We were treated to an excellent performance of some great tunes.
Gyda was busy leading the paper crafts.
David had his ever popular clay tilers.
We enjoyed seeing some of our new members dancing the afternoon away with our regulars.
John (from our wonderfully supportive Rotary Club of Greenwich) came to see the group. Here he is explaining to me how he doesn’t dance, but by the end of the afternoon he was dancing along with everyone else.
The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 25th April at 1pm. Julian will be back to entertain us.
Please note: in our uploaded photos we blur the faces of all group members. You do see the faces of our wonderful volunteers.
Janet told the group about the The Shared Lives Schemes.
The schemes support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or other needs that make it harder for them to live on their own. The schemes match someone who needs care with an approved carer. The carer shares their family and community life, and gives care and support to the person with care needs.
Some people move in with their shared lives carer, while others are regular daytime visitors. Some combine daytime and overnight visits.
Janet also spoke about the latest news from the Alzheimer’s Society Innovation Hub – see below.
Innovations from the Alzheimer’s Society Innovation Hub
Eargym hearing app for hearing health checks.
Hearing loss isn’t just for older people. From understanding your hearing age, to strengthening your hearing skills with immersive games – Eargym aims to make better hearing accessible for all.
Hearing loss and dementia related. Hearing loss is correlated with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Research shows that even mild hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia (see the RNI:D article here), while moderate hearing loss triples the risk, and severe hearing loss can increase the risk up to five times. To reduce the risks of hearing loss and dementia, it is important to look after your hearing and health and treat even mild hearing difficulties.
The Alzheimer’s Society suggests the following ways to support someone with hearing loss and dementia:
Ensuring regular hearing health checks
Wearing hearing aids and treating the hearing loss as directed by an audiologist
Learning to communicate with visual cues, prompts, gestures and expressions
Sibstar a debit card for people with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society say Sibstar is the first, highly secure debit card and app designed to help families living with dementia to safely manage their daily spending. Amongst other things, the app gives you the ability to set daily and monthly spending limits, switch cashpoint, and online it adapts as the needs of individual customers change, delivering financial independence and enabling people with dementia to continue living life the way they choose. The costs are: £4.99 setup, £4.99 a month to run the app and 99p per withdrawal.
New and improved Jelly drops
Jelly Drops have launched a new version of their sugar-free sweet designed to help those with dementia who struggle to hydrate! They claim to be tastier, easier to eat & with 60% less plastic packaging. New Jelly Drops still contain 95% water with added electrolytes to support hydration. You can find out more here.
Moving into a care home
A daughter gave an update on her mum. She is still in a care home, but she seems more like her old self. The daughter is seeing a financial advisor and is getting a house valuation. The social worker is still chasing her to move her Mum into a permanent location. However there are no spaces available that will meet her mum’s needs. Tatiana recommended asking to speak to the social worker’s manager to discuss the situation and next steps.
This article here suggests the local authority will fund the first six weeks of a temporary care home placement, where a person needs to be moved out of a hospital. If a suitable permanent place can not be found within six weeks, discussion will need to be had regarding next steps. This may mean taking on the payment of the care home place until such time as a permanent place is found.
Another daughter said her mum has had Covid in Queen Elizabeth hospital, but tested negative today. She is going to Charlton Park home tomorrow (04/04/23). She has a social worker who is learning as she goes along, but they are on quite good terms. The daughter is trying to get a financial assessment done. She has been told her mum has to have 24 hour care. She says she has got over the guilt of placing her mum in care. She said she had been told there would be a panel to discuss her situation but didn’t know what this involved. Tatiana explained the process of going to the panel to decide what happens – there is shared information from all those involved in deciding her mum’s care and the carer should be invited to give their input too. Care homes have to work with carers in placing people in the right place.
More care needed
A new member spoke about caring for her husband. They have a supportive family, but she now needs a bit more help. Her husband has planned surgery in early May and lots of appointments. He has hearing issues and had trouble with his hearing aid. – they had issues with Lewisham hospital who said they couldn’t see him for a few weeks. As his wife knew how loss of hearing affected her husband, they ended up going privately to Devika James on Lee High Road – they were very pleased with their service. The husband is now more vulnerable than he was and needs more help and is more reliant on her. She takes time out to meet a friend once a month. The husband has been referred to groups, Live well with dementia, and Cognitive stimulation group at Oxleas, plus another group at Age exchange.
A sister has become more belligerent and uses colourful language. The Memory Clinic said the family will have to wait until things get really bad before they will intervene. There are ongoing issues with her taking her meds. She is still deciding when she’s going to take them. Janet asked if is there a mental capacity test coming up. Apparently there is a 6-7 month back log, so they are waiting. Her brother was concerned about his sister saying inappropriate things when they are out, as she is prone to make personal remarks about others. This is something she never used to do. Janet advised having a discreet word with the person the comment is aimed at if he feels they heard, saying words along the lines of “I’m so sorry, my sister isn’t well ”.
A wife has become harder to look after while the husband is away a break, as she has trouble going up the stairs. She can’t work out at times how to use her feet. Janet asked if he had considered a care home placement while he is away. He felt a respite place would throw her out of routine as it would not be familiar and she would be better at home. The husband said he has got used to how his wife is, but her daughter still finds it hard.
For those going into care or hospital the Alzheimer’s Society “This is me” document can be helpful.
Independent Age also has information on a wide range of topics affecting older people on their website with booklets that can be ordered or downloaded.
About Dementia Careblazers
There is a lot of useful information on the YouTube video channel Dementia Careblazers run by Dr Natali Edmonds a psychogeriatrician (website: Careblazers.com). There are videos on many topics most of which are short. There is a free course available too, which is one and a half hours, available by providing an email address. Peter did the course and thought it was good. Be mindful, however, if you give your email address to access the free course as you will get lots of emails from Dr. E. You will need to unsubscribe, if you don’t want to receive these.
A member’s dad continues to be stable. Lately he gets fixated on things that pop into his head. It can be challenging. At times he still believes he is at work and will ask his daughter why his meeting has not started. The daughter says “I’ll find out” rather than saying “I don’t know”, which seems to diffuse the situation. She has also been doing talking therapy at the Deborah Ubee Trust and said it helped her to order her thoughts.
Ups and downs
A brother is up and down. How he is varies from week to week. The sister mentioned a book by Oliver James on dementia Contented Dementia which she found helpful.
Coping with change
We had an update on a member’s mum, following her fall and stay in the Queen Elizabeth hospital. She is now in the Oaks Care Home, which she says is brilliant. They have sorted out her hair, nails etc. It’s only an interim placement. The daughter is having a difficult time finding a place she feels happy with for her mum that is closer to where she lives. Tatiana recommended making an unannounced visit to care homes, as well as arranged ones. Since she went into the care home, mum is a lot better, the delirium has gone, but she’s not stable enough to move out of her room.
Another mum was still in the QE. Three weeks ago her mum forgot who her daughter was. She wasn’t coping at home and had several falls. She was being found by the carer following the fall. The daughter is experiencing difficulties finding somewhere for her mum. Tatiana gave advice on different options, care packages and assessments.
A wife talked about her recent holiday with her husband. They went on holiday to Revitalise in Chigwall. Revitalise specialise in supported breaks. Everyone was very kind. They went to see The Lion King and had a trip on a narrow boat. Unfortunately her husband was taken ill while away and had to go to the local hospital. He had a chest infection and caught covid. His wife also got a sickness bug, but was allowed to stay at Revitalise until the husband was able to go home. She has decided that she needs respite, so for her next break her husband is going into care while she goes to see family.
Next meeting has been moved to 3rd April 2023 due to Easter