Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Spring has come again

It seems to have been a long winter, but I guess that's because of my on going chest problems and osteoarthritis in my hip, but spring is here again

It's so nice to see leaves forming on the trees and flowers popping up in the garden.

So now it's time to get out with my camera again, and see the changing colours, and things like spring lambs, as spring moves on and summer gets closer. 

Must admit I am looking forward to summer, in the hope that it is warm this year.

I cannot walk as far as I used to these days, but at least I can walk until I have to stop, usually 3-4 miles at a time, but at least I am trying to remain active.

It's been a while since I was out with my camera, so it's a case of remembering the settings again, and then getting on with it. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Tory party and 24/7 Health Service?

Today we had the news headlines that the National Health Service was going to be operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week "if" the Conservatives are re elected.

With all due respect, people have been taken ill all hours of the day for a long time, and have been treated, so just who is this Tory leader trying to convince.

It's not new, it's all things that they tried to cut back with savage cuts, now they are trying to say, it's all going to be new,  if they are re elected.

I may have a nuerological illness similar  to dementia, but even I know, that we had all of this just a few years ago, untill this government and the last, started getting involved in something that they know very little about.

Mr Cameron had decreed that people with dementia would get a diagnosis with in 6 weeks, and that doctors surgeries will be open longer, just to state two things that I can remember, but where is the extra money, and the extra doctors coming from.

The doctors complained rightly because like other illnesses, they were being forced into diagnosing people early, and at one stage the government were going to pay doctors to diagnose people earlier and faster, but then that was thrown out, because it was unworkable

The national health service is top heavy with managers and quangos all attached to the NHS, and it's these groups who are taking the money, not the doctors or the hospitals, as many people think.
There are so many government quangos and management departments hidden within the NHS, and it's these departments , which need to be cut before they go any further, because these people who get the gold plated pensions and extremely high salaries, etc and drain the system.
If Mr Cameron had any common sense or sense of memory, he alone would know that Mrs thatcher go rid of these quangos, yet they have all come back again

 Chief executives at hospitals also dictate what the money will be spent on, yet they are not qualified to work in the hospitals. 
They get vast salaries, yet they are never accountable to anyone, it's always the doctors of nurses who get the blame for failings.

If we want better services we need to remove all of these managers and have doctors and nurses in charge, because they know what is needed, and do not need a high profile unqualified manager telling them what to do.

It's also time that political parties stopped using the NHS as an election tool, and spoke the truth, rather than saying something that is totally untrue.

The hospital service is apparently in a worse condition that in was under Labour, but when we consider all of the cuts in services over the last 5 years it's hardly surprising.

 We now also hear that there are going to be extra billions of pounds in new cuts to the benefit system, much of which affects the disabled, the carers, the people who really need these benefits. 

So just how can this government tell it anyone it really cares about our country, the health service, the poor and the elderly. 

The NHS is in the mess it's in now through british politicians, who have meddled all the way through, yet they have done nothing constructive to help it run better.

Yes we need a good health service, run by the right people, not money grabbers or big business, and 
we should make sure that all future changes should be discussed in parliament, between all of the parties, and not as it happens now, in small committees locked in small rooms, away from the rest of the country
it's our money, and we are paying these politicians, so they should do what we want, not what they assume we need. 
That's nothing better than a dictatorship telling us a pack of lies just to win an election. 

Media and dementia

Everyday we get more and more headlines of a new drug or a new cure for dementia, but just how many of these are correct.

The British media seem hell bent on making people living with this illness, look for hope when there is none there.

We also get continuous reports of this diet or that stops the illness, it's nothing new, but has gone on for the last few years, yet no one stands up to them and stops this happening.

One moment it's brilliant, then the next it's rubbish and could never work.

These people are total fools acting as is they has positive information, when it is all about a good headline just to sell their papers.

I get very annoyed when I look at newspapers and see these daily cruel headlines, and I am sure that I am not the only one. 

Last week I sent a direct e mail to Mr Cameron, in the hope that he will do something.

 He is supposed to be a Dementia a Friend, but I do wonder just how far he goes when it comes to this illness.

 Like many I do feel that he is using this illness to deflect from the mess he has made of the National Health Service, because he keeps holding meetings but does not listen to those with the illness, especially when it comes to their concerns.

I am convinced that he is terrified of standing up to the media, possibly because they have something on him, which will eventually come out.

