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We’re all taught that oral health is essential to keep our teeth healthy but what does this really mean? Poor oral health can lead to malnutrition, pneumonia and a weakened immune system which can make it harder to recover from common illnesses. Studies are being conducted to see whether dental hygiene has any links to dementia. So how can we encourage better dental hygiene?

Domiciliary Dental Services

Getting people you support to the dentist is no easy feat. Dental practices aren’t always accessible, medical settings can be quite distressing and getting there requires accessible transport and extra staff. Instead of taking the people you support to the dentist, why not bring the dentist to you? Domiciliary dental services provide dental care right at home.

Oral Health Champion

Some local NHS trusts offer training on dental health for a few members of staff, appointing these staff members as Oral Health Champions. These Champions undertake the training and the responsibility of training existing and new staff.  Ensuring your service is working to the NICE guidelines and the Oral Health policy could also become part of the Champions’ role.


Activities are a simple and fun way to encourage conversations about good oral health. Brushing your teeth may not seem fun but, depending on the people you supports abilities, it can be! If you have any keen knitters, download knitting patterns for knitting teeth, tooth fairies or tooth fairy pouches for grandchildren, young relatives and friends’ children. Arty people could have a go at crafting teeth and toothbrushes out of leftover cardboard and painting them. If you have any connections to a local school or nursery, invite them over (Covid-19 permitting) for a lesson on mouthcare. You could even have a sensory afternoon of science experiments, making elephant toothpaste, growing plaque with yeast and sugar and, egg brushing.

The Nourish platform allows dental hygiene to be logged, tracked and managed and provides an Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) for new admissions. In Nourish, you are able to plan, manage and evidence dental appointments and visits and use the OHAT for regular reviews on the oral health of those you support. The Alerts and Warnings function can ensure appointments and reviews are not missed. Because dental health can have a significant impact on the general health of the people you support, the ability to monitor means early intervention is possible.

To find out more about how Nourish can benefit your care service, book your free personalised demo today!

Nourish’s Head of Customer Experience, Daniel Hollingworth, talks about the importance of a good night’s sleep, and what can be done to improve your quality of sleep as well as the people you care for. 

What keeps you up at night? Perhaps it’s a weak bladder, or the traffic from the street outside. For me it’s more than one cup of coffee a day and a young child who doesn’t seem to need sleep at all.

While the odd bad night’s sleep is normal for many of us, regular disruption to sleep can affect our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness. Other side effects of poor-quality sleep include sluggishness and slower brain function. This is why monitoring sleep patterns and trends is essential within a care environment, it can help us pinpoint areas for improvement and understand what it is that could be affecting sleep. But how to get better sleep?

What is ‘quality’ sleep?

Quality sleep is a combination of Rapid Eye Movement (REM sleep) and Non-REM (deep sleep), that allows for rest, rejuvenation and even solidifying memories. REM sleep is also essential for emotional and mental health. Sleep cycles take around 90 minutes, and you ideally want to have at least four of five cycles per night. The average person needs a recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, with the ideal amount sitting around the 8-hour mark.

How can we measure better sleep in care?

In a typical care environment, night checks are the norm, and waking state is recorded, and anyone else who appears to be sleeping is recorded as asleep. Although this gives an ok understanding of how much the person has slept or remained awake, it doesn’t actually look at the quality of their sleep.

With a wealth of technology available such as wearables and monitors, we are now able to track sleep quality with great accuracy. When you think of sleep tracking, people tend to think of fitness bands for the wrist, but there are a lot of affordable trackers available, from bedside table noise sensors, under mattress sensors and even wearable rings, these devices can all assess and manage sleep with convenience and comfort.

Why improve sleep quality?

Everything gets better with a good night’s sleep!

It has been shown that the regularity of your sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep you get at night. It is always better for your health to get regular sleep than to binge on sleep at the weekends, for example. We all feel more alert after a good night’s sleep, but when sleep deprived, the brain has a 40% reduction in capacity to learn.

Research being conducted by Jonathon Cedernaes from Uppsala University in Sweden suggests that sleepless nights can create an increase in an Alzheimer’s related protein called ‘tau’, suggesting a link between poor sleep patterns and more complicated health issues.

