Oak House

Oak House

Oak House exists as a resource for those sufferers from dementia and their carers by way of offering a programme of positive stimulation within a secure and intimate home setting. Experience has shown that it is not sufficient just to care for persons with this condition – if abilities are to be maintained as far as is possible then active stimulation of mental function is of the utmost importance. The Responsible Person for Oak House, Dianne Smyth, has not only personal experience of caring for a family member with dementia but has, for the past twenty seven years, also been involved in caring for people suffering from dementia within a residential home setting. This has given her an unique insight into both the personal and business aspects of their care.

The Oak House is, quite deliberately, restricted to just eleven residents. It has become a trend over the past decade or so for care homes to become ever larger in numbers but the risk in that is individual care can become compromised within an institutional setting. High quality individual care is best assured with well trained staff looking after no more residents than they can comfortably cope with.

The core principle of care at Oak House is an empathic, psychosocial approach that mirrors, as far as possible, the environment of the resident's own home. Sufferers from dementia, as part of the process, have an altered view of the perception of reality from others. It is not productive to try to reorientate that perception to accord with the more normal view or, indeed, to try and suppress it with medication. Either of those approaches end with frustration for both carer and sufferer.

A psychosocial-based programme, on the contrary, is a communicative strategy. It's principle is that it matters little that perceptions differ between carer and sufferer - what's important is the establishment of a communication that allows both to exist together. Frustration, and the difficulties of behaviour that follow, are thereby minimised. Staff need a high degree of training for this approach because it is not something that everyday experience prepares us for. But, in the right hands, it can be very rewarding.