Blog

Jamie Steen- 27th September 2022

Jamie came with another selection of unusual outfits that managed to fit his choice of hits from the 50s and 60s.

He managed his quick changes, and had everyone singing, dancing and joining-in.

Gyda looked after the craft room and kept everyone busy.

Dot and Jen were busy looking after the quizzes, puzzles and colouring.

Dancing is always optional, but always popular.

Tony will entertain us at our next session.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 11th October at 1pm.

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.

Tom Carradine – 13th September 2022

A new performer today -the delightful Mr C.

Tom got (nearly) everyone up dancing and singing to songs old and not quite so old. The Abba medley went down well, as did the Beatles. There was also the promised knees-up.

A busy dance floor – as ever.

Earlier, David’s craft table was popular – as was Gyda’s.

Carmen came from The Greenwich Carers Centre to offers confidential advice to our members. The Centre has lots of useful information here.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 13th September at 1pm.

Jamie will be with us at our next session.

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: 12/9/22

Notices

  • Reflections is part of Greenwich Demential Action Group (DAG). Angelika, the group leader, is holding workshops for Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) at the Eltham, Greenwich and Woolwich Centres. Details are here.
  • There is a new Oxleas – Greenwich and Bexley team. They will will starting a year long project testing and implementing support for dementia in care homes, looking to reduce medication, one to one support and placement breakdown. Initially to work with five care homes and then may roll it out to all care homes. Hannah Debenhams is the new senior manager
  • MIND  – have a Memory Cafe at the Carers Centre (Stables) first Thursday of every month. They will have  activities and there will be someone from MIND to talk to.The next Carers training programme will be in November.
  • Assessments – Oxleas have a ten to eleven week wait for new people. People with urgent needs will be prioritised. They are struggling to fill vacancies and have a locum consultant at the moment. Greenwich is behind the national average to get a diagnosis. Louisa will be at the Carers Centre on the first Thursday of the month 1.00 – 3.00 pm. Magic Moments is the same day from 10-00 – 12.00 for anyone with dementia diagnosis (discussions, quizzes). It’s upstairs and there is a lift.

Member updates

Holidays

Husband and wife carers have been away to France and are feeling refreshed. The husband thinks his sister switched her phone off, but a relative fixed it. They think maybe she turned it off and couldn’t remember how to put it back on. They haven’t broached the subject of medication yet and the sister hasn’t made an appointment.

Another carer has also had a week away (very nice). She had everything in place for her mum before she went. Mum was ok – but slightly more confused. She doesn’t remember that her daughter has been away. Her doctor says that mum is physically well. The daughter said she needs to worry less. Janet – it’s the nature of dementia, always anticipating, enjoy the love. The daughter is going to trust her sons more and she might go away again!

Visitors

A daughter said her dad had good days and bad days. Her dad’s brother came for a visit. Her dad had not seen his brother since 2018 and it was good for him. He did recognise his brother and was able to follow the conversations. Her dad didn’t recognise some of the other family members. When his brother had to leave it was hard for them both. They are going to enjoy things in the moment.

Jigsaw puzzles

A step daughter had nothing dramatic to report. Some parts of his mind seem to function and some parts are like a jigsaw puzzle with bits missing. He is still collecting stuff that people put out side (for example – a chest of drawers). She is worried about the heating bills as he does not have central heating in the house, just plug in appliances, heaters, fans etc. Janet asked does he heat all the rooms or just the ones he’s in? She said – the water is heated in the tank and there are a lot of trailing cables to worry about, but his son is the main carer and is aware of the situation.

Jelly drops

A husband had gone out on his own, leaving the front door open and without keys. A neighbour called her. He doesn’t remember going out. His memory is getting worse. His diabetes and diet are ok. He uses jelly drops for a liquid top-up. They are expensive, but they stop him getting dehydrated. He has arthritis in his hands quite badly and has difficulty opening the tray as it has two layers. He has to work out how to get them out and where the edge is to open them. Janet – suggested contacting the company about the design of the packaging. Another carer suggested an internal cameras so the wife can see what’s going on (the system has a microphone too). She uses a Ring Doorbell. This carer said she is able to pick up on her mums behaviour and if she is getting agitated or anxious. It gives her reassurance.

