Flower and produce – 27th July 2021

After 16 months on Zoom, we came to the last online meeting of the Reflections Friendship Group.

We had a selections of photos showing members gardens, prize blooms and vegetables. There were a lot of excellent examples. I particularly liked this rose named after our member J.

We didn’t have time for Gyda’s craft, but if we had, we would have produced a lovely flower like this.

We had a chat about our favourite crafts over the last months. C was keen on this flower (you can see a theme here).

Nikki, from BLG Mind told us about the Greenwich Peninsular Ecology Park.

More information here.

We hope to see Nikki, in person, for the first time next week.

Pearl’s bumper edition of jokes:

O told us she woke up at 3am one night and looked at this web site. She worked her way through Pearl’s jokes (in the general menu under Recordings) and really enjoyed herself.

Pearl’s songs included “Congratulations, by Cliff Richard. This was played for A&G who will be celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary. Congratulations from all of us.

Gerry’s joke:

An old poem:

Gerry is branching out! Jokes and poems – an extra special offering.

Lynne had a flower quiz:

  • What part of the flower is called the corolla?
  • Which cut flower is the most popular in the world?
  • What type of flower is a ‘Lady’s Slipper’?

Lynne had to quickly run off for a toilet roll – so she could do ChiBall.

ChiBall is a serious matter.

Gyda on planting:

The Reflections Friendship Group returns to Shrewsbury House on 3rd August at 1pm. Numbers are limited and many safety measures will be in place.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Looking back on Zoom – 20th July 2021

A very hot day. The group spent some discussing who had sunshine, rain, thunder and/or lightning. By the end of the session, I think we had all had some of everything – except for our friends in Exeter, who just had extreme heat.

Today it was a day to remember the fun we have had on Zoom. The poll showed Pearl’s Jokes were clearly very popular – but exercise did very well too. The members said they did addition exercises outside the group to keep flexible (no-one mentioned cycling, although we have some keen cyclists in the group).

Not everyone joins in with the craft sessions, but those that do are very positive about the quick crafts. The poems “were always appropriate.  Often touching and uplifting“. The other sessions were also popular – including the Reflection reading – and the missing Quiz sessions.

The most popular was the chats. A said they brought back lots of memories covering lots of topics.  C said they provoked lots of memories. D suggested that when back at Shewsbury House we could possibly record peoples’ stories. P enjoyed the funny stories.  L enjoyed finding out about other people’s lives.

The Shrewsbury House poll speaks for itself. We look forward to being back there soon.

No Gyda this week, but we did have homework to show.

David showed us several of his paintings. We hope to see an exhibition when we return to Shrewsbury House.

Pearl prepares for the Olympics:

Pearl’s songs were “Memories are made of this”, “Magic Moments” and  “Daydream Believer”.

Lynne did two quizzes – Here are some questions about Nursery Rhymes:

  • The grand old Duke of York had how many men?
  • Lucy Locket lost her pocket; who found it?
  • How did Doctor Foster go to Gloucester?

Lynne always enjoys being quizmaster, but some of her questions are very tricky.

Janet encouraged us to be In the present moment

The Reflections Friendship Group returns to Shrewsbury House on 3rd August. More information coming soon.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Reflections 5th birthday – 13th July 2021

We have put the celebrations on hold until we return to Shrewsbury House.

Today it was a day to remember summer holidays.

  • C – learnt to paddle board in Greece. Recently also on Romney Marsh Lake. She’s hoping to do more maybe at Danson Park. 
  • G&M – had a coach trip to Scotland and became friends with a couple from South Africa. They flew to South Africa where they had a wonderful time and went on safari for 5 days. 
  • L – in Ireland with a friend going on holiday to Turkey. They had to drive to Belfast, but her friend went the wrong way and then nearly ran out of petrol!
  • C – when young, her brother broke his leg falling off a wall just as they were about to go on holiday. They didn’t drive at that time as her Dad worked on the railway. It was a bit of a palaver getting to Butlins and then they all caught a tummy bug. She has never been again.
  • R – paid 61 euros for a trip to the Blue Lagoon and he was the only one there.
  • A&G – had a relaxing holiday last week in Cornwall.

