renaissance Care’s Glencairn Care Home in Edinburgh, have teamed up with the home manager, to interview candidates for the role.

A former architect – Ian (94), is using his recruitment experience to help with candidate meetings. He will also offer a different perspective to each interview, using his loss of sight to deliver an unbiased approach that will allow him to pick up on aspects such as tone and hesitation as he listens intently.

Ian said: “It’s important that the future deputy manager is someone who is a supporter of the current manager and uses their initiative but takes no offence when any ideas are knocked back.”

The vision for the home has been decided by a committee of residents who will now make decisions on things such as recruitment, staff appraisals, décor, dining experiences and menus.

The staff at the care home live by the ethos that they are working in the residents’ home rather than the residents live in their place of work, and have committed to involving them in all future decision making.

Healthcare Business’ Viv Shepherd writes about: “Senior citizens take a break from retirement as they interview for their own deputy care home manager.” To read more, click here.

Shire offers continuous personal development of staff and others serving retirement villages such as Carers, Managers & Trustees. To contact us, click here.


Global Ageing Network members serving the aged

Global Ageing Network members serving the aged

A few Global Ageing Network members share their thoughts on challenges and successes in serving the aged in their own countries.

Care for older adults does not occur in a geographic vacuum, so although the issues that providers in one country face may not be exactly the same as those in other countries, there is still much to be learned from colleagues around the globe.

The Global Ageing Network connects providers and researchers from around the world in order to share information and collaborate with one another. In this spirit of teamwork, LeadingAge magazine interviewed a few aged-care leaders abroad—most of them Global Ageing Network board members—to get an idea of the services they provide and what the aging care landscape looks like in their countries.

Our very own Femada Shamam, CEO at The Association For The Aged (TAFTA) in South Africa & Margaret Van Zyl Chapman, director of strategic partnerships for the South African Care Forum were interviewed.

To read the rest of the article by LeadingAge, click here.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry. To read more about our services, click here.

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