Sunday, 30 June 2013

Mah-jong and early onset dementia


I have tried many brain training games since my diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia, but the one which seems to keep me focused the most is Mah-jong.

I originally picked this up from one of my Granddaughters who has a border form of Asperger’s syndrome and she was so focused on doing this that I thought I had to try doing it. She actually spent time sitting next to me showing me what to do, which was fine till I tried to do it on my own.

I have now become accustomed to it and enjoy doing it most nights after tea instead of switching off for the night.

It is good for many reasons but I do think that once you realise it is pairing things up it becomes easier to fathom and can become addictive if you are not careful.

I had lost some of my brain training games when we were flooded at home last year, and could not find replacements, but this has helped me, and to be honest it is better than sitting in front of the television as it all seems to be rubbish these days and the BBC news is not inspiring as it’s all murders and wars, there is nothing cheerful these days

I would recommend people who have just been diagnosed early these days to try this as it can actually keep you thinking. My only problem these days is my eyes as I have a problem with double vision, but I cope by closing one eye.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Surge in 'digital dementia'

Taken from this weeks news

I knew that we were becoming more reliant on assistive technology, but this is quite frightening.

Doctors in South Korea are reporting a surge in "digital dementia" among young people who have become so reliant on electronic devices that they can no longer remember everyday details like their phone numbers.

  Doctors in South Korea are reporting a surge in "digital dementia" among young people who have become so reliant on electronic devices 

That is now developing into the early onset of digital dementia – a term coined in South Korea – meaning a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.
"Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, told the JoongAng Daily newspaper.
"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped," he said.
The right side of the brain is linked with concentration and its failure to develop will affect attention and memory span, which could in as many as 15 per cent of cases lead to the early onset of dementia.
The situation appears to be worsening, doctors report, with the percentage of people aged between 10 and 19 who use their smartphones for more than seven hours every day leaping to 18.4 per cent, an increase of seven per cent from last year.

More than 67 per cent of South Koreans have a smartphone, the highest in the world, with that figure standing at more than 64 per cent in teenagers, up from 21.4 per cent in 2011, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Dr Manfred Spitzer, a German neuroscientist, published a book titled "Digital Dementia" in 2012 that warned parents and teachers of the dangers of allowing children to spend too much time on a laptop, mobile phone or other electronic devices.

Dr Spitzer warned that the deficits in brain development are irreversible and called for digital media to be banned from German classrooms before children become "addicted."
Over the last few years it has been claimed that mobile phones cause us problems, so is this now coming true even though the professionals say its rubbish.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Better day

I have just had my first good nights sleep for around two months, without any horrible dreams or nightmares.

Although I am still feeling very tired, I do feel better in myself after a good nights sleep, and feel like I have had a bonus.

I will probably be back to normal again tonight, but as the saying goes, That's life.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Dementia is a cruel illness,

I have just read an article about the mind or brain playing tricks with us when we have dementia, and there are times when I confess that I really hate the illness.

I have problems with horrific and very vivid dreams and nightmares at nights, and sometimes end up getting out of bed, and then I sit in either a room downstairs, or in the bathroom till I think its safe to go back to bed. The problem then starts, what is still the dream and what is reality as I can not always work it out, as one seems to merge into the other.

I have seen things which I know are not there are times  after these bad dreams and nightmares, and it gets to the stage at times when  I just want it all to end, as these horrors of the night as they seem to go on for ever and there is no getting away from them.

I know that we all have nightmares and bad dreams, but these things have now taken on a roll of their own. Most people have a bad dream and then its gone, where these ones I have are so vivid that I can sit down and explain them out in detail the following day. Yet the bare no resemblance to reality.

There are other times when I feel as if I am being got at by my wife and others, then later on, after either having it all explained in detail, or after I have sat down and thought  it through,  I realised that my brain had not taken on board what was being said in the first place. Its horrible when you think everyone is getting at you, and it ends up being your brain which has not worked it out properly.

