Showing posts from September, 2014

Clinical physiology tests for memory problems

There is something which bugs me about clinical physiology testing for memory problems, and no matter how I look at it, and no matter who I ask, no one can give a straight answer.

In Lewy body dementia like many other people I no longer use the mini mental test. I use a different type which is longer.
You get asked the usual questions about where you are and where you live etc, and then you are told a short story about someone, name address, town and county, which you are asked to remember.
After a while you are asked to repeat it all. If you get stuck you are given prompts, and no matter whether have forgotten the answer or not you have to pick one answer. 
This always gets me because I cannot remember things like this. 
If you are lucky enough to pick the right answer by sheer fluke you get a good mark, but what does this prove, if at the end of the day it is a guess and nothing else.
But what is the point of giving us prompts, if we do not remember the answer anyway. We do not get…

Art work and dementia

Artwork is supposed to be very therapeutic for people with dementia, and I once went to a local branch where a local professional artist had three very large pictures on the wall, and left them for all of the clients to look at.
As they were all modern art and something many find difficult to work out, it took some time before people started to speak about what they could see in the pictures.
I confess that I was not impressed at first, then realised that these people could all see different things, from the same picture and after a while I started to see things which were not easy to see in the first place. I ended up enjoying the experience , although I am not a fan of modern art work.
Although many people who have dementia love to paint and draw, there are times when it becomes difficult to get the picture right, especially if it is down to look like a scene outside. I often give up in total frustration because it never looks the same but I guess this is all down to the spacial awar…

Project to create dementia-friendly shopping centre

Project to create dementia-friendly shopping centre Andrew Oliver chairman of Houghton Traders Association

BUSINESSES have been getting behind plans to make Houghton the first dementia-friendly shopping area in the North East.

Houghton Traders’ Association is now working with the Alzheimer’s Society and firms in the area to help residents who have the illness to live better lives.

As part of the scheme, an event took place yesterday at Peppercorn Coffee Shop, in Newbottle Street, to give people advice on spotting the early signs of dementia.

Coun Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for health, said: “It is estimated that more than 3,400 people in Sunderland are living with dementia and this figure is set to rise to almost 4,000 by 2020.

“We’re committed to doing what we can to support those living with dementia and their families to live full and active lives.”

Houghton shops and organisations such as Peppercorn Coffee Shop, Just Sew Interiors, Gentoo and Hough…

Eating a curry 'can help beat dementia'

Eating a curry 'can help beat dementia': Ingredient found in turmeric may hold key to repairing brains of people with condition Aromatic turmerone encouraged brain stem cells to grow into neuronsSo it could help develop a treatment for neurodegenerative diseasesBut experts urge caution and say research is still at an early stage Lovers of spicy Indian food could be better equipped to ward off dementia, research suggests. A compound in the aromatic spice turmeric, a key ingredient in most curries, may hold the key to repairing the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. In laboratory tests, aromatic turmerone promoted the proliferation of brain stem cells and their development into neurons. Scroll down for video  

Copy link to paste in your message Wonder spice: A compound in turmeric, a key ingredient in most curries, may hold the key to repairing the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, according to n…

Dementia is not the end at CrossReach

Dementia is not the end at CrossReach Dementia does not signal the end to opportunities for living a fulfilling life. Picture: PA

Our significant experience is helping, says Allan Logan

At CrossReach, we support people across Scotland who are dealing with the effects of dementia. Since opening Scotland’s first specialist care home for people with dementia in 1983 – Williamwood House in Glasgow – we have seen huge changes in the way society relates to the condition. We now understand that, while it is a devastating illness, dementia is not the end.
A d

Dementia and Depression

I have heard it is said, that the numbers of people going to the Samaritans these days with dementia related illnesses is on the rise. I was in one way surprised by this, until I looked at the  possible reasons

Diagnosis of dementia is not something that anyone wants, because its like being diagnosed with inoperable cancer, its an illness with no known cure.

When you are given this diagnosis you may well find that you are not given any support or help, and therefore you may well become desperate. Many have said that the diagnosis of dementia is like a death knell, and many carers etc, start grieving from then onwards.

This may also be the case for anyone who does not have family support, or indeed good friends around them.

But hidden inside this illness is depression, something that many consultants do not mention, or if they do they imply, that you are simply depressed and do not have dementia.

When I was diagnosed I was told I was simply stressed, then after 10 weeks that changed t…

Becoming more involved after the diagnosis of dementia

Many people feel very flat once they have been given the diagnosis of dementia, and cannot think of any way forward. This is because you cannot think of any questions at the diagnosis, and they only come to you when your back home, trying to work it all out in your mind.

