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Residents sat around a light projection table

Staff at MHA Langholme care home in Falmouth were left in awe after seeing first-hand the transformative effect that a motion-activated sensory projection had on residents living with dementia in the home.

With the goal of stimulating, engaging and relaxing the mind, this projection technology, which is manufactured in the UK, comes equipped with quizzes, music and themes that have been designed to prompt conversation, spark nostalgia and maintain memory. Its use of therapeutic scenes and sounds which derive from nature have been known to instantly improve a dementia resident’s sense of calm.

Through this OM Interactive motion-activated technology, residents can reach out to pop a bubble, grow a flower simply by touching it, and even dip their toes in the water as the tide rolls in – all without leaving the sense of security that their own room provides. This is made possible by the equipment’s portable and height-adjustable properties which are able to project coloured streams of light onto any table, bed or floor.

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Animal therapy in care homes - a man in a wheelchair in the garden with a dog on his knee

Damon Culbert from Wild Science, provider of animal therapy in care homes across the UK, talks about the difference between short visits from animals and dedicated Animal Assisted Therapy.

Animals in care homes are a growing phenomenon attempting to improve the wellbeing of the elderly in long-term care. Many residential care providers have sung the praises of therapy dogs, cats, horses and even lizards in their ability to animate residents and stimulate social interaction. But what are the recorded benefits of animal therapy and should every care home invite animals in?

Not every encounter that seniors have with animals will qualify as animal therapy. Animal Assisted Therapy is defined as targeted therapy interventions which make use of an animal to achieve set goals. Examples in care homes might include having a resident walk a dog regularly in order to improve or maintain mobility functions long-term or games between animals and residents to encourage social interaction between residents experiencing heightened feelings of loneliness.

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Lacey Turner for Cupcake Day

Dust off your baking bowls and whip out your whisks, Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day is back on Thursday 13 June. Actress and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, Lacey Turner, is urging everyone to unite against dementia with their families, friends and colleagues, by baking or buying cupcakes to raise vital funds.

Being close to friends and colleagues affected by dementia, Lacey Turner is now supporting the cause, having taken part in a Cupcake Day tasting event last year. Speaking about supporting Cupcake Day, Lacey said:

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Penwortham man living with dementia

69-year-old John Holt who is living with dementia has been inspired to write a song about his experiences of the condition. The song ‘The Secret D’ has been released on iTunes with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s Society. 

John, who lives in Penwortham, attends Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain in Penwortham, and is also a member of the Skylarks Community Choir. As a former musician in a brass band, John penned the lyrics and contacted ‘The Songwriting Charity’, set up by Nathan Timothy, who agreed to write the music and produce it.

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Danemore Tenterden

A major landmark in Ashford Borough Council's multi-million-pound modernisation plan for its sheltered housing schemes has seen the re-opening of the £7.5m Danemore scheme in Tenterden.

Located at Beechy Path and a short walk from the town centre, the new-look Danemore provides 34 homes for affordable rent for older people, together with four chalet bungalows which will be sold on the open market.

Modelled on the multi-award-winning Farrow Court scheme developed by the council in south Ashford, Danemore has 25 one bedroom and nine two-bedroom apartments, built to a high quality that are care ready.

"The first tenants have moved in and I'm delighted to say that we are already seeing a really happy community atmosphere being generated there," said Sharon Williams, Head of Housing at Ashford Borough Council.

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Happy Days Dementia Workshop Time To Chat Cards

At Happy Days Dementia Workshop, we are passionate about helping care teams enrich social care. We’ve spent many years visiting residential and dementia care homes, hospitals, care services and families. We observed and have since designed reminiscence materials to help people engage and prompt memories to bring about meaningful conversations and stories to share and enjoy.

When people see and experience our range of traditional games like Jacks, Beetle Drive or bespoke Snakes & Ladders with chat prompts, to vintage sweet shops, bus stops, seaside displays and 1950s rooms, I’m often asked where it all started. Well, it all started in Lancaster, studying for a masters degree where I became interested in the effect that prompting the long term memory can have. Unbeknown to me at the time, this was the beginning of my journey into helping care teams engage and enrich social care for elderly and people living with dementia.