He had the ideal opportunity to do something when the last media inquiry was held, but chickened out of it.

So I am not holding my breath waiting for a reply to my email, because I do not think he is interested.

I did get one email saying it was being looked into, and a second telling me it had been referred to the Department of Health, but implying that if I was not happy I should contact  the independent   press standards commision, in other words.

 He may be a Dementia Friend but that's as far as he will go. It strikes me that he is using Dementia as a political tool and nothing else.

The media have to learn, that by spreading these headlines, in the press they are saying that there is hope when we all know that, this is a very long way off. 

Alzheimers Research UK are doing there best to come up with answers, but even if they found something, we all know it will take years to get through the government departments red tape in the UK, and be licensed for use in dementia

This is a very difficult illness to diagnose and until the researchers at Alzheimers Research really understand this, they will never come out with a good answer to a cure. But they are working hard trying to find the holy grail so to speak. 

So please please please stop the media from telling complete lies just to fill their pocket at our expense.  

Friday, 27 March 2015

RIP plane passengers

Today I have thought a lot about all those killed when the German plane crashed, and found it so very hard to understand how someone with an illness can be allowed to fly a plane like this.

Many people are stopped from driving a car when they have some illnesses like dementia or nuerological illnesses, yet people can fly a plane carrying hundreds of passengers. 

Perhaps the laws need to be changed so that we are all on a level playing field, and all controlled by the same set of regulations.

I know that my licence is reviewed every year as do many others with this illness, and I will not get into the drivers seat if I am not feeling up to it. 

Perhaps I think didfferently to many I don't know, it's the thought of killing someone else that worries me. 

But sadly it seems that this man for what ever reason went out to kill all in his aeroplane, and this leaves me wondering about his state of mind, and why no one had spotted anything strange about him.

So very sad

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Feeling rough

After last week when I felt rough, but I thought things would have cleared up by now 

However over Sunday things got worse, so my wife asked for a doctors appointment to get it sorted out.

The doctor gave me a thorough examination, and then after hearing me say that I did not want anymore antibiotics, he decided that enough was enough, and has refered me to see a chest specialist. I confess that the doctors have been saying this for two years, so it's taken long enough, but hopefully I will get an answer. 

This last session has dragged on since November, in which time I have been given 6 courses of antibiotics, but it got to the stage I felt so ill that I did not want to take any more

This has been going on for the last 3-4 years, and never seemed to go away unless we went somewhere sunny.  

This is getting distressing at times with all of the coughing and tight chest, and I confess that I have got to the stage I am losing interest in food and hobbies.

We were supposed to attend a meeting in London today, but I said that I really did not feel like travelling anywhere, because I get embarrassed when I start coughing and feeling out of breath.

Now I just have to wait 6 weeks for my appointment in Sunderland General in early May, but it's looking positive and we may get the answers to my problems 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Reflections of days gone by part I

After listening to Roger Whittaker sing streets of London, and it brought back many memories, some of which were at the time distressing, and seemed never ending.

This made me realise that we always take things for granted, but it does not always work out the way you expect.

Sometime in the mid 1980s, my wife was in a very serious road accident, which left things on a knife edge for what seemed an eternity.

She ended up in hospital for around three years, in which time she had umpteen operations to rebuild her leg and foot, and the doctors having to fight on two occassions to keep her alive.

This was hard to take on board, not just for me but also the children who at the time were 5 and 8 year old.

But within that time these two children grew up fast, and shared many jobs which would normally have been done by others, but they did it without me asking or telling them to do it. Claire simply took over

At this time I was a University College Engineer, on call 24 hours a day for breakdowns. I was also doing and Electrical Engineering Course at home in my spare time, so sleep simply did not always happen.

I worked on my electrical course from 3 till 6 am each morning then got the children ready for school, and did the packed lunches, although Claire took it upon herself, to take this over somewhere along the line, so for a 9 year old she was truly amazing  

After being there for two years, the hospital said that she could come home for Christmas providing she behaved herself.

The thought of this made myself and the children very happy, although the cooking would be done by me, and although I had cooked from my years in the scouts, the thought of doing a Christmas Lunch filled me with fear.

She asked if I could take her shopping to Marks And Spencer's for some presents, so I agreed.

Just as she walked out of the Shop door she felt dizzy, so I managed to get her onto a concrete traffic bollard for a rest, but she fell off onto the pavement.