I sometimes read e-mails etc, and get the wrong answer? so after reading them 3-4 times and getting a different answer each time, I ask my wife to read it and explain it to me .This is distressing when I think I used to write reports, budgets and estimates at work, yet my brain is now a moth eaten wreck.

Writing things can also be a headache these days as I tend to miss words out, and its down to the fact that my brain is trying to work faster than my hands these days. Its only when I go back to check what I have written and then I realise words are totally missing

I sometimes repeat telephone numbers, or prices in shops, and its amazing how many times I get the numbers all mixed up and in the wrong order.

When I go to meetings I have to think carefully about what has been said, otherwise I come out with the wrong answer, simply because I did not understand what was being explained?

Sometimes I panic when being asked a question and the wrong words come out.

Modern buildings can be a complete nightmare to many with this illness and signage does not help, as its either too modern or there is simply too much of it to take it all on board

 One of my main concerns is reading a toilet sign when I am on my own and this can be distressing on the days when I am not feeling very good.

The only way I can get my head round this is to tell myself that a man has two legs, where the ladies toilet sign has  a person with what looks like one leg and a skirt.

Saying that I would be in serious trouble if I was Scottish because as we know they themselves wear kilts

Having said that we went to a building a few weeks ago and found that both ladies and gents toilets had very modern signs, both of which had pictures both of which had one leg, one appeared to have a dress, the other I was not sure, but we guessed it may be the gents. 

As well as that many hotel call their rooms by different names, so you have to start trying to understand what the name means there before going any further.

I often think that hotels could be more dementia friendly if each floor was a different colour so even if you forgot the number, you could find the right floor by looking at the colour, but perhaps that will never happen.

When I was working as an engineer I understood that all signs were to be standardised, but this did not happen, and it’s seems that many modern hotels do things to suit themselves.  I have been in some which have two toilet signs on each door which is even more confusing.

As far as road signs are concerned my problem is that each time I look at a sign I read something totally different, but I think that's the illness playing its usual tricks.  But it can cause confusion when my wife is driving and I try to read a sign.

One thing I really hate is going into a hotel and finding it has a full length mirror on the wall, especially if the room stays fairly light at night, as you sometimes get up and see the reflexion of a door in the mirror and sometimes make the mistake of trying to walk into it.

Others have very large mirrors in the bathroom so you see two of everything, and in one particular hotel it had a large vanity mirror on the wall behind the taps, and it was the following morning that I realised that I could see myself sat on the toilet which gave me quite a stir as I had not realised that it was there till I was sat minding my own business.

This is one of the major problems many like myself have, as we don’t always see the obvious, until it’s too late.

Many people struggle with modern buildings, and I find them to be a nightmare at times especially if they have marble floors, as I sometimes see things which are not there.

It’s all due to the design, but some people think that we have a form of 3d vision, which allows the brain to think items are lurking in the design such as large worms, snakes or that we think there is a crevasse in the floor when there is a different streak running across it.

Along with that escalators and revolving doors are things that are a no go around because it becomes a nightmare trying to judge the right time to move through them

When I am doing a project at home I try to work it all out first, as I know that I am not as fast as I used to be as an Engineer. Yet its amazing just how wrong things can go.

I am not frightened of dying, simply because I know one day it will come. But I confess to being terrified of this illness when it starts to get worse.

Is this illness real or just another very long and nasty nightmare which I will hopefully wake up from.

Does this brain of mine have its own sense of humour, or doing what it wants irrespective of my,
I don't know but I laugh it off sometimes and others I just want to cry

Sunday, 23 June 2013


I often wonder how carers cope with their unexpected role of being a full time carer for someone with dementia or any neurological illness.

Those of us who are married all went through the marriage vows etc, in sickness and in health, but nothing prepares you for what is to come like dementia.

Its a job they are untrained to do, as everyone goes down this route with different experiences, vastly different symptoms and problems. We are all totally different and no two people with any form of dementia are the same.