New

A new member of the group said that after listening to everyone he has gained insight in what is to come. Janet said everyone’s experiences will be unique to them. Group members all told him how long they had waited for diagnosis and how the dementia had progressed. One has not yet been diagnosed. The new person talked about his wife’s constant tiredness. Today she didn’t feel well, but did attend her appointments. Tatiana – asked if she sleeps well and was she eating and drinking enough. He said that she says she is not hungry. She goes to bed early and gets up late. They are waiting for a sleep monitor. She’s a light sleeper. Tatiana asked if she has lost interest in doing certain activities, as she may be depressed. Janet said, due to chemical changes in the body, “tiredness” can be depression. He said he will bring it up with the GP as she had antidepressants before when she had a spine problem.

Gyda read: “Serenity”:

You might empathise with the author of the popular blog:

Midsummer Madness by Georgina Grant

Next meeting 3rd October 2022. Please note, this is a change to the first Monday in the month.

Julian Garman – 30th August 2022

Janet was unwell and could not attend, but Julian blew up a storm.

The tunes were varied and the audience sang and danced along.

David’s creative corner went well. Note the programme for the Plumstead Artists Open Studios 2022 – you can read more here.

The “Library” offered plenty of space for dancing to Julian’s tunes.

Gary came from The Greenwich Carers Centre to offers confidential advice to our members. The Centre has lots of useful information here.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 13th September at 1pm.

Tom Carradine will entertain us for the first time at our next session. You can see more of Tom and his cockney sing-a-longs here.

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.

Tony Martin – 16th August 2022

Tony entertained a record post Covid turnout.

We were treated to a selection of tunes from the 50s/60s/70s.

You can hear some more of Tony’s best tunes here.

Marc was with us to run the archery.

The colouring and quizzes filled the first hour.

We were very pleased so many people were able to dance in the cooler conditions.

Carmen came from The Greenwich Carers Centre to offers confidential advice to our members. The Centre has lots of useful information here.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 30th August at 1pm.

Julian will entertain us with his power-packed selection of songs from the recent past.

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: 8/8/22

Becoming withdrawn

A carer told the group it’s hard to get her step father to talk. He’s a bit more withdrawn than he used to be. He gets confused from time to time. His son is involved and visits him at least once a week. The dad wants to take his son to Paris, but the step daughter doesn’t know how much enthusiasm he has for this. She thinks his son should be doing more. She feels when she suggests things she is treading a fine line.

Falling

A husband says his wife is fairly active at this time of day [8pm]. Last month at the end of a meeting he found her laying on the floor. She had fallen. She doesn’t fall with a bang, so it’s difficult to know when she misses the chair if he’s not actually with her. She falls 2 to 3 times a week. When he went to visit his mum in Cornwall the carers struggled to get her up the stairs. Its  difficult when he goes away. He is thinking about a space for a bed downstairs – eventually. He is thinking about a chair lift, but it would be difficult to get His wife in it. They still go for walks in the afternoon. The house is familiar and keeps her settled and calm. Janet suggests he needs his respite.

Additional illness

A person being cared for by her brother and his wife have found that she is tired from a lot of hospital visits. This said, her treatment has gone well, though she complains of aches and pains. Her two carers made sure she was ready for her last treatment despite her saying she wasn’t going. She is now free of her illness, but she tells people she is still ill. She has to be reminded that she’s ok. 

She has been to the memory clinic and was told she needed to be put on antipsychotic drugs. Janet advised looking up antipsychotic drugs and the associated issues, due to the potential risks. Tatiana recommended discussing more with the Doctor and ask why they recommend it and suggested it should a small dosage to start with. Also, if the carers agree to this route they should insist on regular reviews.

A daughter told the group her dad was sectioned at the end. She was concerned when he was on antipsychotic drugs. He changed dramatically in a week, but the drugs did have the desired effect. It was such a shock. She recommended exploring everything first. Janet said the use of antipsychotic drugs in care homes went up 50% during lockdown.

The daughter suggested anti anxiety meds maybe a better route and to find out what happens if she should stop taking the meds or not take them regularly. Janet said information about antipsychotic drugs is on the government website and the Mind website.

Becoming anxious

A daughter said her mum is gradually declining and getting anxious. She has spoken to the carers agency about the meds box. Mum forgets to get dinners out and sometimes cooks 3 dinners. She peels loads of potatoes, carrots etc but it keeps her busy. Tomorrow she is having a bowel check and The daughter is concerned about the colour of her mum’s legs, which is getting worse. Mum says someone is stealing her underwear, although she has plenty. Mum has called the police saying she’s been burgled – someone had taken her knickers. The daughter now keeps some at her house so she can take them round when mum can’t find any. The police station now have mum’s details and occasionally pop in to see if she’s ok.

