Dementia Action Week

During my privileged experience of working with dementia clients and their families I always maintain that getting to know the unit is vital. Making my sessions personal and enjoyable for the person facing the challenge of dementia has been my daily aim this will include working with all the senses to act as triggers for positive and happy memories. Music is one way of communicating universally with people of all ages and with all challenges including children with severe learning difficuties as well as those with alzheimers.

Last night when attending a local talk I discussed how I feel very strongly that nobody should be forced to attend a day centre if that is not for them and/or to take up painting or any other activity – if they didn’t like it before then don’t assume they will now! Encouragement yes by all means. I have heard how people have become agitated when placed in unfamiliar surroundings and one of the best and easiest ways to dilute anxiety is to avoid it.

Carers wellbeing is just as important as those suffering with dementia and too often pride prevents them from asking for help from those that believe they are coping better than they are. They need a break away from the 24/7 life with dementia which may have become their way of life and often making them a prisoner in their own home.

Sometimes carers lead a withdrawn life as they feel embarrassed by their partners behaviour or others have made them feel uncomfortable – we need far more understanding generally towards those families living with dementia.

I often write about dementia being similar to a bereavement and talking to children faced with parents with dementia this is so often the best way to describe how they feel as they lose the person they love.

If you are looking for a new charity to support then consider the dementia charities -Alzheimers Society and/or Dementia UK they need your help to fund care, research and support.

Dementia Action Week

Regular lovely followers will  know that I like to help with dementia awareness and this week it is Dementia Action Week. An extract from one of my articles follows:-

Benefits of communication for people with dementia

We are all aware of how dementia changes people’s lives and those around them. I won’t talk about worrying statistics but what I can recommend is seeking as much help and advice as possible. Sadly for those loved ones who might be the main carer they may just stumble upon a few leaflets in the doctor’s surgery but do not find time to explore just what is actually available.  I thoroughly recommend carers, friends and family to contact The Alzheimer’s Society – leading the fight against dementia. Please check out their website as they have an amazing library of extremely useful literature which is readily accessible and free. www.alzheimers.org.uk.

My theme for a Christmas project 2017 was  ‘Love, Kindness and understanding’ and I see these three ingredients as vital for helping those who are fighting this challenging and cruel disease on a daily basis.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s National Helpline is: 0300 222 1122

 

Being kind

Being kind and grateful feature frequently on my blog and I often say how kindness is not a weakness. Today I will quote a few words from ‘Alfie’ by the great Burt Bacharach to ponder:-

‘What’s it all about, Alfie
Is it just for the moment we live
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind
And if only fools are kind, Alfie…’

On speaking about kindness and being grateful with various pastoral colleagues it often seems that to some modern day people it’s uncool to be either…but I am an old-fashioned girl and believe we only get out what we put in and demonstrating kindness in all that we do, considering others… then we are happier ourselves. At the end of the day be grateful for any small achievement, success or happy moment and I promise you will wake up the next day feeling more positive and ready to face the day ahead.

Speaking to a recently bereaved gentleman yesterday; I reminded him to think about the good times and funny moments he had shared with his wife and after our unscheduled encounter he said he felt better and that made me feel grateful for my training too.

To the icecream man who gave me a free icecream this week after a hot afternoon invigilating- thanks for that tiny act of kindness Mr Whippy. You made an old girl very happy.

 

 

Vote for an inspirational woman

I know a lot of my regular followers and I thank you for taking an interest in my various rants and hopefully useful advice and introduction to new charities.

This morning I was pleased to receive some awesome acknowledgements to my post yesterday for the beautiful and amazing Kim Smith. It’s not my blog that is awesome it is Kim! I know she really appreciates any support and good wishes as she continues her daily challenge to cope with her life-changing situation following contracting sepsis.

Obviously her family are really proud of her courage and the positive way she is handling such an unexpected turn of events. I have just seen that it is possible for others to acknowledge her achievements to date and this can be done by voting for her in Milton Keynes Inspirational Awards. Her children sent this message with a link it only takes a minute:-

 

‘On behalf of my beautiful Mum, please all vote Kim Smith to win Inspirational Woman or Inspirational Mother award.’

Please use the link below. 💗

https://www.mkinspirationawards.co.uk/voting

Something to offer

In my time of working with students of all ages and counselling I am constantly reminded that we are of course all different but we all have something good to offer. As students are put under pressure not just by their schools but often parents too I try to re-adjust the balance whenever I get an opportunity to say that we cannot all be academics or A* students but please do not write us off!

Similarly a fellow life coach and I acknowledge on a regular basis that anyone who is dyslexic is not ‘stupid’ as previously labelled as this challenge is in no way an indication of a person’s level of intelligence.  Personally speaking I really enjoy the challenge of helping those who are considered ‘different’ by society and often unkindly judged and misunderstood.