Gyda – holidaying in Egypt riding camels and quad bikes in the desert as well as visiting the pyramids. 

Gyda had rays of sunshine for our craft today.

Janet’s bumper joke bundle:

Janet had us singing and dancing to “Summer Holiday” by Cliff Richard, “Is this the way to Amarillo” by Tony Christie & “Ring of Fire” by our man Tony.

Gerry on “Summer Holidays”:

Gerry is always keen to give us an appropriate poem.

A quiz with answers beginning with “A”:

  • A beaded counting device
  • Hawaiian greeting
  • Chinese treatment with needles

Lynne is always the consummate quizmaster.

Gyda ran her usual ChiBall session

then read “Your best

Plans are in development for our return to Shrewsbury House.

You may now nominate Reflections as your charity when you buy items on Amazon. Click here for more information. It does not cost you (or the retailer) anything and Reflections will receive 0.5% of what you spend.

Carers Group: 12/07/21

We asked the group if the wished to stay on Zoom, given the ending of covid restrictions on the 19th July. Our members said they enjoyed the convenience of Zoom and were happy to keep these meetings online.

[I missed this meeting, but we had the delightful Gyda taking notes – hence the improvement in quality.]

A new member

We welcomed a new member to the group. She was only 20 when her dad was diagnosed (age 63) with Alzheimer’s. There is no experience of dementia in the family. At first it was thought to be depression. The family looked after him for 2 years at home, but he very quickly deteriorated and has been in a home for two and a half years.

[There can be rapid deterioration in young onset before age 65. Sometimes doctors look for depression rather than dementia. The whole family need to be involved. You can read more about young/early onset dementia here].

Janet asked – what did you notice? She said her dad was a clever man, but he began to forget things – her age for example. The bizarre behaviour came on later – this included taking his clothes off and getting wound up by things. He became aggressive and angry.

He hasn’t spoken since COVID and he doesn’t respond anymore. Janet recommend Playlist for Life (PfL) to provokes memories. There is more about PfL here.

Control is not an option

Another member said her mum is up and down and everything can change in 10 minutes. The daughter likes to be in control and that’s a challenge for her mum. Our member and the others attending recognised that trying to “control” someone with dementia is not a realistic option (however much you might want to). She was away for her birthday at the weekend and her son dealt with mum. She is very impressed with his management, keeping her calm. She doesn’t want to overload him as he is in a relationship and also cares for another relative.

Mum gets into a panic over things like bills, but likes the children and cards from friends, even though they have to find pictures of who they are. 

The daughter has Lasting Power of attorney (LPA) and is going to register all the official stuff to her address, so mum just gets the nice bits. 

She is much calmer at the moment- she is working with MIND on a 10 week course. She self referred. She is already looking forward, thinking to find solutions. She will tell the group useful things from the course at later meetings.

Going out and coming home

A long standing member says she is muddling along. Her step father lives in her mum’s house. Her mum has passed away. He has been able to get on a bus to go to Greenwich. The daughter gave him a ticket for the Curry Sark. He went on his own and had a good day. She goes round to see how he’s getting on. He is going for a pre-op check for a postponed hernia op next Monday. She is concerned about who will help him aft the op. His bed and a commode will have to be downstairs and his house is already full of stuff! There will have to be a discussion about the support needed carers etc. She was advised to alert the ward for a safe discharge

Another story of early onset

The male attendee this evening said his wife had memory issues before the diagnosis which took a long time by different specialists. The support was very poor. Now his wife’s language is poor and she can’t communicate, some days are better than others

They have a live in carer and she is fine with that. They have some additional support, which enables him to have some time for himself. He has had a few breaks away. He said – finding the right carer is important – you have to be comfortable with them and they have to be able to stimulate the dementia patient.

He is ok at the moment. There was no recognition from her when he came back from being away. 