Good quality sleep is what boosts our immune system to help fight off disease, so when our sleep is compromised, so is our health. One of the most important factors in ensuring flu vaccines work is to ensure you’re looking after your immune system. Lack of sleep means your body may not be able to create enough antibodies to fight off the virus, therefore resulting in a higher probability of getting flu.

How can we improve our sleep quality?

Fortunately, there are many ways we can improve our sleep quality. Many care environments now encourage caffeine free hot drinks, and for good reason. In one study it was found that consuming caffeine six hours prior to bedtime reduces sleep time by one hour. So whether you’re looking to boost your own sleep patterns or wanting to improve sleep in elderly residents you support,  a simple change such as switching to decaf can make a difference.

This doesn’t sound that significant until you compare it to further research which found that heart attacks increase by 24% when the clocks go forward in spring at daylight saving time. However, when they go back in autumn, heart attack cases decrease by 21%. This really shows what a difference an hour of sleep can make.

So that swap to decaffeinated drinks really could be a life saver.

Drinking enough fluid is very important and many of the people we support have fluid targets in place for this very reason. Try to drink consistently throughout the day rather than trying to hit your fluid intake in the latter half of the day. The more fluid you drink at the end of the day the more likely you are to make that bathroom trip, breaking your sleep cycle. This also correlates with falls during the night.

Finally, one of the best ways to encourage quality sleep is to increase physical activity. Not only does exercise reduce stress, it has been shown to reset sleep/wake cycles by increasing then decreasing body temperature which triggers tiredness a few hours later.

Better sleep habits and getting good quality sleep is essential in ensuring the body and mind rest, repair and prepare for the next day. Do you monitor your sleep or carry out sleep assessments on those you support to help get better quality sleep in care? Let us know by leaving a comment below

According to the latest report published by Skills for Care, there are currently an estimated 1.49 million people working in adult social care across the UK. Everyday these carers make a significant difference to the lives of those they support. Often delivering so much more than just Health and Social care; developing strong relationships, providing companionship and in general improving the well-being of those they work with.

However, this skilled and unique position doesn’t come without its challenges, particularly in today’s difficult economic climate. It can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, so it is important for carers to take time out and focus on their own well-being. This isn’t always easy though, which is why it’s important for us as a society to take a step back and acknowledge the great work that is being delivered, and give something back to those who give so much to others.

Professional Care Workers Day…

On the 4 September, to celebrate the amazing work that carers deliver day in day out, the National Association of Care & Support Workers (NACAS), will be holding its second ‘Professional Care Workers Day’.

The national event, which is free to attend, will be held in London and will focus on the theme of ‘Well-being’. The aim of the day is to make carers feel special and help them to focus on their own physical and mental well-being. The day will offer free consultations and workshops with physiotherapists, psychologists, nutritionists, beauty and massage therapists, money and career advice, along with more ways to help care workers look after themselves and feel better.

But what is well-being?

According to the oxford dictionary well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’. It is no surprise that our well-being can be affected, positively or negatively, by various different factors. Knowing what these factors are means that we can try and do more of the things that increase our positive well-being and less of the things that negatively affect it.

What can be done to help well-being?

As we are all different our well-being will be effected in different ways, however there are certain things we can try to improve it:

Take time for yourself

As a carer, looking after your own well-being is just as important as helping to look after the well-being of those you support. Taking some time out to focus on yourself can have a significant impact on your overall physical, mental and emotional health. When we feel good in ourselves it often has a knock-on effect for those we interact with. So, take that time to make yourself a cuppa tea and just focus on yourself, get out for a nice brisk walk or get that early night you’ve been promising yourself.

How to attend the Professional Care Workers day…

If you’re carer or a provider who wants to celebrate the great work being delivered and are interested in taking advantage of the free services on offer at the Professional Care Workers Day, you can register here. If not you can still shout about and recognise those who make a difference every day on social media using the #ProfessionalCareWorkersDay hash tag.

Sleep disturbances can come from many different sources but those related to illness need extra care and consideration. No matter the condition, a foundation built on healthy sleep habits can help. Sleep hygiene, the term used to describe any personal habits and behaviours that affect sleep, ranges from the conditions of the sleep environment to food choices. The Sleep Institute have put together a list of healthy sleep habits and how you can use them for you and the person for whom you care.