I personally don't think anyone could train you how to do the job, as its all down to the individual and their symptoms and problems, and no one size fits all.

Its a bit like trying to train a nurse or social worker to look after someone with the illness, where do you start, there is so much to take on board, then you need to change it all with the next patient who is totally different.

I often talk to trainee nurses etc about my Lewy Body Dementia, but as with all dementia's no two people with Lewy Body dementia are the same.

Caring is a job which is theirs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year without a break.

In the early stages life can as we know it go on as normal, but then there are times when we need that extra bit of support and help, but don't need it all of the time.

I say this because we all need occasional support with things in the early stage but don't necessarily want someone there all of the time, because we want our own freedom and that is very important.

Being able to call on someone when we need it, and being allowed to do our own thing as and when we want providing of course that we are safe to do so.

It must be difficult for any carer to decide when we are safe to do something ourselves, and when we need to be watched for safety.

Like many people with the illness, I can be suborn and feel that I can do things on my own, and in many cases it will be fine, but then there are times when the wheels come off, and the unexpected happens. Is it then the carers fault, or is it my own because of my pride.

I do think its all trial and error, because its only by trying things that we understand when its time to let go and stop being so independent.

Its through trial and error that I have been able to let go of some of my hobbies and pastimes, because as my consultant said early on. If I cannot do something I enjoy one day, leave it and try on another day, if that fails try again.

If on the third time it still fails, leave well alone as life is too short to get stressed trying to do the impossible.

Through this I have learnt to let go myself, but my wife also knows when I am  not up to doing certain things and supports me when I feel upset at not being able to do something, that I have done well for years. There are times when she may suggest that I let go, if she thinks it is becoming too much, but on the whole its down to me, as I am always thinking of my own safety, although that does not always work.

Even though as an Engineer I spent time doing Health and Safety and Risk  Assessments, I can still now get it wrong

Its a difficult balancing act for the carer, as they don't want to be too protective, otherwise we may stop doing things and then give up fighting the illness too early.

These people have a lot to put up with and they should get more respect and support from the Governments, as they save the public purse millions of pounds each year. Yet in reality they get very little support at all as no one really cares about them apart from charities which can give support and guidance when needed sometimes desperately.

To me all carers are angels and I admire their courage and determination

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia

Each case of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is as individual as the person who suffers from it. Different people will show different combinations of symptoms.

At present a diagnosis of DLB can only be confirmed by autopsy but a careful clinical evaluation of the patient and his or her symptoms can, in many cases, form the basis for making a reasonably confident lifetime diagnosis.

The symptoms of DLB can be grouped as central, core, suggestive or supportive [1].
The central symptom of dementia with Lewy bodies is dementia , or progressive mental decline serious enough to interfere with normal daily activities. Significant memory loss may not develop until later. There may also be problems with attention, problem solving and spatial awareness. This can easily be mistaken for Alzheimer's disease or for Parkinson's disease (PD) with dementia.
Core symptoms: Dementia along with the existence of one of the core symptoms listed below can lead to a diagnosis of possible DLB. Two of the core symptoms in addition to dementia and the diagnosis of DLB is probable.
  • Fluctuating states of consciousness

    Typically people with DLB will experience extreme swings from alertness to confusion. These occur unexpectedly over any period of time, from minutes to days. If a person who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease can sometimes play cards or follow a game of cricket, it could be DLB instead.

  • Visual hallucinations

    Two-thirds of patients with DLB experience vivid and recurrent visual hallucinations. For some people these are pleasant visions of animals or small children but others have terrifying, threatening hallucinations, which cause them - and their carers - intense distress.

