For those relatives and carers dealing with loved ones diagnosed with Dementia there is help and support available. Sadly local doctors surgeries cannot possibly display material for every illness condition and there are different kinds of dementia and everyone’s dementia is different too.
The Alzheimer’s Society have a great selection of leaflets which will help you deal with all aspects of change you are having to face and the quality of the content of their publications is excellent. Their leaflets are free to download or receive in hard copy format. Please visit their website http://www.alzheimers.org.uk
**Ebooks are also available visit: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/ebooks
Throughout life most of us at one time or another will be in a position with either those we love and/or those we work with are in need of a positive distraction.
Even the most positive of souls can feel flat and I count myself in that category. At times we may be missing people, those who are no longer with us and even those who may have just moved away perhaps to university, or because of a job or home relocation.
Today would have been my own mentor’s birthday so I send out a happy birthday wish mum out into the universe. I will distract myself with work and meeting up with positive colleagues.
Working with dementia clients they too have their days when they feel ‘out of sorts’ and there are many ways in which we can help either as counsellors or family members to help focus them on something they either enjoy or at least can be a positive interaction activity.
Similarly, distraction techniques work well with children, I know my mother practised this parenting skill with us as children. I utilised this myself recently when helping a family with small children –one is always mindful that when parents leave the house the children need to feel, happy safe and of course engaged. A simple game of cards including all children soon brought an opportunity to engage, have fun and for me to get to know the children’s individual characters. (If I am honest working with younger children this week helped me with my own feelings relating to empty nest!)
As with adults, children will become sad at times…using being bored as an excuse when really what they crave it not just your loving attention but engagement.
Keeping occupied helps prevents those flat moments from taking over…and finally of course, laughter the best therapy of all.
Keep smiling fellow bloggers and followers.
It has been my privilege to work within the field of dementia and follow on-going research into this particular challenge that so many families are facing on a day to day basis.
As with any medical condition research is vital and the Bio Medical Research Centre at UCLH London support training and resources for research including dementia. Please read their excellent interview with Jonathan Schott on their website link follows:-
Those that know me well know I am a music lover always have been. Music can lift our souls, get our feet tapping and motivate us in so many ways. Some say music breathes life into our soul and I tend to agree. Writing for songwriters is also therapeutic and enables them to tell their story.
Let’s be honest those epic films we know and love would be nothing without the music score setting the mood, the drama and emotion.
It is a well documented fact that those people with speech challenges i.e. stammering, their stammer seems to disappear when they sing.
Recently I watched a teacher (Christian Foley) using his amazing ability to rap making his lessons more interesting for his students with great results. It immediately reminded me of an old Welsh History teacher who taught us the Kings and Queens of England by reciting a rhyming poem/song – which to my own amazement I can still recite. Moreover I remain amazed he could recite them himself after a lunchtime tipple which was a regular event in those days.
I use music therapy within sessions with dementia clients to help stimulate happy memories and prompt discussions giving an insight into their lives with beautiful results.
For me life would be impossible without my music, an old fashioned girl; a loft full of vinyl and my little CD player still brings hours of joy whilst studying.
As my mum used to say ‘music gets my motor running!’ How true.
Musical bumps…and I don’t mean the game we played as children which I believe the fun police have said is now too dangerous!!
I am referring to when we hear a piece of music or a song and we are immediately transported back in time to a memory, a place or a person. These ‘bumps’ can of course be great prompts to bring back happy memories and in my work with dementia clients this can prove invaluable.
On the other hand one can hear a piece of music which may remind us of a loved one we have lost and we may feel reflective and saddened, but even those feelings are useful in helping us to allow our bereavement process and healing to continue.
Let’s face it the music score creates the scene, the atmosphere and the moods in any great film as the amazing John Williams has continued to prove over some four decades. Personally, I would be lost without my music whether it is lifting a mood or emotive to shed a tear or two.
My music list and appreciation is both long and eclectic and in case a certain man is reading my blog today…we had Barber.
Anyone who has had a break from their studies will know it can be quite a struggle to get back on the learning horse and regain one’s focus.
Even the most positive and ethusiastic students can find themselves delaying the inevitable. This week I have found myself in this very same situation, so I did the sensible thing and rang one of my support tutors to have a general chat and confess where I felt I was at!
