Dementia Series 2

Dementia Live - (Series 2 Episode 7) - My Views - You're with me or you're not.

In this week’s Dementia Live (Episode 7) I talk about my views.

Some people will agree with my views on dementia, that’s cool. Some people will disagree with my views on dementia, that’s cool too. You’re with me or you’re not with me. Let’s find out…

I believe the best way to deal with conditions; dementia or other conditions such as cancer is with positivity.

Because I believe that if you take a negative view, with negative emotions, words etc then the follow up actions, emotions will also more likely be negative.

I understand that living with a condition such as dementia can be difficult.

I understand how tough it can be to have a family member living with a condition such as dementia and I understand how difficult this can be emotionally too.

The guilt, the heartache, the frustration and anger. But I believe the best way to deal with this is through positivity.

I also think that the negativity surrounding conditions like dementia can lead to people having a slightly warped and negative view of the condition.

What does dementia look like?

What does a person living with dementia look like?

I think if you asked most people they would say perhaps, in bed, most of or all of the day. They can’t feed themselves, drink, move around or perhaps do anything.

I meet people who are living with dementia and many, many of them are fully active, able to go out, go shopping, cook, take part in activities and live their lives for often many, many years.

A person living with dementia can look a lot like any other person.

Another reason why I believe positivity is the best way is that there are hundreds of different techniques, tips and tricks that can be used to make a small difference.

Things like saying ‘I remember when…’ rather than ‘Do you remember when…’

I’ve given a fair few tips each week and I have hundreds more to come, with positivity we can use these small improvements to make little differences.

As I said some people will agree with me and some people will not agree. And that is OK. I would love to know what you think about dementia and what you think about what I have said. You can share with me on Facebook by searching for ‘CareChooser’ or searching my personal account ‘Christopher Downie’ or indeed on LinkedIn or via email at hello@carechooser.com

All the best,

Christopher

It is possible to live well with dementia.


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Dementia Live - (Series 2 Episode 6) - How simple are simple things? 🧠

This is the Alzheimer's Society's tea activity from their Dementia Friends sessions of which I'm a trainer. Please do share the post.

We’re going to have a quick think about how dementia can effect simple tasks and also how simple tasks are not quite as simple as we think there are.

Have a think about the steps needed to make a nice cup of tea...

How many steps are there?

What’s the 1st step?

What was the last step? “drink the tea”

What about putting the milk back in the fridge, going to a chair to drink the tea, washing up the mug or putting it back in the right cupboard.

How about the middle steps. Carrying the kettle to the sink, turning on the tap, filling it to halfway and many, many more.

Everyday tasks are much more complex than we realise.

Everyone has slightly different ways of making tea and people living with dementia will prefer their tea in a certain way too.

Think back to the last week's fairy lights analogy (click here if you haven’t seen it) we talked about the fact that dementia can effect different functions of the brain not just memory.

Movement, vision, coordination and more can be effected by dementia.

What functions of the brain are required to make a cup of tea?

Lots of functions are needed.

• Movement – walking to the kitchen and picking up items.

• Vision – seeing where items are.

• Coordination – managing multiple steps to make tea.

• Logic – measuring temperature or volume of water.

• Sequencing – the order of steps to make tea.

• Memory – where items are kept.

If one of those functions was impaired, could we still make a nice cup of tea?

• It might be difficult to follow the instructions

• We might miss out a step

• We might mistake an ingredient

Dementia is not just about losing your memory. Any of the functions we’ve identified could be affected by dementia. This means that people living with dementia may struggle with everyday tasks like making a cup of tea.

Perhaps they may need support with part of the task that is difficult, for example pouring the kettle for them.

Perhaps tea could be made together, following the instructions of the person.

Perhaps the equipment and ingredients could be put together in a place that is easy to access and labelled.

Retaining independence is possible. Supporting the person to make the tea will help them to continue to live well. People living with dementia may struggle with everyday tasks but with support it is possible forhem to continue to perform these tasks.

It is possible to live well with dementia.


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Dementia Live - (Series 2 Episode 5) - The Dementia Fairy-light analogy 🧠

This is the Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia fairy-light analogy.

Imagine the brain is a string of fairy-lights.

It’s not just memory that is affected by dementia.

Depending on which fairy-light begins to flicker, dim and go out and which part of the brain is affected by the dementia. That will determine which function is affected.

If the fairy-light at the front part of the brain starts to dim and flicker, and its this part of the brain that is affected by the dementia then it could be movement, concentration, memory, judgement, impulse control, consciousness or problem solving that become effected by the dementia.

Now imagine instead that dementia affects the upper back part of the brain and a fairy-light begins to dim and flicker in this area then touch, temperature, pain regulation and spatial awareness could be effected which could cause a trip or a fall.

Were a fairy-light at the bottom rear part of the brain flicker, and that part of the brain become affected by the dementia then vision will become difficult.

Were dementia to affect the central part of the brain this could affect memory. There are two parts of this central area that are close together, the hippocampus which controls factual memories and the amygdala which controls emotional memories. The amygdala controlling emotional memories is much more resistant to dementia.

It’s not just memory that is affected by dementia, it could be any one of the functions we’ve mentioned depending on which part of the brain is affected by the dementia.

It is possible to live well with dementia with positivity and understanding.


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Dementia Live - (Series 2 Episode 4) - The Brain 🧠

Dementia Live - (Series 2 Episode 4) - The Brain 🧠 

I’ve talked before about the fact that dementia is more than just losing your memory.

Depending on which part of the brain is affected by dementia that will determine which bodily function is affected by the dementia (memory is one of those).