The children gasped in horror and everyone walked on by. That was everyone but a gay gentleman, who I heard later was called Joyce.

He came over put his basket of flowers down as supported my wife and talked to her, while I rang for an ambulance.

I never saw this man again to say thank-you, but someone in my workplace said that they would find him and thank him from us all

Janice was taken back on her ward and given a blood transfusion and then we got her home in time for Christmas.

A nurse on the ward who we gathered was actually gay herself, or so we were told, said. It says something when so called "normal people" walked by yet, this gay gentleman went out of his way to help you, but it also proves a lot.

Yes it did prove quite a lot to me at the time, and to Janice later when she recovered 

I have never felt anything about gay people, we are all on the planet together, and we are all different, but this man proved to others that he was no different to them, only he did his best, while they all walked passed.

I guess on that day he was our Angel who came along to help us in our time of need, and I have always considered him as that ever since

I later heard that he got very embarrassed when someone said thank you.
I also heard later that the same man had suffered from abuse by others, something I found hard to accept.

But this proves that you should never judge a book by its cover, or a person by the way they look.

Janice went back into hospital for more operations, but today she is my rock and guardian angel

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Long weekend

We have been away for a long weekend at Barnard Castle, because I was feeling totally drained and washed out.
What started out as a common cold left me feeling as if I had been in a fight with Mike Tyson, as every bit of my body was hurting.

I guess this is because I have been coughing up rubbish for the last three months, and my body could not take it. I gather that my immune system is in a mess after all of the antibiotics so I am getting any bugs coming my way.

But this morning we had a lovely walk and had an honest talk, because my wife was worried.

I had got to the state on Friday and Saturday of not being able to work out the simplest tasks, but this morning I felt totally different, still rough around the edges, but better.

So the change of air must be working, and seeing all of the Deer at Raby Castle was a wonderful sight.
After lunch we listened to a cd by Roger Whittaker,   and I had time to sit back and reflect as one piece of music took me back to my days in Oxford, just after my wife had a serious road accident

But I will leave that until tomorrow to write, now I have the notes scribbled down to work from 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Dementia and comorbidities

Over the last year I have realised that it is time to start to things a bit easier, because I am having more problems with my health.

Living with this illness is one thing, but over the last five years I have been struggling with osteoarthritis in my hip, and a badly torn and worn knee.

I have recently had an injection in my hip to ease the pain, and I am waiting to see what they are going to do about my knee, if anything. I have been doing a lot of hip and knee exercises which have helped, as well as exercises to get some control over my balance which seems to be getting worse, so it's a case of wait and see.

This comes on top of my continued problems with my chest problems which do not seem to want to clear.

The doctor says there is a shadow showing over one lung when I had an X-ray, so they are considering have deeper scans to see what is lurking there. This week I had a second X-ray to see if it's still showing before they go any further.

The doctor is worried that my continuous chest infections is putting a strain on my heart now, so I am going to take things a lot easier until this gets sorted out.

I confess that this is taking it out of me and all of the antibiotics don't seem to help after a while, as you just feel totally drained

I have been told that sea air is good for the chest, but I have now realised that I can not longer walk on a beach, and with my present health conditions, my travel insurance would go through the roof, so I have to be content with the country side air for the time being and stay on stable level ground.

But after years working in industry I am not really surprised that my body is now feeling the strain, and as one doctor kindly put it one day, (With your knackered lungs, what do you expect), after hearing that i was a little shocked to say the least, needless to say I keep well clear of him these days, as his bedside manner did not exist at all

So as the weather s getting better I will be spending my time trying to relax and possibly seeing more of my family.

Instead of dementia meetings I am hopefully going to start  on with my photography again and hopefully learn to paint properly

Memory problems are one thing but with this lot piled on top, it can make life so much harder at times, but at least I have my lovely family and grandchildren around me and that makes up for lots of things 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Classical music and Dementia

We have read over the last few days how classical music is good for people living with any form of dementia.

Yet it must be remembered that we are all different, and some people may not like this type of music

I tend to listen to classical music on most days, and if I cannot sleep at night, I listen to it while I am in bed from my iPod and ear phones.

However we have to be careful about what music we listen to as some classical music can cause problems if it's fast and racy. 

Some music can be very dark and will cause extra problems especially late at night.

Mozart tends to be the favourite of most people, as it is calming and relaxing.

