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A thank you letter from Ted’s niece Anne

Trying to find a suitable care home for a loved one is not easy; it can take many months of painstaking searching and until it was suggested to me that the time had come when we should be considering a residential care home for my Uncle, I had not realised just how difficult a task this might prove to be. My Uncle suffered from dementia and was finding it increasingly difficult to cope on his own. Armed with a brochure of ‘recommended care homes’ I set off to visit a number of residences in an attempt to get an idea of the type of secure accommodation that was available and which would be suitable for an elderly man now in the advanced stages of dementia. I was startled by what I encountered and felt extremely down-hearted and concerned that I may just be searching in vain for a retreat that came anywhere near to my expectations.

Then three months into my search, and now under extreme pressure from the hospital to move Uncle on because of the desperate need to free up beds, I was told that the Devonshire Dementia Care Home in New Malden had a vacancy. From the moment that I stepped over the threshold of no. 213 Malden Road I knew that this had to be the right place; the atmosphere was homely and the welcome I received was warm and friendly, unlike anything I had encountered previously. The premises were fresh and clean, there was an energy amongst the staff which gave the impression they enjoyed their task and really cared for their residents. Following a guided tour of the house and after chatting with some of the staff, I felt more than confident that the Devonshire would be the right choice and Uncle would settle in happily, and how right I was.

During the seventeen months that Uncle Ted was a resident, I visited the care home on a regular basis and have never felt disappointed in coming to that conclusion. The Devonshire is a vibrant and busy place. There is always something going on, be it the coffee/tea trolley coming round, laying the tables with a little help from residents in preparation for lunch, or an activity session being organised. Fresh air drives seem to be very popular and there is never a shortage of enthusiasm for these outings - the hallway is always filled with excitement and activity prior to departure. A popular event on the calendar is Christmas Party time which is eagerly looked forward to by many of the residents who obviously enjoy all the fun of the occasion. It would be fair to say that the staff at the Devonshire have thought of everything and have come up with a programme of activities that endeavours to stimulate and motivate the residents so that there is always something to look forward to and is inclusive of everyone.

annE's thank you in her own words

Caring for dementia sufferers is a very specialised area and requires heaps of patience but the staff at the Devonshire always find time for the individual needs of the residents. Certainly the quality of the care my Uncle Ted received was excellent from the beginning. Unfortunately, he was bed-ridden for the last twelve months of his life but the care and attention he received was always professional and second to none. The kitchen staff work extremely hard to provide the residents with a varied daily menu of good quality freshly cooked meals that are appetising and nutritious. Everyone is kind and friendly at the Devonshire, an important factor when caring for the elderly, whatever their condition, and they respond well in this environment. In Ted’s own words he said ‘everyone is smiling and laughing here, they are very kind to me and they help me. I like it here, I like my room, it is very clean and the food is nice. I am happy’. For a man who suffered from dementia, to describe his circumstances in that way says so much about those who cared for him. The change in him in just a short time following his admission was incredible and it was a joy to hear him acknowledge that he was happy there.

I have never regretted the decision I made to admit my Uncle to the Devonshire and without hesitation, I would happily recommend anyone looking for a suitable residential home for their relative to consider the Devonshire Dementia Care Home. I am sure you will not be disappointed.