Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Opening Times

Our office will be closed from Wednesday 24th of December until Monday 5th of January.

Only emergency calls will be answered by during this period by our on call manager by telephoning 0845 0945 279.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014



Social Care Alba, is a registered Care at Home provider who has achieved the prestigious Investors in People Gold Accreditation, the most successful framework for business improvement through people in the UK. This represents a true commitment to employees and demonstrates a solid foundation of good practice which remains challenging and aspirational for many organisations.

Achieving the Gold level of Accreditation puts Social Care Alba in the top 7% of all IIP Accredited clients.  Social Care Alba joins an exclusive group of UK employers eligible to use and display the sought after Investors in People logo and plaque, and enjoy its benefits.

Commenting on the award, Stephen Wilson, Director said, “Everyone at Social Care Alba works tirelessly to improve the quality of peoples’ lives.  In return we believe in supporting our staff to achieve their full potential, whether that be through investment in research & development or education.”

Peter Russian, Chief Executive of Investors in People Scotland, said “This is a fantastic achievement for Social Care Alba.  I would like to congratulate the organisation and its people on their commitment to continuous improvement. Investors in People offers a flexible, practical and easy to use business improvement tool designed to help organisations and their people achieve their objectives. I hope that more organisations in the area will be encouraged to sharpen their competitive edge by choosing to work with us.”

Social Care Alba was established in 2011, and has since achieved a number of awards for quality and innovation.  It is recognised as a leader in the provision of support to people living in their own homes.  It currently holds the highest grades awarded by the Care Inspectorate, its industry regulator.  It has strong links with Edinburgh Napier University, and invests heavily in research aimed at improving the quality of care delivered to people across the world.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Design and Dementia

Age-related changes and impairments can make it more difficult to understand and navigate the built environment. These can be sensory, mobility or cognitive impairments, and sometimes a combination, which can affect functioning, behaviour, independence, and ultimately, quality of life.


BPA Architect - Liz Fuggle, on Hospital Design

The importance of design

Understanding such impairments is the first step towards creating living environments which support the needs of older people and those with dementia, keeping them safe from dangers such as falls, which can have a devastating effect on an older person; allowing the freedom and confidence to use their abilities to the fullest extent, in all things from the mundane to the creative; aiding memory in day-to-day living; and reinforcing personal identity.
The challenge is to design enabling buildings thoughtfully, with concern for the people who will live there.
Click the links below to find out about the importance of individual aspects of design.
Reproduced with the thanks to Stirling Dementia Centre

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Mens Health




  • Gland producing fluid that protects and enriches sperm
  • Immediately below the bladder, in front of the bowels. 
  • The prostate is doughnut shaped and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis.
  • In younger men the prostate is about the size of a walnut. 
  • The nerves that control erections surround the prostate. 

What is prostate cancer?
  • Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than normal, resulting in a tumour. 
  • If left untreated, prostate cancer cells may eventually spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes and bones, producing secondary tumours in a process known as metastasis. 
  • One of the most worrying aspects of the disease is that most prostate cancers develop without men experiencing any symptoms in the early stages.

What are the risk factors?
  • Gender: prostate cancer only affects men, as women do not have a prostate gland
  • Age: the older a man, the more likely he is to be diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • Family History: a man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer before 60 is twice as likely to develop the cancer
  • Ethnicity: increased occurrence in black African and Afro-Caribbean males
  • Lifestyle: poor diet and lack of exercise

What are possible symptoms?
Note: the majority of prostate cancers have no symptoms, and it is really only advanced cancers that have spread throughout the prostate (and beyond) that cause urinary symptoms such as:
  • Urinary issues (slow flow, hesitancy, frequency, urgency)
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Reduced ability to get an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
If you have any concerns and are experiencing any of the symptoms above it is important to contact your doctor and note that these symptoms are also common to many different conditions, not just prostate cancer.


