Happy New Year – 4th January 2022

Tony welcomed everyone back for the first session of the New Year.

He had the group singing along and dancing.

David worked with his group of enthusiastic crafters to develop some interesting pictures.

There was a lot of energy on the dance floor. A good time was had by all.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 18th January 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.

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: 20/12/21

Our last meeting of 2021!

Saying “no”

Our first speaker has had a tough few weeks. Her son is away at the moment, so she has been caring for her mother in law too – organising everything and getting ready for Christmas. She feels like it’s ground hog day. Her Mum is ok and oblivious to everything. Janet said it’s easy to get wrapped up in what you are doing and she needs to say no to people and recognise boundaries and priorities her time. The carer feels like she needs a few days away. 

Chrismas care home visits

Our youngest carer saw her dad the day after her mum’s birthday celebration. She said he had no eye contact and wasn’t really present. She read to him about Russian missiles and he fell asleep. She has been told there will be visiting restrictions over Christmas period due to Covid and staffing problems. Janet said care homes can forget it is the person’s home. She advised working with the local council to explain the situation and work with the authority funding the placement. Tatiana suggested going via social services, ask if they have had a review and share her concerns. The carer feels like it a constant battle all the time to see her dad. She said it may help for requests for change to come from professionals rather than a family member

Confusion

A father-in law has become slow to respond and ‘woolly’. He takes time to come to. The carers were going to report that he was getting out of control with his meds. He has been “discombobulating” his phones. He didn’t respond when she called him a few weeks ago. He is chaotic at times. She is keeping an eye on him and will take him out for a Xmas meal. He is a hoarder and lives in chaos. Her resources are drained and she needs to have a conversation with his son. Janet said his safety is concerning (he is a member of the Friendship Group).

Plan for the future

A husband said his wife had been gently declining, but there is now a faster decline. She has less energy and difficulty standing and stepping. They go for short walks and she had been relatively stable. He said that she will look at the stairs and can’t work out what to do. She is sleeping more in the day and more at night when she used to be awake. Janet asked how do he gets her up the stairs? He said it’s getting harder and she risks falling. Janet advised thinking about planning ahead and how to manage at home. He said the consultant has been quite helpful. The nurse who comes round didn’t come back with ideas. He is taking each month at a time. He hasn’t got any respite time planned at the moment. His Mum is 97 and is in hospital at the moment. He is hoping to visit her in the New Year.

Dad ok, mum not so

A daughter said her Mum has mixed dementia. Progress was quite gentle until 4 months ago, then she began sleeping from 1 until 4 in the afternoon and it frightened her – she has now accepted it. The carers come to help with meds. Mum lives in a retirement close. She is having difficulty with cooking and has support with this. She now can’t use the phone, turn on the TV, the washing machine, or the cooker. They have a WhatsApp group to keep an eye on Mum. The 3 sisters are now struggling and need some calm – it’s chaotic. 2 weeks ago her Mum was suddenly confused. Subsequently this involved hospital visits and consultations with GP. The result was a diagnosis of Lewy Body symptoms and Parkinson’s. The medication now need to be reviewed. The carer is distressed because her Mum is distressed. The family are looking at private care as her Mum needs care through the night. Janet – mentioned Telecare to add a door sensor to the existing service (see the Greenwich Telecare information here). A family member can record  an appropriate message. It’s about managing risks. Mum likes to have a handbag, but the daughter is concerned about her carrying valuables. Janet suggested giving her the handbag, as it’s important to Mum, even if it is empty. 

A new habit

We heard about a dad. He has developed a new habit. He closes his eyes and won’t talk to you. He’s not doing the filing as much as he used to but latches onto things like bank statements. It was suggests that it could be ‘sun downing’ as dementia can be affected by lack of light and the shorter day light.

Are you ok?

Finally, we were told abut an old member of the Friendship Group. His memory is worse. He recognises his daughter but not her name. His wife said she has off days but she is ok. 

We hope you have a good Christmas and send best wishes for the New Year.

Next meeting 17th January 2022.

Christmas party – 7th december 2021

Time to dress up for the festive session. All our volunteers (and two of our trustees) were embracing the Christmas spirit.

It was a busy afternoon, with a raffle (thank you to everyone who contributed a prize) and the usual quizzes, puzzles etc. Reflections provided a lunch, prepared by Emma’s Pantry. Everyone enjoyed it, with several group members telling the team it was delicious. Thank you Emma and team.

Everyone joined in the pre-entertainment activities.

