The UKs leading Dementia charity, Alzheimer’s Society, responded to Boris Johnsons speech this week at the Conservative Party Conference.
Sally Copley, who is the Director of Policy and Affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“I cannot begin to say how disappointing it is that social care has been barely discussed in today’s speech. The Prime Minister promised he would sort out the social care crisis once and for all. But so far we haven’t seen a single step further in terms of detailed plans- we hope the Prime Ministers resolve isn’t wavering.”
She also went on to say. “We hear all the time through our Fix Dementia Care campaign about families who have been struggling daily with worryingly inadequate Dementia care and crippling costs. More people’s live savings are running out, more people with Dementia are stuck needlessly in hospital wasting NHS resources and hurting families and the situation is only getting more desperate.
People affected by Dementia deserve so much better. Our plea to the Prime Minister and his government is- don’t let people with Dementia down. They must fix Dementia care and they must now tell the country how they are going to do it, so it works like the NHS and other public services, where everyone has access to high-quality care based on need, not ability to pay.”
Thursday 26th September is officially BBC Music Day and the BBC have been actively working on events and websites as part of the day including working for the first time, towards bringing music to people living with Dementia.
As part of this initiative, the BBC has launched a BBC Music memories website which aims to stimulate memories through music and is specifically designed to be used by someone with Dementia. The website includes numerous subcategories that will help people living with Dementia to reminisce including a Classical music and Social music category that has sub categories like pub classics and football songs from the past.
The website has been designed in a way to help people with Dementia start to create a playlist of personally meaningful music. These playlists can be added to a database of the nations favourite music via a survey embedded in the website and printed off to create a record of someone’s selection. As well as this, there is also the BBC Memory Radio, which will be hosted on the Memories website, offering an immersive experience. Memory Radio, features specially selected content from the BBC Radio Archives, decade by decade to create an audio experience specifically for people living with Dementia. When this is launched, there will be three 90- minute programmes that cover the 1940s, through to the 1960s.
Each of these programmes have been developed using focus groups of people including Dementia experts and professional carers. Each programme is accompanied by a downloadable Activity sheet that includes information about the content and quizzes.
Samuel L. Jackson has joined a campaign started by Alzheimers U.K to help end the common misconceptions about the disease that he and many others have had to deal with. The campaign has previously seen celebrities such as Bryan Cranston and Christopher Ecclestone helping to spread awareness. The #Sharetheorange campaign, is a campaign in which the public are being encouraged the challenge the misconceptions of Dementia, getting people to think ahead about the disease such as the idea that it is just a natural part of ageing. Sam has had to deal with many members of his family being diagnosed with the disease which he describes in the video. “I have been surrounded by Dementia for most of my life. My grandfather was my best friend growing up, so it was heart-breaking for me to see him not know who I was. The same thing happened soon after my mother was diagnosed along with both her brother and sister. My aunt on my fathers side also had dementia”.
The campaign has chosen an orange as it signifies the weight of the brain after it has been affected by Alzheimers. In the new video by Aardman animations, Jackson states: “The damage to a brain with Alzheimers can leave it weighing 140g less then a healthy brain. That’s around the weight of an orange and proves to us this is a physical disease”.
Advancements in technology have made it easier for practitioners to diagnose diseases that were previously tough to predict and sometimes would go undetected. A study found that advanced MRI brain scan analysis in patients with stroke related diseases can help predict cognitive problems and even Dementia. The study evaluated the new MRI analysis technique that uses diffusion tenor imaging, in predicting memory problems and dementia related to small vessel disease. A single scan processes the brain in fine detail to find damaged areas. By comparing these areas to a healthy person, researchers were able to classify the brain into healthy and damaged tissue. The research concluded that patients with high levels of brain damage were more likely to develop memory problems. The analysis also predicted 3/4 of the Dementia cases that occurred during the study.
The study conducted included a total of 99 patients with small vessel disease caused by ischemic stroke- a type of stroke that blocks blood vessels deep within the brain. Of the people studied, 1/3 of them were Female and the average age was over 68, with the majority being Caucasian. The patients underwent MRI scans annually for 3 years and partook in memory tests for a five year period. Eighteen patients were diagnosed with Dementia in that time with the average time for onset around 3 years and 4 months.