This is when many people come off the rails so to speak, because they become desperate and depressed, and without support you feel as if your world is coming to an end.

 I was extremely lucky to have a wife and daughter who were very supportive and did not allow me to dwell on what may happen.

My daughter who is a biologist explained quite a lot at the time, and she still helps me understand things these days

But for others things may be different, depending on whether you have support at home, or friends near by who can support you

There are many online chat rooms where you can get help, many of which operate 24 hours a day, but that depends on one fact, you need  a computer, and like it or not many people do not …

Very Inspiring Blog Nomination

Very Inspiring Blog Nomination

I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you to fellow blogger,
 Helen Whitworth of the Lewy Body Rollercoaster blog, for this exciting and totally unexpected honor. Be sure to check out her equally inspiring blog,
Lewy Body Rollercoaster

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Here are seven facts about me:

1. I  was born and live in County Durham in England, not far from the famous Durham Cathedral.
2. I am married and have two wonderful Children along with four lovely Grandchildren.
3. I’m a retired University College Engineer where I ran all of the services and kept things going 24 hours a day
4. Since retiring…

Remembering the past can improve the present for people with dementia

From todays Guardian newspaper 

Malcolm Jones works as a reminiscence arts practitioner, using creative tools to help older people communicate
The smell of an old brand of soap, photograph or war object can help trigger a memory. Photograph: Colin Underhill/Alamy I get up around 6:30, check emails and attempt to raise my 10-year-old daughter in time for school while grabbing something vaguely healthy for breakfast. Then I head to whichever care home I’m working in that day.

I work with the charity Age Exchange as a reminiscence arts practitioner – running projects with both active and frail older people in care settings. Reminiscence arts is a unique way for artists, therapists and practitioners to work with older people, particularly those with dementia, to evoke and inspire their memories and imaginations. We use techniques derived from dance, visual arts, drama, literature and music to learn about people, help them communicate and build new relationships, despite the challenges dem…

Media and Dementia

I often think that the media should be more careful about what they write or comment on when it comes to dementia and other medical conditions.

This is because they seem to have a cavalier approach to any articles they write, and totally forget those with these illnesses.

In Dementia we are always hearing about miracle cures, which then disappear completely.

Surely before they write an article they should check it out with another research body, to see if it is what they claim.

These claims only raise peoples hopes, and then leave them in the dark, which is very wrong.

We really do need more dementia friendly news reporters, who understand that we get upset if they raise our hopes with these miracle cures only to find that they are in many cases untrue, or so far off that it will have little or no effect on those living with the illness

The media also have weird ideas about interviewing people with dementia, and still use the terms we all object to like service user, which is also used fo…

Health officials should run an "it's never too late" campaign to make the public aware of lifestyle

Health officials should run an "it's ne ver too late" campaign to make the public aware of lifestyle changes they could make to help stave off dementia, a new report suggests. A number of factors can increase a person's risk of dementia in later life and people should be encouraged to take steps to protect themselves, according to the report commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International, a body representing dozens of organisations from around the world.
The report authors, led by Professor Martin Prince from King's College London, said that low education in early life, high blood pressure in midlife, and smoking and diabetes across the whole life can increase a person's risk of developing dementia.
They wrote: " There is persuasive evidence that the dementia risk for populations can be modified through reduction in tobacco use and better control and detection for hypertension and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular risk factors. A …

Time to generate more services for people with dementia

In the past we had a very large local branch at the Alzheimer's Society, and had lots of services not just for those with the illness but also for carers, who need as much help and support as we do.

Since the society and other charities were reorganised, services were cut back, something I thought was very sad.

Yes perhaps savings needed to be made, but not at the expense of those with this illness

These days we are seeing more and more dementia cafe's  along with services like singing for the brain, but the other services like the discussion groups seem to have disappeared.

While these may be good, for some people I do feel that we need to be looking at generating new services, to help those who have no interest in singing.

I spent 10 years in a church choir and enjoyed it, but these days I don't enjoy singing so much, so I have no intention of going down that route.