I do think it's good when it's just background music and therefore not too loud, but that depends on the noise in the background. 

Recently I had to go into theatre for a hip injection, and found that they were playing 1950-60s pop music, which  was quite nice. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Revamp for hospital menus in County Durham and Darlington

Revamp for hospital menus in County Durham and Darlington

FOOD: Darlington Memorial Hospital was previously recognised by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food for its good menu
FOOD: Darlington Memorial Hospital was previously recognised by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food for its good menu

NEW hospital meal menus, developed by patients and staff are to be launched in County Durham and Darlington.
The new lunch and evening meal menus for hospital sites in the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust area have been created in time for Nutrition and Hydration Week, an international campaign to improve health, care and catering across the world.
Starting tomorrow (Monday) the new menus will be served to all patients and staff with the aim of providing healthy, balanced and varied meal options.
Alison McCree, associate director of facilities for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Good nutritious food and regular drinks are an important part of patient care, recovery and experience, and these new menus have been developed to meet patient needs.
"We've listened to patient and staff feedback, and will continue to improve our standards and services."
The trust said the majority of the ingredients used in the menu come from the local area while the meals are all produced in the kitchens at Darlington Memorial Hospital before being delivered to the trust's other hospitals each day.

Classical music can help slow down the onset of dementia

Classical music can help slow down the onset of dementia say researchers after discovering Mozart excerpts enhanced gene activity in patients

  • Research saw patients listen to Mozart's violin concert No 3 for 20 minutes
  • The 'musically-experienced' people had enhanced gene activity, it found 
  • Music also affected risk gene synuclein-alpha, connected to Parkinson's
Classical music can help slow down the onset of dementia, new research has found.

Scientists discovered that patients who listened to experts of Mozart had enhanced gene activity in the 
brain in areas including memory and learning.
Meanwhile, the music also affected the activity of a risk gene connected to Parkinson's disease.

The Finnish researchers found the changed activity was only present in 'musically-experienced' patients, who listened to music regularly, suggesting the importance of familiarity with music.
For the study, participants were asked to listen to Mozart's violin concert No 3, G-major, K.216, a piece that lasts 20 minutes. The experiment was carried out on both musically experienced and inexperienced participants.
The research involved participants listening to Mozart (pictured) for 20 minutes
The research involved participants listening to Mozart (pictured) for 20 minutes
The study showed that genes were enhanced in those deemed 'musically experienced' in areas such as dopamine secretion, which is when a neurohormone is released in the brain, synaptic neurotransmission, which is how neurons receive information, and learning and memory.
Meanwhile, the music appeared to down-regulate genes associated with neuro-degeneration, which is the progressive loss of the structure or function of neurons.
The researchers said several of the up-regulated genes were ones which are responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds.
This suggests a common evolutionary background of sound perception across different species, they said.
One of the most affected genes in this area was synuclein-alpha (SNCA), which is also a known risk gene for Parkinson's disease. 
Study leader Doctor Irma Jarvela, of Helsinki University, said: 'The up-regulation of several genes that are known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds suggest a shared evolutionary background of sound perception between vocalizing birds and humans.'
He added: 'The effect was only detectable in musically experienced participants, suggesting the importance of familiarity and experience in mediating music-induced effects.'
Dr Jarvela added that the findingscould give give further insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying music therapy.
The effects of this are still largely unknown.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Terry Pratchett brought dementia out of the shadows

Terry Pratchett brought dementia out of the shadows – we owe it to him to find a cure

SIR Terry Pratchett approached his own diagnosis of dementia by saying: “If we are to kill the demon then first we have to say its name. Once we have recognised the demon, without secrecy or shame, we can find its weaknesses.”