What tests are available?
The purpose of testing is to detect prostate cancer at its earliest stages, before the disease progresses. 
There are currently two common tests available for initial detection:
  • Physical Examination (DRE: Digital Rectal Exam)
  • Blood Test (PSA: Prostate Specific Antigen)

The PSA blood test (PSA)

The PSA blood test looks for the presence of a protein in the blood that is produced specifically by prostate cells called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). The presence of an elevated PSA does not necessarily mean prostate cancer is present as there are other medical conditions that can lead to a PSA result outside the normal range. These include enlargement of the prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH) and inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis).
The Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

The DRE involves the doctor inserting a gloved finger in the anus, where it is possible to feel part of the surface of the prostate. Irregularities include swelling or hardening of the prostate, or lumps on the surface that may indicate development of a tumour or other problems. The drawback to this test is that the doctor can feel only part of the prostate during the examination, so some irregularities may be beyond reach and therefore missed.
If the results of the test are abnormal, your GP would refer you to a specialist (i.e. Urologist) to take a tissue sample in the form of a biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to determine if cancer is present. A doctor typically diagnoses prostate cancer after closely examining biopsy cells through a microscope and will inform you of the results. 
To test or not to test?
Our recommendation is to discuss your situation with your doctor to decide if testing is right for you. Together, you can choose the best course of action. As an aid to having this conversation, we worked with the Société Internationale d'Urologie on a tool to help men and their families navigate the decision making process:

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thank You Everyone

"A huge THANK YOU from Social Care Alba and everyone we support! 

Our Coffee Morning raised £150.84 in total for Macmillan. 

The money will provide those facing cancer the support they need."

Monday, 22 September 2014

World's Biggest Coffee Morning

The World's Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan Cancer Support's biggest charity fundraising event. Social Care Alba is taking part in it. We are doing this in memory of those we love and have or are fighting cancer.

On Friday 26th September, we are going to hold a coffee morning, where donations on the day are made to Macmillan. In 2013, 154,000 people signed up to coffee morning, raising a record £20 million for charity.  Come and enjoy coffee and cake, learn more about cancer and have support a good cause.  

FROM 11 to 3

Social Care Alba
Flat 1, 20 Lochrin Place

In the meantime, we are calling for volunteers to help prepare coffee and cakes on the day. If you are interested, please call me on 0845 0945 279 or drop an email to 

We look forward to being part of something special to all of us!

Monday, 1 September 2014

SCA First - Bio-metric Security Checks

We are proud to be the first Care Company in the country to introduce Bio-metric scanning of all employees. We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our service.  One of the most important of these is ensuring the people who apply to work with us are fully checked.

From September we will be introducing new automated security measures which will:

  • Check the authenticity of documents
  • Identify altered or fake documents
  • Check national and international databases
  • Verify the data held on bio-metric chips
  • Record fingerprints and visual identities

Our system uses advanced mathematical algorithms, colour wave-length technology together with an encyclopaedic knowledge of these documented IDs, to automatically process images captured by passport scanners to provide ID validation.

Social Care Alba, working together to raise the standards of care.

Stephen, Director

12 Ways to Eliminate Stress

The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day.

Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Sharon Melnick, Ph.D offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.

Act Rather Than React
“We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control,” says Melnick. It activates the stress hormone and, if chronic, wears down confidence, concentration and well-being.
She advises that you identify the aspects of the situation you can control and aspects you can’t. Typically, you’re in control of your actions and responses, but not in control of macro forces or someone else’s tone.

Take A Deep Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting or a visit and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. “It’s like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk,” she says.

 Eliminate Interruptions
“Most of us are bombarded during the day,” says Melnick. Emails, phone calls, pop ins, instant messages and sudden, urgent deadlines conspire to make today’s workers more distracted than ever.
While you may not have control over the interrupters, you can control your response. Melnick advises responding in one of three ways: Accept the interruption, cut it off, or diagnosis its importance and make a plan.

Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Most of us go through the day using a “push, push, push” approach, thinking if we work the full eight to 10 hours, we’ll get more done. Instead, productivity goes down, stress levels go up and you have very little energy left over for your family, Melnick says. She advises scheduling breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch at your desk or do a breathing exercise. “Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the buildup of stress and rejuvenate ourselves,” she says.

Eat Right And Sleep Well
“Eating badly will stress your system,” says Melnick, who advises eating a low-sugar, high-protein diet. “And when you’re not sleeping well, you’re not getting the rejuvenating effects.” According to the CDC, an estimated 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep, which is a critical recovery period for the body. If racing thoughts keep you from falling asleep or you wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep, Melnick suggests a simple breathing trick that will knock you out fast: Cover your right nostril and breathe through your left for three to five minutes.