Developing Healthy Sleep Habits

There are many illnesses and conditions that can interfere with how the brain releases sleep hormones. It’s most noticeable with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. However, conditions that limit eyesight also experience abnormal sleep cycles due to changes in how the brain receives light signals. Yet other conditions like diabetes and arthritis may face sleep problems due to chronic pain. You’ll have to consider the condition and unique circumstances as you’re deciding how to implement better sleep habits.

Predictable Sleep Schedule

The human brain craves predictability as it’s designed to adjust the sleep cycle according to your preferred schedule. Keeping a consistent bedtime helps the brain recognize when to begin the release of sleep hormones. The more predictable you can be the more readily your body responds.

Create a Simple Bedtime Routine

Routine creates familiarity and reduces disorientation. It also helps signal the brain that it’s time to start the sleep cycle. Try to complete any difficult or upsetting tasks earlier in the day so that bedtime can be relaxing for everyone involved.

Some people, especially those who suffer from chronic pain, benefit from relaxation activities like meditation in their bedtime routine. Meditation reduces the anticipation of pain and, consequently, the perception of it as well. It also reduces stress by helping the mind focus on the present moment rather than past or future stress-causing events.

Keep the Bedroom Familiar and Comfortable

A bedroom that’s familiar with each item in its place can bring the kind of comfort that reduces evening irritability. A supportive sleep environment should also be dark and quiet. Be careful with electronics that may have blinking lights. These devices, like a TV or smartphone, may have a screen that emits a bright blue light that suppresses sleep hormones. In general, they’re best left out of the bedroom. Anything that overstimulates the sense from images and colors to passing cars should also be removed or blocked out.

Make the Bedroom Safe

Illness or medications may cause hallucinations or fitful sleep, making some people prone to falling out of bed. Guardrails are a good option that will protect the person for whom you care and give you peace of mind. Guardrails can also prevent knocking over any necessary nighttime medical equipment.

Increase Exposure to Natural Light

Natural light regulates the sleep cycle by suppressing sleep hormones during the day. As natural light fades in the evening, those sleep hormones start to trickle out until they’re at full power come bedtime. It’s essential to get enough sunlight so the body functions as designed, which makes a walk outside a good form of exercise and a simple way to improve sleep.

If dimming eyesight or mobility that limits outdoor activity is an issue, exposure to natural light through normal means may not be adequate. Bright light therapy, which uses specially designed light bulbs to simulate sunlight, can be used to increase light exposure and regulate the sleep cycle as well.


Everyone needs and deserves a good night’s rest. As you incorporate healthy sleep habits into your life and the life of the person for whom you care, you’ll both get the rest you need. With better sleep comes the physical, mental, and emotional health that allows you to live a fulfilling life while providing high-quality care.

Without actively maintaining fitness and strength, day to day tasks can become increasingly difficult to carry out. A sedentary lifestyle in later life can produce major health implications, affecting everything from our bones, mobility and even eyesight.

It’s recommended that people over 65 should aim to spend 150 minutes on exercise each week and there are ways to stay fit no matter your age or ability. We have noted fun and different ways stay active as you age.

The Importance Of Diet

A healthy and balanced diet goes hand in hand with keeping fit. Food is what we use to fuel our bodies so eating the right types will give us with the energy needed to be active.

A poor diet can have emotional effects as well as physical, with studies highlighting a link between improvements in depression and anxiety when better eating habits are introduced. Changing the way you eat, opting for a more balanced and nutritional menu can help you avoid bad moods, lethargy, aches, pains and low energy levels.

Eating healthy simply begins with being more mindful,  this can mean taking a little more time to consider the types of foods you are purchasing, the size of your portions and keeping an eye out for consuming too much of a particular food group.

Types of Exercises

To get the most out of your exercise, you’ll want to stick to activities which increase your heart rate but are also low impact. High impact sports and exercise require some recovery time, therefore, a person may not be able to consistently do them. As consistency is key for fitness in later life, it is recommended that people over the age of 65 do activities which are considered low – moderate intensity, these types of exercises can be completed regularly and safely.