The upper front part of the brain is called the Frontal Lobe. This controls movement, concentration, memory, judgement, impulse control, consciousness and problem solving so if dementia effects this area of the brain these functions could be affected.

The upper back part of the brain is called the Parietal Lobe. It controls touch, temperature regulation, pain and spatial awareness. If dementia were to affect this part of the brain then these functions could be affected. Difficulties with spatial awareness could result in falls or trips.

The lower back part of the brain is called the Occipital Lobe which controls vision.

The central part of the brain is called the Temporal Lobe. There are two areas close together called the Hippocampus and the Amygdale in the temporal lobe.

The hippocampus controls factual memories, this area is particularly susceptible to dementia whilst the amygdala which controls emotional memories is much more resistant to dementia.

So remember there is much more to dementia than memory loss. Depending on which part of the brain is affected will determine which function is affected.

It is possible to live well with dementia with positivity and understanding.

Here’s a quick video on the positives of conditions and looking at happy, funny memories…


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The POSITIVES of dementia

The POSITIVES of dementia. 🤣👍😊

This is the third in our new series on dementia. This week we’re looking at the positives of dementia and other conditions. I’ve shared some of my funny positive stories in the videos at the bottom of the page.

  1. Dementia is a label.

    How about we think and focus on all of the other labels the person living with dementia has; grandfather, grandmother, wife, husband, pilot, engineer, teacher.

    There must be so many…

  2. See life as a blessing and celebrate this time together.

  3. People living with dementia will forget factual memories.

    So they’ll forget trauma and loss. Perhaps this is a positive thing.

    Living with the fact yours spouse has died or other trauma is something you probably never get over. People living with dementia will forget this and return to the happy state of before the loss.

    It’s best practise not to remind them. Go along with it.

  4. It’s possible to live well with dementia (and for a long time).

    With consistency and structure it’s possible to live well. Make as much consistent as possible and set up structures and routines which can be learnt, a person living with dementia may be able to follow routines and gain independence.

  5. Emotional memories stay longer.

    Focus on feelings and emotions that are recalled more easily than factual memories.

    Look out for feeling and emotions, smiles, a knowing glint in the eye. They know who you are emotionally even if they can’t remember exactly who you are or your name.

  6. People living with dementia can lose their inhibitions, they can be funny, brutally honest and forthright.

    Take it lightly and enjoy and laugh at these moments.

    I remember my visiting my Nanny Days who lived in Manchester, as I walked in the room she said loudly “Who’s this lovely young girl who’s come to see me?”

    I’ve also remembered this, perhaps I wasn’t impressed at the time as a young boy (!) but it’s a hilarious memory.

  7. Celebrate the unexpected moments. Celebrate the one time mum does remember your name even she forgot the last 8 times!

  8. People living with dementia forget factual memories, that means they’ll forget good news.

    I read on Twitter that a lady went to see her mother who was living with dementia. She told her the good news that she was pregnant. She was delighted, over the moon.

    But then she forgot.

    The next time she went to visit, she was delighted again! It was a great surprise!

    Every time the lady went to visit her mother became a celebration of the pregnancy long after others started to tire of the news!

I’d love to know if you have any other ideas of the positives of dementia. Send us a quick message of any funny stories you have to hello@carechooser.com we’d love to hear them.


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Dementia. A Social Disease - Who Pays?

Dementia - Series 2 - Episode 2.

This is the second in our new series on dementia. We’re continuing this week’s theme of funding.

There are 2 types/strands of funding; social care (council) funding, you pay for unless you’re eligible for home care funding and NHS healthcare funding, free.

Dementia is classed as a ‘social disease’. It usually falls under social care.

Personal care and activities of daily living such as cooking, dressing, washing, housekeeping all fall under social care funding with your local council.

You’ll have to pay for this privately unless you are means tested as eligible. The current threshold is £23,500 in cash or investments (not including your home for home care). Your home is also taken into consideration for care in a care home.

NHS support is free in the UK but for ‘complex’ health needs. A diagnosis of dementia does not qualify you for home care funding under the NHS. It depends on the severity of ‘health’ or ‘medical’ needs.

Things such as:

Physio, eye sight, hearing, footcare, speech and language, mental health.

Mobility, terminal illness, rapid deteriorating health, long-term conditions, physical or mental disdability.

Breathing, continence, communication, skin wounds, cognition.

Request an assessment from your local commissioning group (CCG). It’s health care funding so you can request this via your GP or social worker.

Most people talk about what their loved one can’t do. Cooking food, dressing, washing etc. This falls under social care. You need to think about health care needs.

Check out Care To Be Different. A website that provides support in gaining NHS funding.


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Alzheimer’s = Man Utd. Vascular Dementia = Liverpool. Dementia = Football Teams

This is the first in our new Wednesday series on dementia.

Let’s start simply with…

What is dementia?

I hear a lot of questions asking the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There’s no difference as such, Alzheimer’s is a dementia.

What’s the difference between Manchester United and a football team, there’s not a difference as such. United are a football team.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, it is a dementia much like Manchester United is a football team.

And just like Liverpool is perhaps the second most common football team, vascular dementia is the second most common dementia.

It is possible to live with mixed dementia. A mixture of one or more dementias, perhaps Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia. A lot like England has a mixture of players from different teams. England is a football team, mixed dementia is a dementia.

There are over 100 different types of dementia. There are over a 100 football teams.

Less common forms of dementia exist such as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a lot like less common football teams such as Crewe Alexandra. PSP is a dementia, CAFC are a football team (just about but I love them!)

Let me know what you think of the analogy here on WhatsApp.

All the best,

Christopher


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