We also welcomed back Vikki for a rousing hour of entertainment. Vikki was as popular as ever. She had a great choice of tunes including some Christmas ones.

The dance floor was busy throughout the afternoon. It was good to see the variety of Christmas outfit and hats.

Thank you to everyone who has made this year a success for Reflections – the group members, volunteers and trustees. Also to the Carers Centre and BLG Mind who have been telling people about our Friendship Group. We enjoyed our time on Zoom, but is is great to be back at Shrewsbury House. 2021 has been another tough year and we hope for a better 2022.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 4th January 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.

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.

Julian – 23rd november 2021

Julian returned refreshed following his last appearance at Reflections on 3rd March 2020 (our last before the lockdown).

He was on top form and had the group singing along and dancing.

Earlier the craft group were working well and the Wordsearch table were thinking hard.

Some decided to twist the afternoon away..

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

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 – 9th November 2021

Prior to his winter season in Blackpool (there is nothing like a dame) Jamie gave us a run through of favourite songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s..

We welcomed (amongst others) Elvis, a dedicated follower of fashion and Dolly Parton.

Gyda and David ran the popular craft tables.

There was plenty of space on the dance floor and our dancers put that space to good use.

Janet was unwell and did not come to this meeting. Fortunately, she recovered in the next few days. Many thanks to Gyda for sorting out the logistics (transporting stuff from our garage to Shrewsbury House) and leading the event.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 9th November at 1pm. Numbers are limited and many safety measures will be in place.

Please note the Shrewsbury House car park should be open for our meeting on 9/11.

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: 8/11/21

This evening we found those cared for were doing reasonably well, but the carers were feeling somewhat worn down.

Mobility issues

If you are a large chap who likes to walk, it is difficult to accept that you are no longer very stable on your feet, you get tired quickly and your wife has a very difficult job to do if you fall down. The wife has received help from a gerontologist (you can read more about gerontology here). Unfortunately, the GP said they couldn’t do anything. The wife is also benefiting from having a carer come in so that she can have a break and do some things for herself.

Recovering from surgery

One of our regulars at this group gave us some feedback on a regular at out Friendship Group. The carer reported that, after a some surgery our group member was back on this feet (and he was dancing the day after at our Friendship Group). He tends to be unstable walking about, but when he had a purpose to his walk, or dance, he became reassuringly stable.

Falling

More on stability: A usually stable wife had recently fallen out of bed and getting her back up was almost impossible. It appears to have been a passing infection, as she has now returned to normal stability. The husband had recently had the norovirus and things she might have had a mild form.

Getting the blame (again)

Mum had just celebrated her 90th birthday, but she blamed her daughter for getting this wrong, as she thought she was only 89. The daughter likes to ensure her mum is warm in her home, but mum complains about the waste of money and turns the heating down as low as she can. Mum likes to prepare meals, often several at a time. This means that the daughter has to throw away unused food, which the mum complains about. The daughter likes to give her mum choice in what she eats, but pointed out mum always used to eat the same meals on each day of the week – the group suggested returning to this format. The daughter is spending a lot of time in the greenhouse talking to the plants.

Dad ok, mum not so

We always say carers need to look after themselves, otherwise they will become unable to care for anyone else. Easy to say, but much harder to see when you are approaching the point where you can no longer cope. The mum, in this case, has moved to a point where she no longer says she doesn’t need help, but not quite to accepting she does need help.

Pictures

A care told us that when she visited her mum at her care home during covid (with her outside and mum on the other side of a window) she took picture books. Mum seemed interested in the familiar pictures, even though she couldn’t say what they were, there was still a positive reaction.

Frustration

Even trained people can get frustrated with their loved ones. At home you can react differently to being in a work environment. If you have dementia you might think being tidy would be a help, but not when you can’t find the things that have been put away.

Using bank cards.

HSBC have been working with the Alzheimer’s Society to develop a card that is easier to use for people with dementia and/or who have sight problems. You can read more here. One of our group has one of these for her day (although no one has used it yet.

Next meeting 13th December

Halloween – 26th October 2021

Today we had a lighthearted Halloween session. Hats were popular as were odd hair styles.

We welcomed Sarah (pictured with Janet and Gyda) and Marc (see below) two of the Reflections trustees.

Tony – our man in black – led the singing with some rousing tunes. “Ring of Fire” went down well, as usual. You can listen to a vintage sing-a-long recording by Tony here:

Gyda came with some of her excellent and easy to make seasonal crafts.