  • Spontaneous Parkinsonism

    People with DLB experience motor difficulties seen in PD patients such as slow movement (bradykinesia), rigidity and falls but sometimes do not experience the tremor which is characteristic of PD. With DLB there tends to be greater difficulty in walking, balance and facial impassiveness than in PD [2, 3]. In both diseases the patient may suffer from autonomic symptoms such as sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing, difficulty in swallowing , incontinence or constipation [4, 5].
Suggestive symptoms: One or more of these symptoms in addition to one or more core symptoms can lead to a diagnosis of probable DLB. One or more suggestive symptoms without any core symptoms is enough for a diagnosis of possible DLB.
  • Disturbances in REM sleep

    REM sleep is the deep sleep in which people dream. A certain amount of good, undisturbed REM sleep is necessary in order for people to function efficiently. DLB sufferers may talk in their sleep or act out their dreams. Some times this is so marked that the sufferer may fall off the bed.

  • Severe sensitivity to neuroleptic drugs

    Sometimes people with DLB are prescribed neuroleptic (anti-psychotic) drugs to help with their symptoms. This should only be done by someone experienced in the illness as many of these drugs can be extremely harmful or even fatal to people with DLB (see Treatment).
Supportive symptoms: These may assist in a diagnosis of DLB but are not conclusive in themselves.
  • Fainting
  • Falls
  • Problems with swallowing or continence
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Other hallucinations ( hearing, smelling or feeling things)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

GENERATIONS came together to give a home a new look

GENERATIONS came together to give a home which cares for people with dementia a new look with a nostalgic twist.

Students from Seaham School of Technology worked with the Cedar Court Care Home in Portland Avenue in the town after its bosses decided the elderly mentally infirm (EMI) unit it runs for 12 residents needed to be updated.

Images of the town’s harbour, a painting of a woman and girl in a poppy field and mining banners feature in the murals created by the nine Year 10 pupils.

A poem by staff member Elaine Hargrave about dementia will also be painted on to a wall.
Before the artwork was created, leaders from the home visited Seaham School to discuss the plans and the issues and illnesses its residents face with the children and their teachers.

Caroline Cook, the home’s activities co-ordinator, said: “I was looking for new fresh ideas for the EMI, and I thought about making it more colourful and something a bit different and thought some art and murals would look really good.

“The school was excellent. The students were really good when they came in and were listening to music as they painted, and the older people loved it.

“These paintings will help trigger off their memories.

“A lot of people can’t remember what they did yesterday, but this gives them a bit of a window to their past, the pits and the area’s mining history.”

Old photos of the area’s past have also gone up on the walls thanks to help from the Heritage Centre in Horden.

Well done this is amazing to see and hear

Friday, 21 June 2013

New website at Alzheimers Rsearch UK

British charity Alzheimer's Research UK has launched a website giving families of people living with dementia information on new research and treatments for Alzheimer's and related diseases.

The site – The Lab – takes the form of a virtual laboratory and hospital, a 3D environment offering text, slideshows and videos about how research is funded, clinical research and new treatments.

Visitors to the site are able to sign in using their Facebook details, although it's not a requirement. Those that sign in will also see friends' profile photos in the site's intro film, and can post a pledge of their support for dementia research on their Facebook walls from within the site.

"We felt there was a bit of a gap in trying to get public information about the research process itself. Dementia research turns up in the media with varying levels of accuracy in how some of those studies are presented," says Tim Parry, the charity's head of communications and public affairs.

"We wanted to put some context to what people are seeing in the news, so they get a clearer idea on what constitutes a breakthrough, or how a particular piece of research fits into the overall chain."

The new website has a large potential audience. Alzheimer's Research UK estimates that 820k people in the UK are currently living with dementia, while more than 40% of the population has a close friend or relative with the disease.

The charity already has a website offering information and resources to people with dementia and their families, with The Lab aiming to complement that rather than replace it.

"We wanted to explain the process from scientists having an idea, through to it becoming a treatment, and we wanted people to be able to move through the environment, rather than along it in a left-to-right timeline" says Parry.