Working late again

Our regular 8pm joiner (we run a flexible meeting) said her dad had another episode and was down on the ground and unresponsive for 15 minutes. He was taken to Queen Elizabeth hospital on Friday. There was a lack of communication between departments. Her mum stayed with him all the time. On Sunday he became over stimulated (noise and lights) and he exploded hitting Mum and nurses. The daughter could her it on her phone, he was using a pillow to hit out. He was given a sedative. It was very traumatic for her mum. He was in a depressive state after that for days. The Doctors don’t know why it’s happening.

They are waiting for a letter from the Memory Clinic. They may discharge him as there is nothing more they can do. 

He was weaker when he came home, particularly his balance and walking. He needs more care getting in an out of the bath and going to the bathroom He’s regaining strength, but not back to how he was before.

Social services contacted mum to say they could help, but mum doesn’t want that yet. She wants to do it for him. The daughter said mum is exhausted after the hospital time. Lots of stress. He has more happy moments after being in hospital, but you can’t mention hospital. 

Janet advised planning gradually for the responsibility of it all, rather than wait for a crisis to happen. Sensitively drift the idea of support to her mum. Family carers need support too, thinking before it happens. Asking mum – what’s your thinking? What would make you want to change something? Planning for help and support would be a good thing. 

Tatiana said even if mum says she would like an assessment it takes time. He would not be “taken away”. Social Services have to work with the family to explore all options and they try to keep people at home as long as possible. Care home cost more money, it takes weeks to do all this and there is a waiting list. If she is afraid of the outcome it would be better to plan ahead.

A carer needs to be aware that promises they make early on can be unachievable down the line. It the carer setting themselves up for guilt? What if they can’t look after their loved one? Realistically, they can say – I will do the best I can, but I may not be able to do this untill the end.

Long covid and caring

Our member who has had covid said he is feeling tired. He’s been chasing his sister’s pension and it is now going through. She came round to watch the football, but went on the computer with the volume up. He said she knows something is wrong, but not really what it is. She wasn’t eating properly, so they bought some frozen meals, so now she eating more regularly. His wife still has to make a distraction to check the fridge. The sister had a roast dinner with them, but said she was still hungry! They have contacted Nikki from BLG MIND and she says she’s ok with that.

Supporting someone with dementia is a learning experience for yourself. 

Thinking about Shrewsbury House – 6th July 2021

The Prime Minister said on Monday that he expected the final step of the lockdown roadmap would go ahead as planned on 19 July. This will be confirmed on 12 July, after a review of the latest data.

Janet asked the group what they thought about returning to Shrewsbury House next month. The view of the group, including volunteers, was that this would be a welcome move, but everyone would like to feel safe. Janet said that she would be leading a risk assessment and would come back to the group with ideas for how the re-start could be managed. Any further views/ ideas/ comments/ concerns would be welcome.

Group members had been busy again this week. David had ventured overseas (north of the Thames) to enable him to paint this picture of our side of the river. Others had been meeting family and friends, as restrictions have eased. Most people had managed to keep gardening (more on that in coming weeks).

Gyda had another very quick craft, cats on a wall. G seems to have finally found a craft I might be able to do.

The homework had been popular, our members obviously like butterflies.

Three of Pearl’s jokes:

Pearl had us singing and dancing to “Don’t treat me like a child” by Helen Shapiro Green and “Green grass of home” by Tom Jones.

I’m not sure if Dot and Jen were reacting to Pearl’s jokes or the tricky quiz from Lynne.

Quizmaster Lynne was back with a July quiz:

  • Where was the world’s first test-tube baby was born in July 1978?
  • In July 1960 a new star was added to the American flag. Which state does it represent?
  • Name the 14 year old Romanian girl who became the first female to score a perfect 10 in Olympics gymnastics in July 1976?

Lynne apologised for the difficulty of the questions, but explained that Janet had found the quiz (!).

Gyda ran another ChiBall session

then read “Expectations

We hope to be back at Shrewsbury House soon(ish).

