by Joanna Grace, author of Sharing Sensory Stories and Conversations with People with Dementia
You may have heard people saying they do Sudoku or the crossword daily to keep their grey matter active. Well they are right to do this, but in order to maintain our brains we need to experience a broad range of stimulation, including sensory. Many people in later age end up in environments of limited sensory scope so there are always benefits to bringing in the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch sensations from other places.
Health educators, The Sound Doctor, say a dementia crisis is on the horizon, as it is revealed that only 3% of people make active preparation for the disease.
The Times has reported that, despite the fact that 75% of the population are afraid of developing dementia or losing their ability to make decisions, 97% of people have taken no legal steps toward securing care in the future.
Dementia is the leading cause of death in England and Wales, making up 12% of the total deaths in 2016. It’s on the rise, too: the number of people diagnosed has increased by 54% in the last ten years, according to The Times.
In just 7 years, more than 13 million people who are at risk of dementia will have no legal or medical arrangements made due to a lack of preparation.
Poor acoustics in a building can have a detrimental impact on people with dementia. Here we look at some of the effects of noise and how the sound environment can be improved.
How dementia and ageing affects our hearing
As we become older, our hearing is often affected as part of the ageing process and we lose the ability to hear high frequency sounds. Childen can typically hear or sense sounds at 20,000 Hz, whereas many people aged 85 cannot hear 8,000 Hz and so have lost a huge part of their range of hearing. In a noisy environment it is difficult to pick out speech and understand conversation; this is isolating, increases anxiety and can become distressing.
Malden House care home delivered theoretical and practical training about dementia to a group of 15 students from Sidmouth College.
The aim of the sessions - to give teenagers empathy about what a person effected by dementia goes through.
As part of Dementia Awareness week the college was invited to visit Malden House to work with the staff and residents.
The Alzheimer’s Show is returning for its sixth year in 2018 and will be at Olympia London on Friday June 8 and Saturday June 9. The UK’s leading event for people living with Alzheimer’s, dementia or memory loss, The Alzheimer’s Show brings help and hope to families and carers and welcomes the public and professionals.
Editor Victoria Galligan spoke to Annabel James, founder of Age Space, about how people caring for elderly relatives were crying out for some more support – and what she did about it.
Eight weeks visiting her mum in the Stroke Unit at Poole Hospital started Annabel James thinking. She felt increasingly isolated and anxious about the decisions that had to be made; not knowing where to find answers – or even what the questions were some of the time.
As Annabel shared her experience with family and friends it became clear that she wasn’t alone. She then spent a year researching possible solutions which led to her setting up agespace.org – a one-stop online resource for anyone anxious about or caring for elderly parents or relatives.
When a person has been diagnosed with dementia, there are many things to think about. It can be an overwhelming time, as people adjust to the news and begin to think about the changes that are likely to happen.
Yet looking ahead, it can also be a helpful and practical step, as the Alzheimer’s Society explains. “Thinking ahead,” it says, “is a good thing to do. It can help you prepare for a time when it may be difficult for you to make decisions for yourself.”
Talking about what happens when we die is not always an easy subject to broach with the people that we love. But it can be comforting for family to know when the time comes, things were just how someone would have wanted.
Care homes are embracing yoga as a method of promoting mindfulness through meditation, as well as improving cardiovascular fitness and reducing depression. Tania Plahay runs a pilot therapeutic yoga programme for people with dementia in care homes and her book Yoga For Dementia is based on the findings from that programme. Tania has a dedicated page to Yoga for Dementia on her website yogafordementia.com. Here, she tells Care & Nursing Essentials editor Victoria Galligan about her book and the benefits of yoga for residents, families and staff...
How does yoga help people living with dementia?
Recent studies reveal an increasing number of health benefits from dance – particularly for dementia sufferers.
Clifden House, a leading dementia care centre in Seaford, advocates dance as a therapy. Dance, in any form, not only requires physical movement but also involves important cognitive stimulation. The mental and physical coordination required to dance stimulates several regions of the brain.
Nial Joyce of Clifden House said, “Life doesn’t have to stop with a dementia diagnosis. Finding fun and active activities liked dancing is proven to improve well-being and is a great way to take part in light exercise, provide cognitive stimulation and promote social interaction with others.
Dr Emer MacSweeney, CEO and medical director at Re:Cognition Health, talks to Care & Nursing Essentials Magazine about the work of the dementia clinic and how misconceptions about cognitive decline can lead to the early signs of Alzheimer’s being missed…
How does Re:Cognition Health support people with dementia? Can you give some specific examples as to the most effective support?
Staff at a domiciliary care agency are celebrating after being rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.
SweetTree Home Care Services – which is based in Swiss Cottage, north-west London, but provides home and live-in services across the capital – was judged as being well-led and responsive. It was rated good for being safe, effective and caring. The agency provides support to a range of people from the elderly and people living with dementia, to those with brain injuries and learning disabilities.
A charity which helps older people living with dementia, depression and loneliness through sport has set up a new support group in Cleethorpes.
The hospital has made an initial donation of £5,000 as part of its commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of the community in North East Lincolnshire.
The husband of a resident at a Worcestershire care facility has raised more than £5000 to buy a piece of equipment aimed at helping dementia patients to relax and reminisce.
Pete James, whose wife, Nicole, lives at The Hawthorns care home, in Evesham, has used the funds to purchase a ‘magic table’. This new technology uses interactive games to connect people in the mid to late stages of dementia with each other, and with their surroundings, all the while stimulating movement.