Change Your Story
Step back and take a more objective view at the issues you face on day to day, you’ll be more effective and less likely to take things personally.

Cool Down Quickly
“When you feel frustrated or angry, it’s a heated feeling in your body that can cause you to react,” says Melnick. Instead of immediately reacting—and likely overreacting—she suggests trying a “cooling breath” technique: Breathe in through your mouth as if you are sipping through a straw, and then breathe out normally through your nose. Done right, you’ll feel a cooling, drying sensation over the top of your tongue. It’s like hitting the “pause” button, giving you time to think about your response. She says, “It’s so powerful it will even calm the other person down.”

Identify Self-Imposed Stress
“Learn to stop self-imposing stress by building your own self-confidence rather than seeking other’s approval,” says Melnick. If you’re too caught up in others’ perceptions of you, which you can’t control, you become stressed out. Ironically, once you shift your focus from others’ perception of your work to the work itself, you’re more likely to impress them.

Prioritize Your Priorities
With competing deadlines and fast-changing priorities, it’s critical to define what’s truly important and why. That requires clarity, says Melnick. It’s important to understand your role in the organization, the company’s strategic priorities, and your personal goals and strengths. Cull your to-do list by focusing on those projects that will have the most impact and are best aligned with your goals.

Reset The Panic Button
For those who become panic-y and short of breath before a presentation, Melnick says you can quickly reduce your anxiety with the right acupressure point. Positioning your thumb on the side of your middle finger and applying pressure instantly helps regulate your blood pressure.

Influence Others
Even if you’re responsible for your behaviour and outlook, you’re still left dealing with other people’s stressful behaviour, Melnick notes.
She advises confronting a problem co-worker or employee by stating the bad behaviour in a respectful tone, describing the impact on the team and the individual, and requesting a change.
For example, constant negativity might be addressed in this way: “When you speak in a critical tone, it makes others uncomfortable and less likely to see you as a leader. I understand your frustration but request that you bring concerns directly to me, so we can talk them through.” By transferring the ownership of the problem, you’re more likely to resolve it.

Be Your Own Best Critic
Some 60,000 thoughts stream through your mind each day, Melnick says, and internal negativity is just as likely to stress you out as an external event. The fix? Instead of being harsh and critical of yourself, try pumping yourself up. Encouraging thoughts will help motivate you to achieve and ultimately train you to inspire others.

Jamal, IT Guru

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Seven questions you may be asked in a care worker interview

Social care experts share examples of questions they ask candidates, and insights into the best way to answer them
Woman at a desk
Once you’ve landed yourself a care worker interview, how can you show you’re the right person for the job? Photograph: Alamy
If you like a challenge and no two days to be the same, then care work may be the perfect path for you. There are no specific entry requirements or qualifications, so it's a great option for a young person or career changer.
Whether the role is based in a hospital, day centre, care home or out in the community, your interviewers will need to establish if you're well suited to the position. So once you've landed yourself an interview, how can you show you're the right person for the job?
Most people go through life gaining experiences which are invaluable to this type of work, such as good communication skills, empathy and the ability to think on your feet. Showing this to a potential employer is key, so we've put together a list of typical interview questions you could be asked with expert tips on how to answer them.

Can you describe what you think a care worker does and what type of people or groups you might work with?

Maggie Hennessy, associate director of social care and education at HR company Penna: "This is a very open question and will show the employer whether the candidate understands the expectations of the job – you need to look up a job description and see what the role involves. It's a good test of whether they've done any research, especially if candidates are coming from a different country where the roles may differ."

Can you provide an example of how you've contributed to effective team working?

Roop Bhumbra, director of social care at Hays recruiters: "This is intended to show employers you'll work well with other social workers and your management team. It will also allow employers to find out if you have the softer skills and values for social care. The best example will show how you have listened to colleagues and supported them. Highlight positions of responsibility you had and how you supervised others. Preparation is key here so have an example that clearly shows why team working was important and how your skills influenced the positive outcome."

Can you describe a stressful experience you've had and explain how you coped with it?

Stephen Wilson, managing director of a care at home company, Social Care Alba: "It may not seem directly relevant, but we're looking to find out whether the candidate can identify stress in themselves and if they're good at problem-solving. You can give any example, whether it's a young baby keeping you up at night, a death in the family, moving house or planning a wedding, it doesn't matter. The worst response we hear is 'I never get stressed'. That shows you have no understanding or recognition of when a situation is complex or needs to be handled sensitively. We're not looking to catch people out, we're looking to find out whether they can recognise these situations."