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A meal with famous people – 29th June 2021

  • P & G said George Clooney and not for the coffee!
  • P has a photo taken with George at Madam Tussauds.
  • J said Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe
  • M also said Frank Sinatra
  • R said Brunel and King Kala 
  • G saw JFK coming past in a motorcade when he was working in a hardware store in 1963. JFK was wearing a blue suit with sparkles in it. [You can see JFK & G in the picture here] He would also like dinner with Pope Paul the second. 
  • J2 idol was Robert Mitchum, she sent away for a signed photo of him. She liked all his films.
  • C & D both said Nelson Mandela and would ask What it felt like to be free?
  • D also sat next to Jack Charlton on a train going up north. 
  • D2 is not a dinner person but taught Chris Eubank
  • A thinks Nelson Mandela is an inspirational person. He has met Wayne Sleep, Michael Ball and Judy Dench when he was working security at the National Theatre.
  • J2 went to the toilet at the Orchard Theatre and Judy Dench was in there at the same time.
  • J3 met Prunella Scales at the theatres.
  • P has Michael Aspel autograph
  • J3 saw Acker Bilk at the Barbican.
  • G saw Kriss Akabusi when he came to school to do a presentation.
  • Mary saw Kenneth Moore at Wembley
  • G2 met Linda Lusardi (but his head was cut off in the picture M took)
  • G saw met Paul McCartney and Billy Fury.
  • J2 met Steve Davis before he was born, as his mother was having him just a few hours before J2 had her daughter. M also had a photo taken with Steve Davis
  • D2 met 3 Prime Ministers- James Callaghan Tony Blair and Boris Johnston
  • M2 – liked Alan Ladd, but didn’t meet him
  • D & J met Jean Alexander on a cruise and the Osmonds at a concert in the US.

As summer has arrived, Gyda had us making butterflies.

Pearl on marriage:

Pearl then had us singing and dancing.

Janet stood-in for Quizmaster Lynne this week:

  • What is the name for a group of cats?
  • What is special about a Hemingway cat?
  • Who was the first cartoon film cat?

Gyda engaged us in more Chi Ball [you can find out a bit more about ChiBall here].

We listed to the group song again: “Three little birds”, as sung by Tony Martin.

We look forward to seeing Tony when we return to Shrewsbury House.

Gyda’s on – The little engine that could:

Another sunny afternoon.

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Positives from childhood – 22nd June 2021

Everyone had difficulties in their childhood, but they all would prefer to have had their experiences, than be a child now.

  • L – remembers children playing football outside her house ‘There were gangs of us’
  • D – his older brother looked after him. His big brother cut his leg near the Dutch House and was taken to hospital, leaving David behind. He found his way home and had blackberry pie at his neighbours  house. Also walking through Greenwich to Deptford Creek, there was a factory which the boys went in to mess about in but David decided to go home he was only about 9 years old. He said ‘ we did what we liked’
  • C –  her brother was paid six pence to walk C to school. But he never did. He also jumped into the deep end of a swimming pool (he couldn’t swim) and had to be rescued by the lice guard. Their Mum was  not best pleased. He was just showing off.
  • D2 – went out with his mates getting into trouble. Now we wrap them in cotton wool. If we did something wrong then someone would tell your mum or dad.
  • J – we wouldn’t back chat an older person. If you complain to parents nowadays, you just get abuse back. Now there’s always someone there to keep an eye on the children.
  • L – used to go to Epping Forest to catch sticklebacks – it was near a weir. 
  • J2 – was evacuated to a village near a farm when she was about 6 years old. She had a lovely  time.
  • J3 – was 5 years old in 1934 and spent all the war years away from home. She didn’t have a very good time Her brother looked after her. They had to work hard on the farm.

Gary, from The Carers Centre, told us their garden party now had a limit on numbers attending. They have a waiting list for those still keen to come. No one should turn up if they haven’t been allocated a place.

