Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Nice but tiring day

My wife and I took two of our grandchildren to Portsmouth historic dockyard today, as a way of saying thank you for doing so well at school. We could not take the youngest as he was still at school and did not finish until tonight.
We went around the Mary Rose museum which was amazing as we have followed this since this ship was raised from the bottom of the river Solent in the 1990s and to see this again was lovely. We had not
 Been there since our daughter was around 8 years of age, now we took her own children. 

We also went round the HMS Victory which was a little difficult due to the height and spaces on board and the fact that I stumbled on two occasions but I really enjoyed it all. 
We finished off with a boat ride round the harbour and navy yards before heading off for an ice cream and then got the train back home.

It was a lovely day but I was very tired in the end 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Hospital visit today

I went to see a specialist at the movement clinic today where he looked at my tremor and walking issues.

It seems that the tremor is not related to parkinsons, which is good, it sounds as if all my problems are related to my Lewy body dementia.

I am being refered to see someone about my hip and knee which are very sore, and the fact that I seem to be dragging my foot, which causes me to stumble occassionally.

It could well be that the muscles have weakened in one leg, but I gather that could be neurological.

I said that I don't want to go much further as I am frightened of hospitals these days.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Depression in dementia

Like many people, when I was struggling at the start of this illness, I was told it was just stress first then that I was just depressed?

After ten weeks off work and getting so bored, and being followed by our dog everywhere I went, I said I was going back to work, whether the doctor liked it or not.

I knew there was more to this than depression, but this doctor did not accept it.

This idiot wanted me on anti depressants something I refused to take as I did not need them, and this was backed up by my wife, who was a dispenser in the chemists. 

 I and my wife told her that I was not depressed, and we demanded a second opinion from someone higher up, like a hospital consultant. This did not go down too well, but we then started to get answers after a few months of tests etc.

I have met may people over the years who were in the same boat, who like me were later diagnosed as having dementia of one sort or another, so why did these doctors not look for the cause of the depression if we indeed, had it in the first place. 

Is depression the answer to all doctors these days, a quick fix.

I know some people who were put in mental institutions and were treated with electric shocks etc, only to find out later that they had dementia, but there were no apologies for this serious error.

Yes there is depression in dementia, and to be very honest who would not be depressed in one way or another, when they are losing control over their lives, at work, with hobbies along with other things. 

Like many I got to the stage where I refused to accept that I felt depressed when things did not work the way they had for years, because I was convinced the consultant would try to change things, as many consultants refused to accept that depression was and is part of dementia.

This proves that diagnosis has a long way to go before people with this illness are treated properly.

We all know that there are different types of depession, but are doctors lumping all types together simply because they do not know, or is it an easy answer to all.

But there are far too many people on anti depressants these days, when they should not be on them, then, they cannot get off them.

Let us hope that in the future doctors get better training in both dementia and depression, so they fully understand our problems, and look into the cause of the so called depression before going too deep into treatments that may well not be needed, nor will they solve our problem. 

I was extremely lucky to get a brilliant consultant in the North East who knew about Lewy body dementia, and told me to keep myself active and busy, so that I never got to the stage where I would get depressed at losing control, and then giving up altogether. 

In her words try something one day, if that fails try on a second day and a third.

 If that fails give up altogether and do something else, do not try to hang on to things you can no longer do. 

Life is too short, go out enjoy each day as it comes and try something new if you are up to it.

Her kind words have kept me going, yes I get depressed when things don't work, but then I pick myself up and try to move on. 

I know that when I lose control of my computer, I may well have problems as this is my life, but I am trying to be as positive as I can, and hope that never ever happens while I can fight it.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

4 out of 10 people with dementia struggle with depression

Taken from the Daily Mail online

Four in ten dementia carers suffer depression: Experts say 'profound effect' condition has on family members is too often being forgotten 

  • Two-thirds of people with dementia live at home, equating to 670,000 carers in Britain

Many of those will be elderly and already struggling with health problems

Improving support should not only boost their mental health but also cut the odds of their relative being taken into a nursing home or hospital because they are unable to cope.

Rebecca Wood, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity, said: ‘Dementia doesn’t only affect those who are diagnosed with the condition: its effects are felt far and wide, not least for individuals and families who are caring for their loved ones.’
The hidden toll of dementia was revealed by researchers from University College London who crunched together the results of studies from around the world.
This showed some 40 per cent of those who look after a family member with dementia to be clinically depressed or suffer from anxiety at any one time.
With two-thirds of people with dementia living at home and 670,000 carers in Britain, this equates to almost 270,000 men and women.
Many others are likely to have symptoms, although they won’t be severe enough for a clinical diagnosis.
Millions more are touched by dementia, without taking on care responsibilities. 

In the UK, some 23 million people – roughly a third of the population – have a close friend or relative with dementia.
UCL researcher Professor Gill Livingston said the care of a relative with dementia can be particularly taxing because of the length of the illness and its nature.

Patients often don’t realise they are ill and so resist help. Paranoia can lead to the lashing out and agitation can prevent them and their family from sleeping.

Physical help with nursing and chores is available but, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to cut the carer’s odds of mental health problems.

And while carers are supposed to be able to see a clinical psychologist, there are not enough to go round – and until now there has not been a proper treatment programme.

However, an inexpensive and easy-to-teach course devised at UCL could hold the solution. 
Professor Livingston and colleagues put 173 carers through the eight-hour course and compared their progress to another 90 or so who went about their lives as usual.

The course included advice on how to cope with their relative’s behaviour, how to talk to them and to doctors and how to make time for themselves.

This could be as simple as working out how to schedule in a peaceful cup of coffee each day.

Carers were encouraged to work out which parts of the START, or STrAtegies for RelaTives, programme worked for them and encouraged to continue practising them.

After two years, those who did the short course were seven times less likely to be depressed than the others, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen heard.

Quality of life increased and the programme was cost-effective. This is because the money spent on it was cancelled out by lower care home and hospital costs for loved ones.

Dr Livingston now has money from the Alzheimer’s Society to train more programme leaders and hopes they will be put to work across Britain.

Using recent graduates as programme leaders will get round the shortage of specialist psychologists.
Dr Doug Brown, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘If results like these were found with a new drug, it would be hailed a breakthrough.

‘This programme gives us an effective way to support carers and reduce depression and anxiety, which will have the added benefit of improving life for those that they care for.

‘It is great to see research focusing on improving the well-being of dementia carers whilst other scientists search for treatments and a cure.

‘Too often people forget the profound effect dementia has on loved ones caring for someone with dementia and surrounding friends and family.’