"The site shows exactly what the real-world environments look like, but you're in control of how fast you move through them. We've tried to strike a balance between it being cool, interactive and pleasing to use, but not being bewildering – including for people with dementia."

Alzheimer's Research UK hired Brighton-based digital agency Tilt to design the site, working with the charity's science communications officer Laura Phipps on the project.

"Dementia is too commonly brushed under the carpet as an issue that exclusively affects the elderly, but we know it's families affected by this as much as the individuals," says Parry.

"People want to know what's going on, and take heart from the fact that research is taking place, and scientists are out there trying to do something to help them. We're very excited about the role The Lab can play in communicating this."

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Problems with my eyes

I have not done very much with the blog recently as I have been struggling with my eyesight.

I have had double vision problems and need to see a specialist next month, so they can decide whether its  down to my dementia or something totally different.

I got involved with a project looking into eyesight problems in people with dementia, and they decided to send me on to the eye hospital for more tests, to see what my problem is and what's causing it.

I have been to London for a meeting on the Dementia Action Alliance, and had to make sure that I did not stand too close to people, otherwise I am straining to look at the "right face" in front of me as I see two, and that is very off putting to say the least.

So if I went cross eyed this week I apologise to those people who were at the meeting, because it was well out of my control

This was also stopping my reading as it becomes very difficult top read unless I sit with one eye permanently shut

Its bad enough trying to speak properly without trying to control my eyes at the same time.

So I decided to give the blog a miss apart from posting a few bits from the daily press when they were discussing dementia.

I am hoping that this will clear very soon so that I can get on with my life again

17-21 June - Falls Awareness Week

17-21 June - Falls Awareness Week

Lady on floor after falling

This week is the annual Falls Awareness Week co-ordinated by Age UK.

Repeated falls are common for people with Lewy body dementias (LBDs), either dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinson's dementia. Falling can be a very early symptom of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and may occur with or without trigger. It can be related to parkinsonism (e.g. slow movement, rigidity and problems walking), cognitive fluctuations, or to ‘blood rushes’ or ‘dizzy spells’ (orthostatic hypotension) seen in 3-5 out of 10 people with DLB;

Around half of all people with DLB will experience 'freezing' while they are moving, They stop suddenly for no external reason and can feel as though their feet are stuck to the floor or that they can’t move easily, which can make them feel unsteady and puts them at risk of falling. 'Freezing' can last for a few seconds or minutes.

Parkinson's UK's fact sheet on Falls goes into more details about the link between parkinsonism and falls and provides useful suggestions for avoiding falls.

People who have an LBD can struggle with movements that they have been doing all their life because changes in part of the brain called the Basal Ganglia affect their ability to prepare for, start, time and organise the sequence of movements. They may have difficulty in doing two or more habitual tasks simultaneously or in 'set shifting' (changing their movement or thinking in response to changes in the environment). It is also common for people with a Lewy body dementia (LBD) to need more time for mental processing.

Turning around can be a particular problem. People without a movement problem can normally turn around to face behind them (turning 180 degrees) in two or three steps. But people with parkinsonism may need to take four, five or more steps.

When looking at spaces in your home and in moving around, create/look for enough space for the person with an LBD and another person to move beside them, if they need help. Aim for a gradual rather than sharp change of direction, as people with an LBD can have trouble adjusting to shifting their weight.

Falls are also more likely when the person with an LBD is reaching above their head or below their knees or rising from sitting down.

For more help, talk to a physiotherapist about how to enable the person with an LBD to keep the best posture they can, be as stable as possible and about how to provide 'cues' (prompts) to help them move around. To help the physiotherapist understand why the falls are happening and work with you to prevent them occuring, it can be useful if you keep a note of:
  • WHEN the person with an LBD fell
  • WHERE they were when they fell
  • WHAT they were doing at the time
  • WHAT they/you think caused the fall
  • HOW they landed (direction)
  • HOW they got up again

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Guidlines for being interviewed by the press

Press comfort

Make people feel at home without any distractions

Noise causes us problems when thinking

Speak directly to us

Don't ask a question, and then answer for us as its disrespectful, but allow us enough time to think things through.