We are almost able to attend events…

Gyda had a very, very, quick craft. You draw a dandelion (in any colour) and make a wish.

More quick jokes from Pearl:

Pearl’s tunes were: “Roaring Twenties medley” and “Lucky Lips” (Alma Cogan version). 

Gerry “Our younger years”:

We were very pleased to have Gerry back – he helped out by reading the poll questions, a well as reading “Our younger years”.

Lynne’s quiz:

  • A group of Lions is known as a…?
  • What do pandas eat?
  • What is a baby goat called?

We listed to the group song: “Three little birds”, as sung by Tony Martin.

Gyda’s “Patience”:

Another jolly afternoon.

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School holidays – 15th June 2021

Were school holidays too long or too short? For some of our group the “holidays” involved working. Others had lots of fun doing what they liked, without much supervision. They had some specific reminiscences:

  • R – In 1944 went to Sandwich Bay in Kent with 240 other boys from the orphanage he was in. They stayed in some sheds and swam in the sea, which was polluted with sewerage. 
  • A – said he helped his Mum with chores and gardening. He also had a milk round.
  • L – remembers going to holiday camps, and staying with her aunt and Gran. There was a cliff lift at Bridgenorth which they spent all day going up and down.
  • J – stayed in Guildford in huts They had food coupons that went missing so they raided one girl’s stuff, who they thought had taken them. J later on found her coupons. 
  • C – was off in the holidays straight to the stables with her sandwiches and squash. They were out all day. They played fox and hound. It was good fun and they had not a care in the world.
  • D – Enjoyed the freedom, running round the common all day. It was real fun and gave them independence No mobile phones. We made our own amusements and made us independent and mindful of roads and each other (had sense of responsibility).

Nikki, from BLJ Mind, is gradually getting out and about doing visits. They have a new person joining the team and will be able to be more active in the community.

Nikki was saving on her internet usage, so we only had a disembodied voice and her photo.

Gyda drew a flower with a thick outline. She then cut out the petals and filled-in with strips of cut up magazines. The group were keen, but the craft has tipped into homework for next week.

Quick jokes from Pearl:

Pearl’s tunes included:  “Summer Holiday” and “Come on over to my place”. 

Gyda’s “Focusing your multitasking”:

Keep well.

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Carers Group: 14/06/21

A very warm evening. We managed a chat, without getting overheated.

A continuing caring role

A carer returned to the group after a short break. Sadly, her mother had passed away – now she was spending more time caring for her step-dad. As sometimes happens, she has taking on a role that might have been shared with other close relatives. For their own reasons those relatives are not playing a very active caring role. Our member had arranged a trip out for her step dad and was hoping it all went well.

Who takes responsibility?

In a continuing saga, a carer told us the care home she was dealing with would tell her that action had been taken, when it had not. The person she cares for had seemed unwell, eventually the care home reported that she had been taken to the local hospital. The hospital then said that they had found several things wrong with the person in care. Why the care home did not take action earlier is unclear.

When the carer visited the hospital, she noticed that several rings had gone missing. In due course she discovered that the care home had removed them before the trip to the hospital, but not mentioned this during several discussions.

Janet and Tatiana advised our member to ask the home when they had noticed the health issues. The hospital said they had been there for some time. The carer should speak to the care home manager and, if not happy, speak to the funding council.

Food and funding

Our member who cares for someone living on their own, is concerned that she is not preparing and eating meals. When visiting our member she eats heartily, but there is little evidence of food in her home. He intend to monitor the situation more closely and suggest options for simple meal – such as frozen dinners and having food delivered (such as Wiltshire Farm Foods). He may also consider suggesting having some visiting carers.

He has also found that a council benefit has stopped. As he has Lasting Power of Attorney, he is looking at the best way to manage correspondence, without upsetting the person he cares for.

What is true?

A carer visits her husband in a care home. He sits in a chair, is unresponsive and very sleepy. To get him standing takes a long tome and several people to help. The care home say that he is able to do things for himself and is eating. He now has a problem with his foot which is getting progressively worse. In the short time he has been in the care home he has required several visits to hospital. He was recently taken to hospital for a blood test (why couldn’t this be done in the home?)