His initial reaction, in common with many of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, was anger and rage. 
Sir Terry, who passed away last week aged 66, was never going to take his diagnosis in 2007 quietly. He regarded finding he had a form of Alzheimer’s as an insult and decided to do his best to marshal any kind of forces he could against “this wretched disease... that slips you away a little bit at a time and lets you watch it happen”. 
He had a rare form of dementia called posterior cortical atrophy, or PCA. It particularly affected his vision and coordination. 
Unperturbed, the prolific Discworld author continued to write bestselling novels, travelling the globe and entertaining his millions of fans with his work. He enjoyed his life and country pursuits at his idyllic home in rural Wiltshire with his family and friends. 
Sir Terry also channelled his energy into his passion for making people aware of dementia. 
He fundamentally changed the way it is seen and understood. He used his voice and time making a difference to those living with dementia now and in the future. 
When his condition was first diagnosed, he said that he wanted to tell everyone. 
He didn’t see this as a brave decision. It simply never occurred to Sir Terry not to talk openly about it as he came to terms with his condition while coping with a busy day job as the UK’s top fantasy writer. 
It is a physical disease, not some mystic curse. Therefore it will fall to a physical cure.
Terry Pratchett
In 2009 he made a poignant film, broadcast on BBC2, called Terry Pratchett: Living With Alzheimer’s, in which he shared with the world his struggle with the condition. 
From lending his name and voice to Alzheimer’s Society campaigns to increase funding for research and improve the quality of dementia care in hospitals and care homes, Sir Terry took centre stage at countless conferences, spoke out in media interviews and demanded action from world leaders to stick by their promises to ultimately defeat dementia. 
From Newsnight to the UK-hosted G8 Summit on Dementia in 2013, he waged a war, so merciless was his onslaught. 
He said: “I believe that the D-day battle on Alzheimer’s will be engaged quite shortly and a lot of things I’ve heard from experts in the field, not always formally, strengthen that belief. It is a physical disease, not some mystic curse. Therefore it will fall to a physical cure.” 
His determination to bring dementia out of the shadows, kicking and screaming if need be, was infectious and encouraged many others newly diagnosed to do the same. 
He undoubtedly empowered those who previously felt stigmatised to speak out and seek help. 
Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Graham Browne, aged 58, who lives with the condition, recalls the impact Sir Terry made on him. 
“We always had a laugh and there were serious times but through it all we had the same goals.” 
Last year, Sir Terry took part in a short film with other celebrities to promote our Dementia Friends initiative. 
The programme is the biggest social action movement to change perceptions of dementia by educating people of all ages and all walks of life about the little things they can do to support people with the condition. 

With the quick wit and keen sense of humour intrinsic to his writing, his quote for the campaign was: “It’s possible to live well with dementia and write bestsellers ‘like wot I do’.” 
Sir Terry was featured in a national TV advert along with a host of celebrities who sang along to the Beatles classic With A Little Help From My Friends, his grey beard and black hat instantly recognisable in the line-up. 
Last month, we celebrated the fact that one million people have become Dementia Friends and more are joining every day. 
Sir Terry played a big part in this achievement. He was the truest of champions for people with the condition. 
When I thanked him for his work, he would simply smile and shake his head modestly, insisting it was nothing, never dwelling on his own dementia. 
An estimated 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia. 
Sir Terry believed that now is the time to kill the demon before it grows. We owe it to him, those living with dementia today and those who will develop the disease, to increase awareness and raise more funds for vitally needed research into prevention, care and cure. 

Many people have over the years worked hard to bring dementia out of the shadows, but like myself and others, we were not well known and therefore did not have the impact that Sir Terry had.
But it must be remembered that there are many dementia charities working hard to raise awareness of this illness and drag it out from its grim past. 
Its not always about one large charity or another.
Even small charities are doing their bit, and in many cases are more hands on than the larger charities, because they work directly with those who have the illness.
It does not always need well know people like TV presenters etc, because as I have been told on many occassions, it works much better coming directly from those who have the illness. 

Its up to us all to do our bit and help those following in the future 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett: Tributes paid to Discworld author

Sir Terry was a true Inspiration to us all
 living with this illness

Sir Terry Pratchett: Tributes paid to 
Discworld author

Authors and Alzheimer's campaigners have been among those paying tribute to author Sir Terry Pratchett, who has died at the age of 66.
Novelist Philip Pullman said he would be remembered for the "love of humanity in what he did", while actor Sir Tony Robinson called him a "contradiction" - a shy man in "urban cowboy clothes".
He suffered from Alzheimer's, and a charity said he opened the "floodgates" to help people talk about the disease.
Sir Terry's last tweet said: "The end."
His daughter Rhianna tweeted: "Miss you already."
Start Quote
His Alzheimer's was the cruellest possible blow to a mind so inventive, so rich and so funny”
Val McDermidCrime writer
Sir Terry died on Thursday, eight years after being diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's called posterior cortical atrophy.
He campaigned in favour of assisted suicide after his diagnosis, but his publishers said he did not take his own life.
'Watershed moment'
Charlie Russell, who made several documentaries about Sir Terry, including one on assisted suicide called Choosing to Die, said he was a "lovely man".
"He was very kind to me to take me into his home and take me into this heart," he said.
"It was such a pleasure to get to know him."
Hilary Evans, director of Alzheimer's Research UK, said Sir Terry's death would have "a profound effect on both literature and the 850,000 people who live with dementia" in the UK.
She said his announcement of his illness was "a watershed moment" and "a call to arms for society to talk about dementia and take steps towards defeating it".