David was about to celebrate his birthday and got in the mood with a dance. Did I mention hats were popular?

We were very pleased to welcome back Marc – our archery marksman.

We also welcomed some more new members this week – the numbers are growing.

Our additional audio input comes from Gyda this week…

Gyda on Letting go of the past:

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 9th November at 1pm. Numbers are limited and many safety measures will be in place.

Please note the Shrewsbury House car park is closed for about two months. Street parking is available.

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.

Vikki – 12th October 2021

A very big welcome back to the delightful Vikki.

Vikki belted out some classic songs (the quiet ones were good too) and joined in with the dancing.

David’s craft corner moved up a gear, as more clay modellers took up the challenge.

Another fun afternoon, with lots of energetic people.

Our members take dancing seriously. Proper shoes add to the experience.

As usual, the two hours flew by. I did manage to catch Pearl and Gyda for some extra input, below.

Pearl’s octopus:

It was difficult to find a quiet spot while Vikki was singing – al full-on experience.

Gyda on energy:

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on 26th October at 1pm. Numbers are limited and many safety measures will be in place.

Please note the Shrewsbury House car park is closed for about two months. Street parking is available.

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: 11/10/21

The group was particularly busy this evening.

Being naughty

A carer is said she is always in trouble with her mum. She is accused of breaking things and hiding others. A member suggested it sounded just like being treated like a naughty child. This struck a chord. The issue was that mum had started putting things in unusual places, then complaining they weren’t in their usual place. This is a new phase – the carer said she had had enough by 4pm each day. She then admitted she used to be a naughty girl…

To visit or not to visit

We were told a carer’s dad was in a care home. He is bed-bound and has been unable to engage with others since November. His wife is not sure if she wished to continue visiting him, it is too upsetting. The mum has also recently lost a friend. The daughter has not ben able to visit him. Another carer said she could empathise to a degree – she had lost her husband, her mum had received a diagnosis of dementia and she found herself also caring for her mother-in-law – all too overwhelming and she had finally agreed to ask for help with her own mental resilience.

Janet suggested the first carer’s mum might like to join this group. A member said she had found joining us had been useful, even if she sometimes just listened to what others were saying.

Falling

A husband had fallen twice recently. His wife was now worried that if she went out something might happen – at the same time, she realised she needed a break and a little time to herself. They both have “Red buttons”, but he might forget to us it [you can find out more about Greenwich Telecare Service here]. Members suggested engaging neighbours to keep an eye on when the husband might pop out. This had worked for another carer, who was confident that her local support network would call her if they thought there was a problem.

Getting the blame

What do you do if your sister blames you for things that go wrong, or thinks you have done something you shouldn’t? The carer said he continue to do his best, but his own poor health was affecting his ability to cope. He tried to watch for “triggers” that would cause his sister to start react badly – it was tough.

Hearing voices

A father-in-law was continuing to see and attempt to engage with his hallucinations. He said he was not concerned about apparently strange people people appearing and talking to him. His mental health was getting worse and she felt it would soon be time to consider looking for a care home.

Physiotherapy

People with several health conditions can find it difficult to find the support they need. A carer said his dad required help to maintain some mobility, but a selection of physiotherapists had said his case was not appropriate to them, or was not their area of work. The carer was currently engaged in providing support via a physiotherapist on Zoom. He would continue to fight to find suitable support for his dad.

Keeping things neat and tidy

A dad had returned to his habit of putting things in his files. This made him happy and didn’t cause any problems – good news.

Missing letters

Letter from “professionals” sometimes go astray. A carer had decided that she needed to be much more assertive to ensure that she had all the copied of letters that had been sent to her mum.

Next meeting 8th November

Jamie ITMA – 28th September 2021

A very busy session with the usual puzzles etc, plus David’s all new clay crafts and Jamie to entertain us.

Jamie sang a lot of old songs and dressed accordingly. Who remembers Andy Pandy?

We were pleased to welcome Gary (from the Carers Centre) and Sinead (from BLG Mind).

David worked with a group of keen clay modellers to produce some delightful tiles.

David presented Janet with a birthday present – a lovely painting of the two of us at the group.

The dancers enjoyed a variety of dances – these look easy.

The Reflections Friendship Group is next at Shrewsbury House on Tuesday, 12th October at 1pm.

Please note the Shrewsbury House car park is closed for about two months. Street parking is available.

If you know someone who has dementia and you think might benefit from coming to the group, please contact us on 07981 741 499. Numbers are limited and many safety measures will continue to 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.