Never rush the questions as the wrong answer may come out.  

Make sure that the person asking the question does so in a calm and sensitive nature, and does not speak loudly or shout.

Do not walk round in front of us

Have comfortable chairs and sit in an area, where we can see each other without having to look in front of others, preferably facing each other

Have plenty of breaks and do not run on too long as it can be tiring

Explain the process very carefully so that it’s understood and don’t use technical jargon or bi words.

Never have a camera right in front of someone’s face.

There must be a way of stopping the process if we are unsure about the questions, or have made a mistake in the way we answered

If possible do a trial run first so, that we can see what you are going to do

If you have a list of questions you wish to use, let us see them in advance, so that we have a chance to think it over. 

Remember that some parts of our lives may be private or sensitive, and we may not wish to discuss things of this nature

If you intend to edit anything please say so, and if possible allow us to see it before it goes live, as the press sometimes change things to suit themselves, and it may not come across as we intended






The lessons Japan has for the UK on dementia

In the papers this week


The lessons Japan has for the UK on dementia

  • Share1     
    Japan introduced a compulsory long-term care insurance system in 2000 to help cope with its ageing population.
    Jeremy Hunt's recent visit to Japan passed almost unnoticed in Britain. Yet the issues he discussed with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, and the health minister, Norihisa Tamura, touched on a problem that is likely to dominate social policy in the next decade: dementia care.

    One in four of the Japanese population is over 65. By 2050, the proportion will be 40%. There are already 4.6 million people with dementia in Japan. Britain, with 10 million people over 65, has 800,000 people living with dementia, at an annual direct cost to the Treasury of more than £10.2bn pounds. By 2050, Britain is expected to have around 1.7 million dementia sufferers.

    Not surprisingly, the condition has been a prominent concern to past and current policymakers. In 2009, the Labour government unveiled an ambitious dementia strategy, which aimed to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers through greater understanding within society and improved services.

    Last year, the coalition government also emphasised the need to improve dementia care, with David Cameron launching his "challenge on dementia", which identified three major goals: better health and care, fostering "dementia-friendly" communities, and improved research.

    Initial successes included a substantial increase in primary care trust funding for dementia care, but subsequent cuts in government spending resulted in reduced funding for the condition (although involving less reliance on the controversial use of antipsychotic drugs).

    Discussions in Whitehall about finding new, yet cost-effective, initiatives have been informed by Japan's experience. There, politicians and policymakers have focused on educating the public (even the term "dementia" was outlawed) by recruiting and mobilising volunteer dementia "supporters", and implementing a new national compulsory long-term care insurance system, offering enhanced services for people with dementia.

    In Japan, within seven years of its inception in 2005, nearly 4 million people had already completed training as volunteer supporters for the country's dementia-affected population. The aim is to have 6 million supporters by 2017.

    The long-term care insurance system introduced in 2000 attempted to cater for as many people with dementia as possible, with the aim of meeting their social as much as their medical needs. Ringfenced additional funding for the new system – from taxation and insurance contributions – was intended to guarantee improved, and theoretically fairer, access to care for eligible dementia patients, who pay a flat-rate 10% user fee.

    So-called group homes, seen as promoting active living in a supported environment – similar to an extended family – are common. Pivotal to this system is the "care navigator", who is responsible for co-ordinating integrated health and social care, and for ensuring access to round-the-clock home care, nursing visits, day centres, group homes, respite care and rehabilitation. Reinforcing the entire system is a well-developed network of day centres (the world's best per capita provision), including dedicated facilities for dementia care.