The idea was inspired by Gillian Machaffie, who was encouraged to bring music to care homes and people living with Dementia when she saw the effect it had on her mother in law. Gillian says she was stunned to see her mother in law dancing and singing and science is supporting the evidence she has seen on her visits, music can change lives.
So far residents are most connected by songs such as Hey Jude by the Beatles and Scottish singer Andy Stewart. The power of music with Dementia is very emotional, Gillian described how many families were brought to tears as they saw their loved ones dancing and singing and being very happy. People living with Dementia have found a new lease of life with a special silent disco that gets them dancing and singing their favourite songs by artists such as the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
Older residents living in Glasgow are putting on their headphones and the results are heart-warming, the music is often from their youth and brings back memories and is able to bring some people back to normality- if only briefly. One couple during the disco were singing and dancing with each other for an hour and a half. The silent disco is one of the only times where strong memories come through and the residents are all cheerful and reminiscent.
A café based in Hamilton are working in collaboration with a local charity to create a unique playlist for the people that attend their sessions. The session, which is called the Memories Tea Room, is held monthly for those living with Dementia as well as their carers. As well as providing teas and cakes, the session also provides a safe space for visitors to socialise and share experiences with one another, as well as being offered support and hearing from guest speakers. This months session is taking place on Thursday the 26th September which is BBC Music Day, which is where the idea came along to make a playlist, in partnership with PlaylistForLife who will be curating a playlist of their favourite music from over the years.
Here at Larchfield House, we understand the power that music has on our residents which is why we partnered with Purple Angel to supply our residents with their own MP3 player which allowed them to listen to their favourite songs on the daily and brought a smile to their faces. We continue to include music in what we do which is why we have many activities that are music orientated such as our residents karaoke.
Central England Co-Op have held a fundraising day to help raise money for Dementia UK, the day included a “happy wacky magic show” as well as delicious food and drink tastings, with stalls also set up for local causes. On the day, members of the public were also able to undergo free health care checks. This is one of many fundraising events held by the Central England Co-Op who have been supporting Dementia UK since 2017, raising a total of £1 million. The money raised this year has helped to pay for the on-going staffing of the free Dementia helpline (0800 888 6678)
A high portion of first responders during the tragic events of 9/11 have new cognitive impairments years after their initial cognitive assessments.
This could put as many as 60,000 men and women who worked in rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site at increased risk of early-onset dementia. In the new study scientists studied blood samples from 1800 first respondents and connected the genetic marker Apolipoprotien-e4 which is associated with Alzheimers and Dementia, had advanced levels of cognitive the longer the respondents were exposed to toxic gases on Ground zero. “One of the most concerning results of our findings is that we found that a significant portion of our first responders had had new onset cognitive impairment when many of them were cognitively normal within the past few years”. The team says doctors who treat 9/11 first responders with PTSD need to monitor them not just for symptoms of anxiety but for early signs of cognitive decline.
Regarded as one of the most generous Philanthropists, Sir Michael Uren sadly passed away last month but his work still continues to be ever present. Largely through his work in collaboration with Imperial College London, whom he presented with £40 million pounds towards creating a unit that focuses on medical and biological research. Michael also had plans to produce a brand new state of the art Biomedical engineering hub that is set to finish production next year that will help to combine the latest medical research and engineering to improve the treatment of complex medical conditions such as Dementia.
Pet owners are being advised to look out for signs of Dementia as their pets start to reach old age. What is being referred to as “Doggy Dementia” or “Canine Cognitive Dysfunction” has been recognised by scientists for up to 20 years however the concern is that many pet owners are unaware that the disease exists. Doctors have even suggested that research into CCD could help humans with the disease. In the past, many methods have been used to treat dogs including using stem cells. Back in 2015, vets were able to treat a 14 year old cocker spaniel by using stem cells from his own skin, the owner reported that the dog responded very positively to the treatment and their behaviour settled.
If you would like to find out more about how Dementia affects humans then just visit our website https://larchfield.care/
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