I do think that there is a lot to be said about discussion groups, for people with the illness, as we go…

dementia prayer

Lord help me with this illness I want to be as I was, but cannot turn the clock back To understand what is happening to me, To a time when I was in control over what I did and said I know I have dementia and my life has changed I feel that I am not in control of my life anymore Nor am I am the same person, that I was before
I cannot do the things that I did before, or they are more difficult to do, I do not sleep as I did before and feel refreshed My dreams are not happy but things of terror from which there is no escape I wake and cannot work out what is real and what is part of the nightly horrors  Each night I pray that I will wake up before the horrors start But I know in my heart that this illness will take its course I am not the same father or husband and that is sad I may have done and said things which are hurtful I get so agitated at times I simply don't understand what is happening to me anymore I know that many of the bad things I do are a mistake But it does not help when it happens

Cost of caring for some one with Dementia

After the news article the other day telling everyone how much it costs to care for someone with dementia "called the dementia tax", I was let trying to think of the right words to answer.
When I look at this country these days it always makes me wonder who we can trust when they go to Westminster, because they are mostly there for themselves, and not for those who voted for them.
I say this because if Mr Cameron was honest enough to want to do something for people with dementia, he would get on with it, instead of trying to act like a friend when in fact he is doing the opposite. 
When we look around these days very few people in highly paid jobs pay tax or pay the right amount they are required to by law, they use off shore accounts like the premier league footballers.
If all of these people paid their tax like the normal everyday person you meet on the street, we would have a better system to look after all in need including those with dementia.
It's a disgrace that people…

The £200,000-a-year 'care tax' paid by families of dementia sufferers:

From the Daily News
The £200,000-a-year 'care tax' paid by families of dementia sufferers: Relatives forced to 'break the bank' to pay for extra help Sufferers and families are paying as much as £21,000 a year covering the costs of social care and unpaid care by family members and friendsResearchers have calculated the cost of dementia to the UK has hit £26 billion a year, through health and social care costsBut people with the condition, and their families, are shouldering two-thirds of the cost - around £17.4 billion annuallyIt is predicted there will be more than 850,000 Alzheimer's sufferers by 2015Alzheimer's Society calls for Government to end the 'artificial divide' between health and social care, which 'unfairly disadvantages' people with dementia 

Dementia patients and their families are being hit by a ‘care tax’ of more than £20,000 a year, research has revealed. They are forced to ‘break the bank’ to pay for extra basic help from their …

Dementia and pain

We hear a lot of talk about dementia and pain, yet like it or not this subject is very vague.

As an engineer I was always hurting myself accidentally and I knew whether the pain was serious or not, but now things have changed, since I got the Lewy body dementia.
I have no idea how bad the pain is, or where the site of the pain is. We are hear about doctors etc asking how bad the pain is on a score of 1-10, yet to be honest I really cannot answer that anymore.
I am now struggling with pain in my right hip and knee. As well as that my right foot keeps dragging on the ground and this too is painful at times. But I really could not tell anyone where the site of the pain is or how bad it is, apart from the fact that it stops me doing things at times because of the discomfort.
I can have a guess, but that would be it, my ideas of pain have changed so much over the last few years.
So how on earth do people in the later stages cope with pain, and how do carers or care homes cope when they ma…


I saw this the other day and had to share it with you all as it was so funny Grandparents telephone calls

Good Morningat present we are not at home, but please leave your message when you hear the beeeeep.
If you are one of our children dial 1, and then select the option from 1 – 5 in order of “ arrival” , so we know who it is
If you need us to stay with the children press, 2
If you want to borrow the car press, 3
If you want us to do your wash your clothes, and do your, ironing press. 4
If you want the children to stay here tonight press. 5
If you want us to pick the kids up from school press, 6
If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to your home press, 7
If you want to come here to eat press, 8
If you need money press, 9
If you are inviting us to dinner, or taking us to the theatre, start talking and we are listening!!

Taken from papers written by a class of 8 year olds
Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their ow…

Can pomegranate halt Alzheimer's?

From the news I often read these news bulletins about cures and wonder whether they are for real or whether they are just headliners for the news press.  I guess only time will tell us
Can pomegranate halt Alzheimer's?  Alzheimer's affects 800,000 people in the UK with 163,000 new cases a yearResearchers believe punicalagin in pomegranates could battle Alzheimer'sThe chemical could also counter painful inflammation in rheumatoid arthritisScientists tested the impact of the fruit on the brains of laboratory rats  

Pomegranates may help stop the spread of Alzheimer’s disease, claim scientists.
An ingredient called punicalagin helps prevent the inflammation that destroys brain cells known as micrologia, according to a team at the University of Huddersfield.
It is hoped the findings may also potentially benefit sufferers from rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease by reducing painful inflammation from these conditions.

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Researchers …