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Becoming withdrawn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 He’s a bit more withdrawn than he used to be.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.

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.