Much has happened since then and here’s a peep into how Happy Days nostalgic materials and environment ideas can help

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Dementia Café support group

Parbold and Skelmersdale Alzheimer’s Society dementia cafes will become one new café support group for people with dementia starting on Wednesday 10 April at Skelmersdale library. The amalgamated Café will provide an opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to socialise and get much needed face to face support.

Dementia Cafés provide people with dementia and carers a platform to talk openly about living with dementia within a relaxed and informal environment. The group will also hear from a variety of guest speakers, including health and social care professionals and representatives from the local community, about topics and services relevant to them.

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Rita Newman - “Being part of this has honestly been the highlight of my life”

Rita Newman, who is a carer for her husband who lives with dementia, tells how a National Lottery funded arts project has helped her cope with loneliness

 

Rita Newman is originally from London but has lived in Mold, Flintshire for over forty years and has been attending Arts from the Armchair workshops since 2016.

 

The weekly creative sessions are for people with early onset memory loss and dementia and was founded in 2015 as a collaboration between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Theatr Clwyd.

 

Arts from the Armchair works closely with the carers involved, who’s daily experiences can be lonely and both physically and emotionally tiring.

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Dementia Support Group

The Winchester care home, Tegfield House has launched a new dementia support group for relatives who want to gain a greater understanding of their loved ones who are living with dementia.

The two-hour session gave families a chance to talk, listen and share experiences. All attendees have something in common – they have a relation living at Tegfield House, who is also living with dementia. The gatherings allow conversations to reflect on emotive topics such as the changes we see as people get older.

The welcoming and family orientated Chilbolton Avenue care home hosted the first session recently with General Manager Jo Aitken, Deputy Manager Jacqui Standing welcoming eight relatives in to the friendly setting. 

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TWIDDLEMUFFS and dolls have been donated to a North Yorkshire care home to help residents with dementia.

Twiddlemuffs and dolls have been donated to a North Yorkshire care home to help residents with dementia.

Volunteers from two separate groups knitted and donated the therapeutic items to Sycamore Hall Care Home, in Ripon.

The Ripon Cathedral group of the Mothers’ Union Diocese of Leeds dropped off around a dozen handmade twiddlemuffs at the home.

While the volunteer group Comfort Dolls and Twiddles for People With Dementia made a separate donation of twiddlemuffs and several comfort dolls.

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Fortune cookies helping elderly with dementia

FORTUNE cookies are having a therapeutic effect on those living with dementia in the North East.

Residents at Pelton Grange Care Home, in Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, have been making the popular takeaway biscuits in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

The home’s cooking enthusiasts took over the kitchen to create the cookies using a traditional recipe – before inserting their own handwritten fortunes.

Using their culinary skills has proven beneficial for those with dementia, according to home manager Chris Hogan-Hind.

He said: "We are always looking for activities to get the residents using familiar skills, especially for those living with dementia, as it has a very positive effect on their mood and wellbeing.

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Chelsea Court music therapy - Derek and the team are behind the dementia therapy research

Chelsea Court Place, a residential home for individuals living with dementia, is working with the University of Roehampton in a research project entitled Beyond Words, which uses ‘micro-songs’ to recapture and sustain functional language in people with advanced dementia.

The study aims to investigate the power of music, enabling people living with dementia to retain their speech and help communicate their wishes and needs for a longer period than would be normally be the case in the natural deterioration caused by the disease. 

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Celia singing to crowd with dementia

In December 2018, I had the honour of bringing some festive cheer to a group of people living with dementia, and also their carers. 

I began volunteering for Alzheimer’s Society back in May 2018. I didn’t really know what to expect but I had a very open mind, so I was accepting of anything that I would have to face. Ever since I began volunteering, I have been so thankful for the happiness and joy that it has brought into my life. Unfortunately I am unable to volunteer currently due to work commitments, but I really hope to be back in the near future.

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Patsy from Balhousie Care Group dancing to music

It's not a bad day at work when you spend a large part of it listening to your favourite song tracks. But that's just how Balhousie Care Group employees spent a day recently when they learned the benefits of music to people living with dementia.

Sixteen care home staff from across the award-winning group gathered in Balhousie Monkbarns in Arbroath - one of Balhousie Care's 25 homes across Scotland - to receive their latest training in the popular Playlist for Life, a programme launched by broadcaster Sally Magnusson for use in care homes, hospitals and the community.

 

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