I was encourged as a child to ‘not mock the afflicted’ that may be considered now as non pc but the message behind came from my mentor and one who accepted and saw the good in everyone. If you look for the good in somebody you will find it…some hide it better than others of course. Remember what some perceive as being naughty is infact somebody with a brilliant mind who may be bored and/or has a personal challenge they may be in fear of revealing.

If you come across say somebody with a speech issue such as stammering, be patient, be kind and try to avoid finishing their sentences or words it just makes them more anxious. Bear in mind they may be recovering from a stroke and re-learning to speak all over again.

Let’s celebrate who we are and be more accepting of others around us.

Life changing… help Kim Smith

Regular followers know I help raise awareness for charities and illnesses but today I am going to use my blog for something more personal but deserving.

A childhood friend and his beautiful wife moved to Spain a few years back and were living the dream. Kim caught an infection in November last year and Sepsis set in. This inspirational lady was in a coma for 9 weeks and not expected to survive… one can only imagine what that was like for her family.

Through such great love and support from her family and her own personal strength and determination this amazing woman is now learning to adapt to being a quadruple amputee. As we know the NHS can only provide so much help and funding. Her family have set up a funding page and are trying to raise awareness of the importance of spotting this cruel infection.

If, as me, you are moved by this life changing story please consider visiting the page, reading more about Kim’s story and donating… however small it will be really appreciated. Let’s give this lady the help she needs and deserves to regain her independence and get her the much needed prosthetic limbs.

In Kim’s own words: ‘Please help me raise enough to get hands again and vital equipment I’m going to need.’ Link follows:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kimschance1

We all take our health for granted…if we have our health we are truly lucky.

Exam stress

It is that time of year when students all over the country are revising for their exams and true to form the weather is hot, the pollen count is up just as they need to focus.

As ever, I remind those that are busy cramming to have regular screen breaks, exercise, keep hydrated and enjoy a break away and an ice cream or chocolate bar or two too!

Seriously, keeping up the exercise is vital as it releases all the positive endorphins, reduces stress, clears the head and re-energises to help keep the momentum going. For those so inclined I have always recommended yoga classes and most gym clubs now have yoga lessons available. So pick up your mat and join a class. Relaxation and meditation work wonders I promise.  Keep calm…you know your subjects…you are almost there!

I will be doing my bit in starting invigilating next week and sign off wishing all students the best of luck for the coming weeks.

Dementia awareness

I am pleased to see so much media coverage recently about dementia awareness and the importance of support for the carers and family. This is a very cruel disease often stripping a loved one away beyond recognition.

Families who are bewildered by the challenge and naturally untrained to deal with the personality change in their loved ones are often left to struggle. Please, please seek help, look towards The Alzheimer’s and Dementia charities for valuable information and support.

Today we hear Barbara Windsor’s own personal fight has become public and fans will wish her and her husband well. It is a brave step but one which will raise the profile and highlight the ever increasing cases in the UK. I heard today one case is diagnosed every four minutes and of course many cases remain undiagnosed as patients put symptoms down to just the ageing process.

Here’s to all the carers out there today that give of themselves so tirelessly and devoted to those they love. It is important that partners/carers have respite and time to continue pursuits they enjoy too though many feel guilty if they do… unwarrantedly.

In Support of Mr Men Books

Regular followers will know I keep out of many topical discussions but today… Watching GMTV I felt compelled to respond to the crazy suggestion that the funny Mr Men books are sexist and damaging to girls!! What??!!**

The idea to suggest such editions as ‘Little Miss Chatterbox’ are demeaning to girls is complete nonsense. My daughter was bought that book and being a chatterbox was part of her charm and her social skills from an earlier age have been second to none and an asset.

To attack my own personal favourite ‘Mr Tickle’ with an inuendo he was a sex predator even more ridiculous. For me he was, and always will be, the ideal man as he could lie in bed and reach downstairs for the chocolate biscuits. I still stay clear of ‘Mr Grumpy’ haha

Obviously, whilst I am support of women being encouraged to be confident it is a statistical fact, and sadly so, that we have more to be worried about the mental issues, and lack of confidence in young men with rise in depression and male suicides.

I will end my rant with a memory of a great ex-boyfriend who loved women but used to remind me that more often than not Walt Disney’s baddie was a woman! Though the more modern Disney films have great role models for girls…‘let it go’.

Allow children to be children for heaven’s sake!

Struggling with dementia

Yet again I feel compelled to rant about the lack of support for families with a loved one facing the challenge of dementia. It is like a form of bereavement as partners and children see their loved one seem to disappear beyond recognition.

As a carer it is so very difficult to have any resbite and so often the carer becomes ill and emotionally drained. After all they are not trained experts but are sent away from a doctor’s surgery with very little knowledge or information on how to communicate with somebody who is living in a very scary if not frustrating world. Too often dementia patients are taking to day centres where they may not actuualy want to be, it can be intimidating and perhaps one-to-one interaction would suit them better so seek help from a professional locally to you.

For those that are struggling please seek help and remember the Alzheimer’s Society have great information available and all free. If you are looking for a new charity/cause to support then please put this illness on your list.