Sir Terry's publisher, Larry Finlay, said: "Terry faced his Alzheimer's disease (an 'embuggerance', as he called it) publicly and bravely.
"Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come."
Writer Neil Gaiman said: "There was nobody like him.
"I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much. I'll miss you, Terry."
Philip Pullman said there was "nothing spiteful, nothing bitter or sarcastic in his humour".
'Brave campaigner'
Sir Terry was best known for the Discworld series of novels, which began in 1983 and contains more than 40 books.
Writing in the Guardian, crime novelist Val McDermid said the novels were the "perfect antidote to being alone and far from home".
"His Alzheimer's was the cruellest possible blow to a mind so inventive, so rich and so funny," she wrote.
"With his passing, the world is a less fantastic place."
Prime Minister David Cameron said Sir Terry "fired the imagination of millions", while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called him a "fabulous" writer and a "brave campaigner for dementia awareness".

Sir Tony Robinson told BBC News: "Everybody who reads his work would agree his finest creation was his character Death.
"Any fans of his will know Terry in some way has shaken hands with one of his greatest creations."
And the final posts on Sir Terry's Twitter account, posted by his assistant after his death, followed that theme.
"Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
"The End."

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Looking after people with Dementia in Hospitals

When People with dementia or any other neurological illness go in to hospital they expect to be looked after in a caring and dignified manner, in other words they are treated with the same dignity and respect that everyone else takes for granted on a daily basis

It should also be remembered that hospitals can be very frightening places where people with dementia are concerned, because many feel well out of their custom zone. many struggle to cope, in areas full of machinery like scanners and x-ray machines.

Some cannot cope with lots of people, who they do not recognise, in unfamiliar places.
Many hospitals refuse to allow our carers to stay with us, and that needs to change especially when someone asks you questions, and you do not remember what was said, or asked.

Being asked to sign consent forms, when you may not really understand what is written down in front of you

To do this we have to ensure that all staff are trained in how to handle us, and have at least a basic idea of what we may be going through.

This idea is easier than it sounds these days, because of all of the Government rules and regulations, including targets which seem to be given a higher priority than good quality care of all patients no matter what illness they have.

But many people like myself who have neurological illnesses, and dementia, are at a disadvantage when it comes to being treated with respect and dignity in hospitals or care homes these days.

But unless we do something to help, things will stay as they are, so we must all step up and help others to understand our problems.

I admit that this is not easy, as many neurological illnesses like dementia, are not covered well enough in training, although these days Universities are trying to catch up, by using people with these illnesses to tell others about their daily problems.

Another way forward would be for all Hospitals to do their own training, although as conditions are hard in the National Health Service, and time is short this may well be impossible, due to all of the Government targets they have to stick to.

But there is no reason why people with these illnesses, should not be asked to give a presentation to any staff wishing to learn more.

 It’s a well-known fact, that no two people with the same illness, struggle with the same symptoms, and problems, but at least by talking and listening to one person the Hospitals are learning how we deal with things and what to expect, if we struggle.

Basic things like support to find out where you are going, finding out where the toilets are etc, are all taken for granted, but to us it means quite a lot.

Many people like myself sometimes struggle to find the correct toilet as we don’t always understand the signs, especially toilet signs which can be confusing to say the least. This is because there seems to be no standard sign for toilets these days.

I get round this one by looking at the signs and telling myself that the ladies sign is someone with a skirt on, while the gents is a person with legs wide apart.
This can be distressing but at least having this in my memory I manage to cope. If I get really stuck I head for the disabled toilet
But how many people would understand this, many would simply laugh it off or say we are being silly.    
This week I had to go into the University Hospital of North Durham, to have an injection in my hip, something I admit, I was not looking forward to, and was to say the least very nervous, and no longer like Hospitals, in fact I am terrified of them.

