Tony Martin – 21st June 2022

The first day of summer and we had a bright and sunny performance from Tony.

Tony succeeded in getting most of us (not me) dancing and singing along. He even had a new couple dancing, when they had never danced together before!

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

Mary encouraged our puzzlers to work their way through word-searches and other brain teasers.

Janice (from the Carers Centre) was back with us giving advice to members.

David’s poems – David has recorded four more personal poems for Reflections. You may find them on his page.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 5th July at 1pm. Numbers will continue to be limited for the foreseeable future, to ensure everyone has plenty of space, and many safety measures will continue to remain in place.

Jamie 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.

Carers Group: 20/06/22

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’s introduction

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.

Clothing

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.

Quick deterioration

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.

Avoiding dehydration

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.

Vikki Melrose – 7th June 2022

We celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with some scones, a cuppa and Vikki.

Another splendid performance from one of our favourite singers.

The dancers soon took to the floor, with just a little encouragement from Vikki.

Tony will be performing another sing-a-long when the Reflections Friendship Group next meet at Shrewsbury House on 21st June at 1pm.

For the latest from:

  • The Carers Centre Newspaper click here.
  • The Recovery Magazine click 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.

Maritime Radio

Janet spoke about Reflections, live, on Maritime Radio on 31 May. The local radio team were keen to promote our group to its listeners in the Greenwich area.

You can hear the whole interview here:

Janet also recorded an advert for Reflections with the help from boss Duncan – which will appear on Maritime Radio very soon.

Presenter Steve was very welcoming and quickly put Janet at her ease.

Steve explained how things worked and what all the gadgets do – you need to have something interesting to say, while tracking everything that is going on and never missing a queue. A multitasking masterclass.

Maritime Radio is on 96.5 FM and online. You can find out more about the station here. Give them a listen.

Julian- 24th May 2022

An hour of non-stop poptastic tunes.

Julian was asked for his business card before he had even sung a note! As usual he used backing tracks to frame his singing and keyboard skills. His trumpet playing added extra punch to a couple of songs. 

Julian gave us a fun packed, dance and sing-a-long performance.

The puzzlers became very involved with the latest word-searches. Eyes were locked on the grids until all the hidden words were found. Then the next challenge was taken on.

As the dancing became more intense, the windows and doors were opened. People took recovery breaks before they returned to the dance floor. Julian was non-stop party-power.

Vikki will be entertaining us next time when we will be celebrating the Platinum Jubilee.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 7th June 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.

Jamie Steen- 10th May 2022

It was the 1950s all over again…

Jamie managed another 12 costume changes – each of which complemented the songs.

Gyda’s crafters were being creative, as usual.

We all liked to dance to the 50s tunes.

Julian is with us at our next session. You can get a flavour of the man on his YouTube site. Here is a sample:

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 24th May 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.

Carers Group: 9/05/22

Mental Awareness Week

Janet – read about this year’s topic – loneliness – including 5 steps for well being. You can read the articles that Janet based her talk on here.

Stress

The husband was going out by cab, enabling him to feel independent. His mobility is getting worse, but other things are affected too – it’s a constant star of flux. He contradicts himself all the time. He used to go out not long ago, but is not able to any more. It’s hard getting him in and out of the car and his wife has stopped leaving him on his own. A member questioned how safe is her husband is at home, especially on the stairs. His wife is considering putting the bed downstairs, if he agrees, but he currently says No. He is being included with all the decisions so far. He knows there is an issue with the stairs. Janet said the wife may have to say: if you want to stay here this is what we are going to do. It’s in her best interest. 

A mum has been napping pretty regularly in the afternoons and when she wakes she thinks her daughter is her mum. Now it’s her dad as well. The daughter is getting better at handling it. She is keeping mum busy watering the seeds up and down the path that are not really there. She is planting bedding plants when mum is not looking. Our member has had a lot going on with her mother in law, caring for the last 5 weeks. She feels like she’s running on empty.

Care packages

Another carer asked about changing care packages. They would like to use a private agency, but are concerned about changing, to part private and being able to return to social services at any time. Tatiana recommended  speaking to Social Services about options. Direct payments will give opportunities to look for different agencies. You may read about ‘Personal Budgets’ here.

Making decisions

A popular member of our Friendship Group has had a medical procedure. She will need further treatment but, the moment, she doesn’t want it. She will have a consultation to explain it all to her. Janet asked what the reason not to have the treatment – her brother said she has been watching too much on-line and she has a massive distrust of people in authority. Janet suggested she talked to the specialist nurse and raise her concerns.

Having a break

A carer has been able to have a few days in Wales and will be going to visit his 98 year old mum in Cornwall.

Tidiness

A step-father is alright. He can be rational and irrational about things. He took himself to have a procedure on his eye. He said his eyes have improved. He has been taking things into the garden constantly to keep his step-daughter from telling him off for being untidy. So now she’s not going to tell him when she’s going round.