Distance learning can be daunting but I have had a very positive experience these past few years receiving great encourament and support from the BSY Group. As I revealed yesterday to a new tutor, the personal comments I received on previous coursework always inspired me to press on. Whatever age we are – receiving praise for our achievements is always well-received and makes it all worthwhile.
My chat albeit perhaps not terribly focused (for me) nor containing any specific questions to be answered, helped me to appreciate my chosen projects this year had indeed been advance homework rather than causing delay starting my course. Working with the elderly and the young in mind has provided valuable research for my latest Psychology studies as well as giving me an opportunity to make ultimate use of my varied skills and qualifications gained with BSY. I have even ressurected gems from running a writers group many years ago within reminiscent and sensory work.
In life, I always maintain nothing should be a waste of time, even the bad experiences hopefully teach us something. Reflection gives us an opportunity to grow..if we just make time to do it.
So for any students mature or young on the run down to resuming studies; enjoy the break you have had, keep healthy and be inspired to meet the next challenge.
My amazing mother and mentor frequently reminded us as children that the time to be good to somebody is when they are here. These words of wisdom spoke often were her own form of mindfulness, reminding us that today was for living and that showing those that we care in thoughts, words or deed should always be high on our personal agenda.
I have just watched a short but touchingly emotive film ‘Our hearts are bigger’. It shows how a couple dealing with Dementia write beautiful love letters to one another and read them to help the challenge of memory loss that this sad illness steals. In many ways loved ones face a type of bereavement as they are forced to accept they are losing the person they knew and loved.
Dementia, causes, prevention and on-going care is being featured within all forms of news media this week and the increased awareness is well over due.
Being isolated and having feelings of isolation are common factors and anything any of us can do to help enrich the lives of carers and dementia sufferers can really make an impact.
And, as my mother used to say in reality we can only live a day at a time so make it count.
‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy…now available from Amazon Kindle.
I had a very positive conversation with a staff member from The Alzheimer’s Society yesterday. I have to say all the contact I have had with this particular charity has been met with dedication from staff with a strong desire to provide as much help and information as possible for those in need whilst meeting their objectives to fund research for Dementia and of course increase awareness.
Having spent many years within the not-for-profit sector I know it has always been the case that awareness is as important as the fundraising they go hand-in-hand. This week is The Alzheimer’s International Conference and I have just seen comments raised by Dr Jane Fossey, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust who echoes that research shows that positive person-centred approach can make a huge difference to the Dementia client and of course their loved ones who care for them.
I always maintain that communication is our best tool and asset in life and getting to know an individual and what they like and wish and/or need to talk about is key to success and vital in gaining trust. Never more so than when building a relationship with somebody living with Dementia.
Working with Dementia clients has been a great honour and a rewarding challenge for me this year. If you are thinking of donating to a different charity then certainly bear The Alzheimer’s Society in mind and visit their website: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk
This year my sponsored Christmas tree at St Saviours Church St Albans will be to help with awareness for this amazing charity; with a community theme of love, kindness and understanding…that’s all any of us need.
Aside of helping people with Dementia which I can personally vouch is extremely rewarding spare a thought for those partners and families that care for their loved one it is not an easy time.
There are a lot of people who are very isolated and may not have people locally to help so if you can give somebody a break from their situation please offer.
Help is not always to hand 24/7 and can vary from area to area. It is available in the form of Dementia Cafes and meetings although often people are too proud to ask for help or may consider drop in centres is not for them.
We all need to help with awareness whenever we can and encourage more funding to go into this particular health issue.
Anyone who has either worked with or known somebody with dementia will know it can be a very sad time for all concerned.
However, personally I cannot recommend The Alzhiemer’s Society enough and I help with awareness all year but great to see a dedicated awareness week. They have such amazing literature available giving invaluable advice to help carers and family members try to understand and work with their family member/friend that has been diagnosed with this condition.
It is a shame that more support isn’t readily available at local GP surgeries as not everyone in close proximity of dementia has the time or energy to search out help and advice. For carers it can be nearon impossible to get out to local events as having to get cover can be extremely difficult.
Like with most serious illnesses those around need support and comfort too, so if you know a family having to cope offer a helping hand if you can. You can become a Dementia friend too all the information is available from The Alzhiemer’s Society’s website.
Remember: Kindness, patience and understanding go along way in oh so many circumstances…and the biggest gift any of us can give is our time.