But the staff here were marvellous, because it was stated in my notes that I had Lewy Body Dementia. I confess that they made sure I was not left alone in a place I was unsure of, and they kept checking to make sure that I did not worry or wonder off.

My wife was allowed to stay with me in a small side ward, until I went off to the theatre, but the standard of care was amazing something my wife remarked on later

They all spoke in a very friendly manner, and I never heard anyone speaking in an abrupt manner.
I also have eyesight problems, so I occasionally have double vision, and although I was told that my glasses would be removed during the procedure, I was allowed to keep them on all of the time, which meant that I could actually see everyone clearly.

This was a big help to me as I did not have to struggle trying to see what was going on, or who was speaking to me

Its little things like this which make such a big difference

Thank goodness for Dragon voice activated software, which allows me to carry on these days with this blog. Without it I would be lost as there are days when I cannot use a computer keyboard properly.

Study prompts hopes that it is never too late to reduce dementia risk

From the Daily Telegraph

Study prompts hopes that it is never too late to reduce dementia risk

The first trial of its kind finds that adopting a healthy lifestyle to protect the brain can have a dramatic impact on mental decline

Adopting a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of dementia, even if changes are made late in life, new research suggests.
Those who improve their lifestyles after retirement could slow their mental decline by one quarter, a major study in The Lancet has found.
Pensioners who were enrolled on a programme to encourage healthy eating, exercise, and regular “brain training” sessions performed far better in mental tests than others who were just given basic health advice.
Experts said the research my the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, from the first major trial of its kind, found that changes in daily habits had a “significant impact” on brain function.
However they said it was too soon to say how long the impact on mental function persisted, and whether it reduces the chance of dementia in the long-term.
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The study tracked more than 2,600 Fins aged 60 to 77, all of whom were considered to be at risk of dementia.
Half were given standard health advice about factors thought to reduce mental decline, such as following a healthy diet, socialising and having regular exercise.
The rest were enrolled on an intensive programme, which gave detailed instructions, with regular checks on their progress.
Pensioners in the group were expected to carry out computer-based “brain training” three times a week, and follow precise instructions on diet and exercise.
At the end of two years, those on the programme has 25 per cent better scores in mental tests on their brains.
For some tests, differences between groups were more striking. For executive functioning - the brain's ability to organise and regulate thought processes - scores were 83 per cent higher in the programme group, while processing speed – the ability to automatically perform relatively easy tasks – was 150 per cent higher.
Lead researcher Professor Miia Kivipelto, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said: "Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. “However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive programme aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia."
The lifestyle advice those on the programme followed:
Individually tailored programmes with aerobic exercise 2 to 5 times a week and muscle strength training 1 to 3 times a week
Brain training
Group and individual sessions, including computer-based training three times a week for up to 15 minutes at a time
10 to 20 % of daily energy from proteins
25 to 35 % of daily energy from fat (less than 10 per cent from saturated and trans fats, 10 to 20 per cent from monounsaturated fats, 5 to 10 per cent from polyunsaturated fats
45 to 55 % of daily energy from carbohydrates (less than 10 per cent from refined sugar)
25 to 35 grams a day of dietary fibre
less than 5 grams a day of salt
less than 5 per cent of daily energy from alcohol
What did we know about reducing the risks of dementia until now?
• Experts believe exercise may have the greatest impact in protecting against the condition. In 2014, a landmark study by Cambridge University suggested that just one hour’s exercise a week could reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s disease by almost half. Scientists don’t know why exactly, but it is possibly because it reduces blood pressure, controls cholesterol, improves blood vessel health and keeps weight down.
• Diet is also key. A Mediterranean diet - plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts, a little red wine and not much meat or dairy - has been highlighted as a key way to protect both the heart and the brain.
• Avoid smoking - We all know smoking is extremely harmful and here’s yet another reason to quit - it significantly increases your risk of developing dementia, most likely because it damages blood vessels and reduces the amount of blood that reaches your brain.
• Manage other health conditions – Other conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure both increase your risk of developing dementia, so get these checked and follow medical advice to keep them under control.
• Use it or lose it – Scientists believe that frequently challenging your brain with new things is the key, for example taking up a new hobby, learning a language or even walking an unfamiliar route. Computer-based train training can offer some similar challenges, but there is limited evidence about the role of crosswords in protecting against dementia.

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