Listen to the new Reflections Carers Support Group advertisement from Maritime Radio:
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We had a busy meeting this evening, with two new members coming for the first time.
Janet discussed a selection of interesting resources relevant to group members:
Dementia Together Magazine
Janet reminded us about the Alzheimer’s Society’s magazine. It is available in hard copy (as pictured below) and in a different format on their web site – see here. The magazine has lots of interesting articles and links to other providers.
Forward with Dementia
Forward with Dementia has the strap-line of “A guide to living with dementia”. Their introduction says “Following a dementia diagnosis, it’s only natural to ask questions. Your diagnosis is the first step in moving forward with dementia. Many people with dementia live full and meaningful lives after diagnosis. On this website, people with dementia have shared their good and bad experiences, so you can learn from them and find useful strategies. This, combined with evidence based research, will help you choose your own path forward with dementia.” The UK version of this service is co-funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. You can read all about their service here.
My Life TV
My Life TV describes itself as a dementia-friendly TV streaming service. “It is the first streaming service with content specifically curated for the cognitive needs of people living with dementia. The choice ranges from specially produced quizzes, singalongs, drawing and chair yoga as well as animal & nature programmes, feelgood content, archive news, popular shows from the 1960s & 1970s and more.” You can find out more about this subscription service on their web site here.
Janet also mentioned that The Able Label company sell clothes which “have been designed to make dressing and assisted dressing, easier, quicker and safer“. Her last reference was to Friendly Shoes they claim to “solve more types of footwear challenges than any other shoe technology by making fitted shoes simpler and easier to put on, and more enjoyable to wear“. You might like to have a look at what these companies offer.
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We then moved on to discuss our members topics.
Not acknowledging there is a problem
A mum refuses to agree she has a health problem. She will not discuss anything relating to her dementia, does not go to the Memory Clinic (with the agreement of the doctors) and expects her daughter to take care of any problems. She is very wary about loosing her independence. Her own mother had dementia many years ago. The group discussed their experiences and offered some suggestions. Another daughter looking after her own mother suggested approaching discussions around ” how to make life easier”. Bringing in carers would help – but the mum is very resistant to this. Janet suggested discussing mum’s views with any professionals before they come into the home. Their choice of wording any ability to establish rapport could help to move things forward. Chatting about what might happen in the future and what plans could be put in place would also change the the tone of any discussion, because it is not about making changes now, but looking at issues from a less threatening perspective and leaving control with mum. No one gains if mum becomes upset.
Two carers mentioned how their parents had changed in a very short time. One had a fall (playing sport) and her dementia developed very quickly from there. On safety grounds, she had to be moved into a care home.
Another had gone from diagnosis to care home in three months. Again, the move was on safety grounds.
A third speaker said she was waiting for something to go wrong. So far her mum’s dementia had developed steadily since her diagnosis five years ago, but she was still able to cope at home – at the moment.
More than one illness
A brother said he was just about coping since his sister had been diagnosed with a further major illness, in addition to her dementia. Helpfully, the doctors were taking a realistic view on how the sister might be able to cope with different treatments and their side effects. His role, as a carer, had become more complicated and more stressful. He said he was fortunate to have the support of his wonderful wife.
Bringing in carers
A wife was considering how best to introduce carers into the home. The group emphasised the need to find a consistent carer who got on well with the family and especially the person receiving the care. They recognised there would be an initial period when everyone settles in to the new arrangements. The group offered caring organisations they had used: Eleanor Care Bexley, Bluebird Care Greenwich, and Greenwich Volcare. One carer said Greenwich council had given her a list of care providers. Janet recommended The Carers Centre Greenwich for help and advice.
Access to a Care Home
A carer was still having issues with her dad’s care home. Access was mainly limited to week days (difficult for her and her mum, who both work). When a visit could be arranged the visitor needed to be outside the care home building, not very conducive to a relaxed meeting. Tatiana suggested contacting Social Services, who might be able to help directly or at least give some clarity on what should be possible. Things had become more complicated, as another relative had recently become seriously ill.
A wife was concerned about her husband not drinking enough. He just isn’t interested in drinking. Janet suggested trying Jelly Drops (which are mainly water and sugar free). Janet spoke to a dementia nurse at the Memorial Hospital the following day. She suggested any food which has a high water content, such a salads, fruit etc. She also suggested adding milk and/or cream to mashed potatoes. Being a little creative and considering the liquid content of foods offers options in addition to drinks.
Next meeting 11th July 2022.