Tatiana recommended that our carer speak to the podiatrist and arrange a meeting with the care home manager. Our carer should have been involved in monthly care plan reviews (she had not).

Visits to the loo

What happens when you forget what to do when you visit the toilet? A carer said he would accompany his wife to the loo 20-30 time a day, with varying success. He said he was managing, but was a little concerned as he had booked a couple of short (much needed) breaks for himself. There would be a live-in carer, but they would find the loo regime a challenge.

Dementia treatments

The latest report on our member’s dad who has Dementia with Lewy Bodies is quite positive. The memory clinic has (after a year’s wait) prescribed some medication and are looking to up the dosage as he becomes used to it. His mood has also improved, as he is now able to go and visit family members.

The “bad guy”

When you are living with someone you care for, you are sometimes the subject of their anger/mood swings. Our member’s mum has taken to having a nap in the afternoon, when she wakes-up, she is confused. This confusing now often leads to accusations of “wrong doing”. For example – mum tend to have a well stocked fridge and freezer, but some items will become out of date. The daughter has to carefully take these away and dispose of them without mum becoming upset that food is being taken.

Our member reports that she is managing quite well and this has been helped by continuing counselling and Cognative Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Forgetting to drink

Dehydration can cause many problems. Our carer reported that her husband made his own drinks and had drinks provided for him, however, he often forgot to drink them. Dehydration had caused issues which led to hospitalisation in the past and our carer was doing her best to ensure her husband drank enough – especially in the how weather.

Vaccinating all care home staff

The government recently announced: “People working in CQC-registered care homes will need to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated with both doses”.

Whatever your views on this, it puts care homes under further pressure. Currently, care home costs vary, but are a real burden on those who have to pay (more information on costs from ‘Which’ here). Care homes tend to pay low wages and staff have very difficult jobs (here is an article from The Guardian). Covid has put an enormous strain on this sector (see a BBC article here).

Something needs to be done. The Prime Minister has made promises.

I have also benefited from CBT, thanks to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust.

Radio – 8th June 2021

The group were and (mostly) are fans of the radio. Our poll started a long discussion about favourite programmes. Two way family Favourites, Educating Archie and Workers’ Playtime came up. After some chat we even found two fans of The Goon Show and Dr Finlay’s Casebook. Mentioning no names, but 86% of the group had listened to Pirate Radio. We even had a couple of people who had worked on Pirate Radio stations (never caught).

Three members have an unusual reason for listening to radio into the night – they have tinnitus and the radio sounds (LBC was popular) masked the irritation of ringing in their ears.

When chatting about the devices used for listening to “The Radio”, we went from Cat’s Whiskers to Alexa. We also had some comments about accumulators and acid. I had a look on the internet and this sums up the experience: ‘In the early 50s I remember riding up to the cycle shop to swap a used accumulator for a fully charged one, a glass jar full of acid! riding home with it swinging from my handle bars! And at no time did anyone say “you be careful with that now” !!! Carefree days’. Thank goodness Alexa etc only require a good talking to.

Gyda had a very quick craft – making a summer parasol. It was so quick we almost missed the photo opportunity.

A pack of Pearl’s jokes:

Pearl’s tunes included:  “Singing the Blues” and “How do you do what you do to me”.

Dot and Jen were very amused by Pearl’s jokes – as were we all.

Gerry told us about “Radio”:

We are all very pleased that Gerry’s poems are, once again, a feature of the sessions.

Lynne was back on quiz duty today. She had tough questions about radio:

  • What did Tonto call the Lone Ranger?
  • Which radio series featured the character Simon Templar?
  • Finish the radio jingle: ‘You wonder where the yellow went when you brushed your teeth with..?

Gyda gave us more Chi ball. Even in the heat, we were keen to join in.

Gyda’s “Doubt”:

Keep safe.

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