Matthew’s Book

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‘Matthew’s Book’ is a small project but it has generated a big response. The book is on an iPad. It provides a multi-media guide to Matthew and his needs. The book will follow Matthew wherever he goes, including hospital, to ensure that all staff working with him can quickly find out about the essential aspects of his care .. and what good practice means for him. Continue reading

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Dementia .. ‘reasons to be cheerful’

New Scientist reports in its January 11th issue that, at an individual level, our chances of succumbing to dementia have decreased. This is not enough to stop the total number of people with dementia rising, but it does give us reason to re-consider previous assumptions. The article looks at two recent studies in the Lancet involving thousands of people. One study, based on survey evidence, showed that expected numbers of people with dementia were far lower than predicted taking account of the increase in the average age of the populationover a 20 year period. The other noted an increase in the cognitive ability in their mid 90’s of a group born in 1915 in comparison with a group born in 1905. The hypothesis (summed up as ‘cognitive reserve’) is that ‘intellectual activities’ create a resilience to age-related decline across brain networks. So what creates this ‘cognitive reserve’ among older people? Examples suggested include:

  • playing bridge
  • playing a musical instrument
  • having a full social life

Backed up by good health measures (don’t smoke, exercise, watch your blood pressure and cholesterol, eat a healthy diet), there is a basis for individuals to adopt a sound preventative strategy. (As the article says “.. we do have some control over how we live”.)

Also, there are a number of promising strands of research that are looking to identify the causes of Alzheimer’s and measures to counter the disease, for example, the work by Susanne de la Monte and colleagues suggesting that Alzheimer’s might be caused by a type of brain diabetes.

When 1 in 3 of us can expect to suffer from dementia at some stage and when the number with type 2 diabetes is expected to nearly double by 2035 these might not be ‘reasons to be cheerful’ .. but they might just be reasons to suppose that this is a health and social issue that we can do more about than we thought.

Sandwich Carer

Really interesting blog from ‘sandwich carer’ Jeanne Carlin. Jeanne looks after her severely disabled daughter at home. She also has to manage the affairs of her parents who have complex care needs. What works well for them at Centre Parcs? Why is Occupational Therapy such a maze? What is it like taking on Power of Attorney?

ootiinoo .. getting the most from community groups

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Imagine:

  • in a church congregation the person who sits in the front pew gets to find out that the couple in the back pew could benefit from his knowledge of pensions and annuities
  • in a local authority the person who works in the Housing Office discovers that the person who’s a clerk in Trading Standards can sit in one evening a week with his elderly mother
  • in a street the person in number 9 finds out that the family in number 38 would love to look after her dog when she goes away
  • in a football supporters club the person who sits in the South Stand discovers that the person who sits 4 rows behind him also has a disabled son who enjoys rock music
  • in a patients support group the newly diagnosed person can ask for advice from others who have more experience of the condition.

All of these begin with a existing affiliation to or identification with a group or organisation or community and lead to the discovery among the ‘members’ that they have more to offer each other than they could otherwise have known. This is the idea of ootiino.

For more information click here.