As you build your strength you can slowly work your way up to more intense exercises for a longer duration of time, challenging yourself as your body gradually adjusts to the change. Many people are surprised at how quickly activities they once struggled with now require little effort and energy, however, it’s always best to consult your GP before increasing your activity levels.


Increasing the number of steps you take in a day is a great way to improve your fitness levels without much planning or the need for any specialist equipment. Brisk walking is the best way to get your heart rate going, it involves walking at a faster pace than you typically would.

Walking exercise can be completed in a number of locations, a 15 minute brisk walking around your garden in the morning can help get your muscles warmed up for the day ahead, combine exercise and leisure by walking around and taking in the beauty of your local parks.Community walking clubs are also a superb way to socialise while you exercise, group exercise can help encourage and motivate you.

At-home Exercises
Exercises you can complete in your home are excellent as they allow you to keep active whilst remaining comfortable. Regular at-home exercises can improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina. Pieces of the furniture in your home can be utilised as tools to aid your activity and the weight of your body for resistance.

Exercises completed from sitting positions improve many aspects of your fitness including posture and back strength. Sitting exercises use the muscles in your upper body and work wonderfully for people with existing mobility issues.

An example of a sitting exercise :

Upper Body Twist

  1. Seated on upright on a 4 legged chair, place your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and place your hands on your shoulde
  2. Using your upper body turn your torso left as far is can go, never twist so far it becomes uncomfortable.
  3. Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat.

The upper body twist can help you build and maintain strength in your back and shoulders.

Standing is important for health, it encourages good circulation in the lower half of your body, with some studies indicating that standing for periods of the day can reduce risks of cardiovascular disease, and metabolic conditions.

An example of a standing exercise that can improve your fitness levels :

Sideways bends

  1. Standing up, position your feet hip-width apart, placing your arms on either side of you.
  2. Slide your left arm downwards towards the floor. Never slide so far it becomes uncomfortable.
  3. Repeat this move using your right arm on the opposite side of your body.

Heavy Gardening – This is an enjoyable at home activity that can also be counted towards your daily activity. Heavy gardening can be used as a form of resistance training without the need for high spec gym equipment.

Moderately large and heavy pots can be used as a substitute for weights, helping you build strength as you pretty your garden.

Exercising in water is a fantastic way to keep fit as you age, water provides relief during exercise, as less stress will be placed on your joints. People will often find that they are able to complete more activities in water for longer durations -so much so, water exercise provide pain relief for people with arthritis

We’ve listed some water exercises that are enjoyable and help you maintain fitness:

Swimming – Swimming laps raises heart rate and provides an overall work out for your body, strengthening your lungs and heart in the process. Your local leisure centre will likely have swimming sessions for different ability levels.

Water Aerobics – Water aerobics uses dancing to get your heart pumping, these sessions typically last between 45-60 minutes, 2 water aerobic sessions a week would put you well on track to hit the goal of 150 minutes of exercise.

Water Balance Exercises – A high number of people over the age of 65 have falls and accidentsmany falls are due to poor balance, the injuries sustained from falls can greatly affect mobility for years to come. Water balance exercise such as water Yoga and Tai Chi can help you improve your balance, the water will provide support whilst you build strength and control. These types of classes are very useful in helping older people maintain independence and are also brilliant for well-being and relaxation.

Adding simple exercises to your daily routine can have a lasting impact on your health as you age.Once the change is adopted, increased physical activity will just become a normal thing to do. Many people are motivated to keep up their fitness routine as they recognise the change in themselves – better moods, and increased physical strength can give a person confidence and a new vivaciousness for life. The long-term benefits of fitness for older people are extensive, exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way in warding off degenerative diseases such as dementia, reduces the risk of medical conditions that lead to stroke such as hypertension, and limits the risk of falls and subsequent mobility issues.

The Good Care Group is a Live-in care provider rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. They provide excellent care, support and companionship to help you continue to live safely and comfortably in your home. Find out more about live-in care by The Good Care Group by visiting or contact them on 020 3728 7575

More and more we are openly talking about the importance of Mental Health, and this critical change in our culture is having a wide-reaching and positive impact. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s focus is all about stress and how we cope with it. Stress, and the resulting physical and psychological factors, can impact significantly on our mental health.