If you were delivering personal support to someone, how would you maintain their dignity and respect?

Stephen Wilson: "This gets candidates to think about how the other person is going to feel. They need to show they can do the job empathetically, encouraging the individual to do as much for themselves as possible, while offering support. The most important thing is to always communicate. Show you understand what needs doing, but highlight that you would give the person the choice as to whether they want to have a bath or go to the toilet, for example. Explain how you would promote the person's independence and help them over time gain the ability to do more for themselves. It shows us the candidate has a deep understanding of the role."

Explain how your understanding of current legislation would inform your daily work

Roop Bhumbra: "Your answer needs to show an employer you have knowledge, experience and understanding of relevant legislation within areas like mental health or child protection. These are always changing so it's essential you keep up-to-date. You may then delve deeper into your areas of expertise in your answer. Refer to specific regulations or guidance, acknowledge why the legislation is important and how you would use it in the role."

Safeguarding is an important and topical issue. When going into someone's home, how would you know they are safe and healthy? If you felt concerned, what would you do?

Maggie Hennessy: "You need to explain what you'd look out for and the signs that someone is in a safe environment. For example, you need to look around at their surroundings; does the person look cared for, do they have somewhere clean to sleep, do they have food and water available, are there signs of abuse, and have there been any behavioural changes? The care worker would need to speak to the person to see if they reveal anything, and if they have ongoing concerns, report it to their manager. We need people who take the time to follow up with someone if they're worried."

Succinctly talk us through a complex child protection case you've worked on, where you have achieved good outcomes for the child involved.

Roop Bhumbra: "An employer will be looking to see you've understood and listened to the twofold question. It is common with such questions that interviewees get distracted answering the first part and forget about the second. Interviewers are not solely looking for case details; they want you to talk about the end result for your service user, and your role in delivering the outcome. Give an outline of the case, but place emphasis on how you were sensitive to the best interests of the service user in your actions and the outcome."
This content is was originally brought to you by Guardian Professional

Monday, 11 August 2014


To all staff, service users and families.  SCA's greatest social event this summer is just around the corner!

You are invited to join us at the SCA Summer Barbecue Party, which will be held on Wednesday 20th of August, 2pm to 4pm at The Meadows. 

Come and meet and greet our new team members whilst having a fantastic time.  Food, drinks, games and prizes provided. We also welcome your families and friends to join us.

We would like to remind you that the venue will be weather dependent.  If it is sunny we will hold the event at the The Meadows. If it is raining the venue will be changed to our office at 20/1 Lochrin Place. 

Please confirm if you are attending or not by sending an email to the office. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Social Care Alba and I.T

It wasn’t long ago when companies around the world utilised type writers as a way to speed up work, enhance productivity, and organise paper work.

Nowadays, computers replaced typewriters and introduced a revolution in the way we do work.

The basics are still the same, the documents are the same, and business is still the same, BUT now all this information can travel at literally the speed of light. 

Now instead of waiting for your mail to arrive by post, you simply click on a button to upload your entire history to this mysterious thing called “The Internet”.

Social Care Alba realise that compared to the giants of the industry we are a small business, but we are a small business with very big ambitions.  We are committed to utilise Information and Communication Technology to meet our business needs.

Our staff operate in different locations across Scotland, and if we relied on traditional methods there would be a big gap and delay in communication. 

This is one of the reasons why Social Care Alba aspires to enhance the way it connects its employees with each other and with the management, we are trying to utilise unique and different avenues for internal communication, such as social media.

When designing a social media strategy, there is always the question of “What social media outlet should I target? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? “

We decided to focus on Google+ as our main social media outlet.

We have also refreshed our Facebook and twitter pages, and I personally would be grateful if you go in a leave a like for our page.

We have plenty of IT projects in store for the future, and hopefully with your help, we will be able to achieve them all to the highest of standards.

Our aim before everything else is to make the life of our service users easier in the first place, but also help our staff do their jobs in the easiest most efficient way possible.

I hope you enjoyed this small brief about my work and our plans for Social Care Alba, and I hope that we will be able to achieve them together.

Jamal Issa – "IT GURU"