Further information and good reads:

  • Janet – read from the website Forward with Dementia which is “a guide to living with dementia”.
  • The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Together magazine has interesting and informative articles.
  • My life TV offers a mix of programmes. You need to subscribe at £3.99 a month.
  • The Power of Smell is worth exploring as this care site explains.
  • The Recovery Magazine latest edition is here.

and the ever popular blog:

Next meeting 12th September 2022.

Vikki Melrose – 2nd August 2022

Another powerhouse of a performance from one of our favourite singers.

We were pleased to be back after missing our last date due to a burst water main cutting off the water supply to Shrewsbury House.

We had lots of new members today and they all liked to sing or dance or both.

Vikki gave us some very danceable tunes. The Abba section was particularly popular. This bit involved a Love Train.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 16th August at 1pm.

Tony will be back with us next time.

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.

Constipation

Constipation is one of those subjects people are less likely to talk about yet one which can have a profound effect on health and well being. As this has cropped up as a worry or concern from time to time by some of our carers, now would be a good time to address this common issue.

As the taste buds and diet of a person with dementia change over time, it is quite likely they will experience constipation at some point.

Searching the internet, an article by Milton Keynes NHS Foundation Trust was found on steps to take to prevent constipation, and good positions to adopt when opening the bowels. The latter includes raising the feet onto a footstool, which as the article says improves the angle of the rectum within the pelvis. The article is here.

If constipation is starting to become a problem then maybe consider a natural remedy. A study was carried out in a care home whereby residents were given a completely natural laxative, known as the Beverley-Travis Natural Laxative Mixture every day and this greatly reduced the incidences of constipation. The mixture was rated as easy or very easy to administer, was cost effective and more effective than prescribed laxatives at producing normal bowel movements. Link to article here.

The recipe for the Beverley-Travis Natural Laxative Mixture containing dried fruits in equal measure can be found here.

In terms of the recipe, it is likely water or orange juice would work.

People with dementia acquire a sweet tooth over time so, as this mixture is sweet, as the study showed, it should be easy to administer.

We suggested this recipe to a family member in the past and they reported it was effective.

IMPORTANT: Constipation can be caused by a myriad of reasons not just dietary problems so as always, if in any doubt please speak to your doctor and seek their advice.

Janet

Carers Group: 11/07/22

Since our last meeting Janet has met Donna Godfrey – Oxleas Advanced Dementia Nurse Specialist. Her role is to offer support for people, living at home, in the latter stages of dementia. You can self refer to her service. Donna attended our last Friendship Group meeting with one of our members.

Janet’s introduction

Janet introduced a discussion on the article on “Vision and perception” in the current edition of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Together Magazine.

The Society’s factsheets cover the information in more detail:

  • Changes in perception 527
  • Changes in behaviour 525
  • Making your home dementia friendly 819

Group discussion

A husband told the group he has had problems with his wife who experienced distressing hallucinations. She was given medication and the hallucinations stopped.

A daughter said her mum has to have things in certain places – not where the daughter thinks they should be. Now when the new carers come in they say who they are, why they are there and what they are going to do.

A brother said his sister has paranoia, she thinks MI5 are interested in her. She has an appointment at the Memory clinic this week. 

A wife explained her life is very different now to when her husband didn’t have dementia. Several years ago, when she was ill, she worked hard to get back to herself. She has a few hours for herself once a week. Friends are disappearing. She misses the laughter and friendships. She used to be positive, but not any more. She said it’s all about acceptance.

A daughter said some days are better than others and sometimes she feel resentful. Her friend comes up to help her and that’s eases things a little.

Janet suggested members make a list of things they would like to do – cinema, exhibitions etc. and do them.

Covid is still with us

Another daughter noted that all the family had Covid and are recovering. Her dad, who has dementia, coped with it alright. 

Gyda’s reading

Gyda gave us a reading to inspire our thoughts. You can hear more of Gyda’s words of wisdom here.

Tatiana left us with the thought “Everyday may not be good, but there’s something good in every day”.

The Recovery Magazine July edition is here.

Next meeting 8th August 2022.

Reflections 6th birthday – 5th July 2022

Jamie Steen

We welcomed Jamie to celebrate Reflections sixth birthday with his country music show.

Group members enjoyed warming up with some puzzles and a chat.

The dancing was fun, as ever.

Janet was very happy to have two new volunteers today, Tony (who stepped in at the last minute) and Debs (who has already spent a lot of time with the group in a carer’s role). We look forward to seeing more of both of them in the coming months.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 19th July at 1pm.

Julian will be with us next time.

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.