One of the most common causes of stress is work-related; that is, establishing a good work-life balance. In fact, work-related stress, depression and anxiety caused 12.5 million days sickness in 2016/17 alone.

While finding a healthy work-life balance can be difficult in almost any profession, this becomes even more challenging if your work focuses on taking care of others. Care workers, whilst also managing stress that comes from day-to-day work responsibilities, must also navigate the complex, emotional investment that comes from taking care of another person. And whilst caring is a highly rewarding role, it can also be overwhelming at times.

So to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week we wanted to remind care teams that, while you are out taking care of others every single day, it’s so important to take care of yourself too.

Below we’ve put together our five top tips for managing work-related stress:

1. Identify the cause; communicate the problem

One of our biggest tips for managing work-related stress is to try and work out exactly what it’s being caused by. Are you spending too much time working? Doing a few too many extra shifts? Are you being asked to do something you don’t feel equipped to do? Is there a specific situation or scenario that is causing you anxiety? It may not be easy to pin point the exact cause, but having an awareness of where the stress is coming from is a great first step to tackling the problem. Then communicate that problem. Talk to your line manager, your mentor or any member of staff that you feel may be able to help. Explain how you are feeling and what support you think you need. The worst thing about stress, and the resulting anxiety, is that it makes you feel isolated from others. Everyone experiences stress, and opening up and talking about the stress you’re feeling can be a great way to find the support that you need and tackle the root of the problem.

2. Live healthy

We all know we should take care of ourselves. Eat well, drink plenty of water, do exercise; we know the score. The reality is these things really do matter when it comes to tackling stress. Taking care of yourself means living healthily and when you are healthy and energised, you are much more equipped to deal with day-to-day pressures. Eating a balance diet keeps us healthy; doing exercise releases endorphins or ‘happy chemicals’ which reduce our perception of pain and triggers a positive feeling in the body; and it is well documented that good hydration helps balance cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It’s a simple tip, but it’s important. Eat well, drink your water and get yourself moving regularly. If you’re not feeling your healthiest self, managing stress becomes that much more difficult.

3. Get some sleep

This falls under taking care of yourself but we think it’s so important it needs its own section. Sleep is one of the most underrated health habits, which is surprising considering it is an essential function of our daily recovery. Sleep and stress have a two-way relationship; sleep can help to reduce stress levels, whilst high stress levels can make sleeping difficult. It is believed that most adults need 7-8 hours sleep, and without it we are more agitated, have less patience and are less able to deal with pressured and stressful situations. To make the most of the benefits of sleep, you need a good sleep routine. Set a clear bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it; allocate time before going to sleep for winding down and relaxing (keep away from screens where possible!); and avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Establishing a healthy sleep routine takes time to develop but the benefits are definitely worth the investment; just think how about how much better you feel after a good nights sleep.

4. Build and make the most of strong relationships

Stress can make you feel isolated. It gives us the impression that we are dealing with pressures that we must tackle by ourselves; which couldn’t be less true. You know the old adage “a problem shared is a problem halved”? Well research by Age UK really has found this to be true. Above, we suggested talking to people at work about your concerns, but you can also talk your close friends and family. Don’t let stress cut you off from other people, talk to those you trust about what you’re experiencing and you’ll be surprised by how much it helps. Not only that, you just might find they have the solution you’re looking for.

5. Do something just for you

Our final tip is our favourite; make time to do something just for you. This could be once a day or once a week, whichever works. As a carer, you spend most of your time taking care of others and supporting others to do what they want. This is the time when you get to do whatever you want, without interruption. This could be absolutely anything. Maybe you enjoy going to a yoga class, maybe it’s putting on your favourite TV programme or maybe it’s simply going for a walk on your own. What you do is not important. What’s important is that you understand this is purely for you, it’s the time when you get to think only of yourself and recharge your batteries.

Take care of yourself

Providing care for another person is immensely rewarding, but it does take an emotional toll. Remember that it’s perfectly normal – essential even – to take time to look after yourself. Your mental and physical wellbeing is just as important as the people you support; after all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

We hope you’re celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week too and we’d love to hear all of the top tips you have for managing work-related stress.