A mum is still decluttering, but actually making things worse – she can’t find things!

Support

Another carer spoke about a friend’s mother who needs support.  But won’t accept  and is managing everything herself. Reading and joining the discussions on the Alzheimer’s Society’s “Talking Point” can be a helpful step in managing your expectations and realising the stress that builds when you are in a caring role.

The MIND cafe is open Thursday 10.00 – 12.00 the first Thursday in the month. Read more here.

There is a Songhaven concert on Sunday May 15th  at All Saints Church Woolwich. Full information here.

Next meeting 13th June 2022.

Vikki Melrose – 26th April 2022

Vikki gave us another spendid performance today.

You can see more of Vikki on her website here.

Gyda encouraged our artistic members to create Spring themed pictures.

David and his painters were in full flow.

If you would like to see some of David’s paintings, hear his poems or read his reminiscences click here.

We welcomed Carmen from The Greenwich Carers Centre. They say: “Everything we do is about supporting you. Our Carer’s Hub service provides emotional, practical and personal wellbeing support.” Find out more here.

Jamie is back with us next time with songs from the 1950s. This year Jamie celebrate30 year’s in show business – you can see many of his successes (and costumes) on his website here.

What a vision! Jamie preparing for a vintage Snow White panto:

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 10th May 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.

Tony Martin – 12th April 2022

Tony sang for us.

A selection of golden oldies.

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

The crafters got into the Easter spirit.

David showed some of the group’s completed artwork.

Dancing was inevitable.

We were very pleased to welcome Gary from The Greenwich Carers Centre who offers confidential advice to our members. The Centre has lots of useful information here.

Playlist for Life

Which songs trigger memories for you? Do you hear certain tunes which prompt an emotional response? I recommend you create a Playlist for Life for you and your loved ones. It’s fun and you will be surprised how powerful a tune can be. You can discover more about the benefits of a Playlist and access lots of information and example Playlists on the website here.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 26th April at 1pm. Numbers will continue to be limited for the foreseeable future, to ensure everyone has plenty of space, and many safety measures will continue to remain in place.

Vikki will entertain us with her popular selection of songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s. You can see more of Vikki on her website here.

Have you had your Covid booster jab? (I have) Find out more on the government website 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.

Carers Group: 11/04/22

Not so Strong and Steady

A husband was going to the Strong and Steady class which he was enjoying. Last week his wife was told he could no longer attend, as they couldn’t ensure his safety at the group.  The Strong and Steady class staff were going to call tomorrow to discuss the issues. Janet suggested the wife say that she has her own health concerns because what has happened. Tatiana said: Ask what was the risk? What happened exactly? What is the element that’s changed? Janet added: Ask what did they observe? Would they consider if she is at risk having him at home – and that will give her some idea of what to do. She can then make a list of pros and cons for downstairs to help make a balanced decision. 

The husband was going out by cab, enabling him to feel independent. His mobility is getting worse, but other things are affected too – it’s a constant star of flux. He contradicts himself all the time. He used to go out not long ago, but is not able to any more. It’s hard getting him in and out of the car and his wife has stopped leaving him on his own. A member questioned how safe is her husband is at home, especially on the stairs. His wife is considering putting the bed downstairs, if he agrees, but he currently says No. He is being included with all the decisions so far. He knows there is an issue with the stairs. Janet said the wife may have to say: if you want to stay here this is what we are going to do. It’s in her best interest. 

Another carer said stairs are an area of concern for his wife too. She will stop and then not move. She is deteriorating and very cautious, weak and not in touch with what’s going on. 

A daughter has put her mum’s bed downstairs so she gets used to it over a few months. She now calls it her new bedroom. They are slowly moving the house around basing decisions on mum’s safety.

Unstable

Another carer’s husband collapsed in the bathroom last Sunday. He kept trying to stand up and he was all wobbly. She rang the GP in the morning and is doing a diary of his blood pressure, as it was very high. He is on tablets, but they may have to be increased. He gets up about four times a night. It’s very frightening. If he really hurt himself, the wife couldn’t pick him up. She is waiting for the doctor to get back to her to have further discussion. 

Talking Point article “Love Lies”

Janet started the discussion with an article from the Alzheimer’s Society (see here).

A daughter said it is kinder for her to fib to mum, this is how she deal with her. A brother considers which is the greater good for his sister. He says to her… maybe we can think about it later, or, not everyone thinks the same. Janet noted that carers have grown so much having to adapt and look after themselves. 

Care home visits

Another daughter has seen her father, in his care home, a few times during the week but not at weekends. All the visits are still in the conservatory. Her dad falls asleep every time, and there hasn’t been a change in about 18 months. Janet suggested she ask if he has more alert times during the day. She could visit then, engage with him and get most out of the visit.

Next meeting 9th May 2022.