    Both Labour and the coalition government have attempted to borrow aspects of Japan's approach. The search for a cheap means of buttressing dementia care has arguably been the greatest attraction of Cameron's "befriending" scheme – clearly modelled on the Japanese dementia supporters. Unveiled last February, the scheme aims to recruit 1 million volunteer "dementia friends" by 2015. Himself an early volunteer, Cameron sees the initiative as being at the heart of "dementia-friendly communities", one of the three pillars of his dementia challenge.

    But professionals question how relevant volunteer "friends" are to British needs. Many prefer the existing system of Admiral nurses (analogous to Macmillan nurses specialising in cancer care), who give specialist care to dementia sufferers and back-up to their carers. Highly trained, and so relatively expensive, these nurses are employed by the NHS, but their numbers have been affected by public spending cuts.

    Assumptions that Japan can provide a model for Britain in managing the dementia timebomb may be misplaced. Crucially, Japan has not evolved a robust system of evaluating the quality of care. In contrast, Britain's approach has emphasised rigorous inspection. Organisations such as Dementia UK and the Carers Trust repeatedly stress the need for adequate support for dementia carers in order to guarantee a good quality of life for patients. Significantly, Japan has not yet produced any comparable networks of support for carers.

    On the other hand, the Japanese voter typically expresses mature views on how care should be funded. The assumption is that high-quality services must be paid for. The high degree of consensus on this question is reflected in widespread support for the mandatory insurance system.

    But in Britain, successive governments have avoided increases in direct taxation to fund the social elements that form such an important part of care for dementia sufferers. Equally, it is taken as read in Japan that the entire system of accessible care should be properly funded and the cost shared between government (through taxation) and society at large (through insurance contributions). It is a lesson that Britain might usefully consider.

    Mystery benefactor and hard work leads to first year success for dementia charity fundraisers


    Mystery benefactor and hard work leads to first year success for dementia charity fundraisers             
    Mystery benefactor and hard work leads to first year success for dementia charity fundraisers 
    The determination of a group of local fundraisers and the generosity of a mystery benefactor has seen £60,000 raised for Dementia UK in just a year and has led to the recruitment of two specialist nurses who will support those suffering from the condition and their carers.

    Dementia UK Cornwall celebrated its first anniversary this week and shared the news that the two new Admiral Nurses should be in post in Cornwall by the end of the summer.

    The Cornish support group was set up by Shirley Barnicoat and her daughter Lisa Dann following the death of her husband, Paul, in January of last year. “He had been suffering from dementia for several years and we thought we would try and get an Admiral Nurse in Cornwall,” said Shirley.

    We asked how it could be done and were told we’d have to raise £60,000. We were all determined, and with some really good helpers we have raised £30,000 in the first year.”

    Lisa, who is chair of Dementia UK Cornwall, added: “The folk of Cornwall have been very generous, not just of heart, but of pocket as well. We also have a private benefactor who said that when we reached £30,000 they would match fund us, so we can now say we have raised over £60,000.”
    At Monday’s anniversary gathering at the St Michael’s Hotel, the total raised for the year stood at £29,400 until HSBC stepped forward with a cheque for £1,069 which had been raised by staff and customers at branches across Cornwall.

    Admiral Nurses are mental health nurses who specialise in dementia and have skills and knowledge to support family carers. Two will be recruited in an innovative partnership with Cornwall Care, but will be available to everyone.

    “You do not have to be a Cornwall Care client to access an Admiral Nurse,” said Joanna Westley, head of fundraising and communications at Dementia UK. “There will be a telephone number that anyone can call.”

    Joanna was full of praise for the Cornish group. “Dementia UK is delighted with the success of the fundraising efforts in Cornwall,” she said. “The generosity of the Cornish supporters has been truly heart-warming.

    “To have raised £60,000 in one year is absolutely amazing and unique in Dementia UK’s history. It is the result of a year of tremendous hard work and singular determination.”

    Compliments also came from MP Sarah Newton who said: “It is with great pride that I have been able to represent the work you do.

    “You have done an extraordinarily good job in raising what is a remarkable sum of money.”





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