dementia

CareChooser Series 1 - Episode 1 - Marvellous Mornings

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Marvellous mornings...

CareChooser’s private carers help your elderly parents have marvellous mornings.

Why focus on marvellous mornings?

Because marvellous mornings set up marvellous days & marvellous evenings...

... So a random home carer rushes in and gets ‘em out of bed & runs…

No, no…

Not the care agency thing.

Rushed mornings, set up chaotic and stressed days…

The same private carer will come each morning. (choose early, mid-morning or late morning)

The carer helps your parent get up, takes care to choose what to wear, helps them to wash and brush & style their hair.

They’ll settle them down for breakfast and clear away too. Get them ready and settled to start the day, perhaps a cup of tea together or one carer takes her client for a walk each day, photographing butterflies... & all sorts.

All the other bits & pieces are all taken care off; housekeeping, laundry etc.

No rushing, no stressing.

Same familiar face.

The above is tracked online, you’ll know from wherever you are that ALL is WELL.

We can’t help everyone (We won’t compromise on the quality of our home carers like others do).

We’ll check to see if you’re a good fit to work with us & our carers.

If you’re fed up of manic, chaotic mornings drop me a message.


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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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Can we have direct contact with the carer?

This is episode 6 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions from our clients and the questions and queries and conversations across Facebook over the last week.

How does it work? Can we have direct contact with the carer?

We allow direct contact between our carers and our families.

It’s one of the ways that agencies fall down. The more lines of communication that are open the more likely is is that the communication will fall down.

Carer phones the agency, agency staff asks a manager about the query, original member of staff calls carer back. Then that person calls the family and then calls the carer again… all for just one query!

We also have an online care journal, so families can see what is going on with the care once the carer has completed the journal which is in near real time, works very well for families that don’t live so close to their loved ones.

We work on a trusting, flexible basis and we find this results in a much higher level of care. You can call the carer and ask them to come in 10 minutes earlier or 15 minutes later one day. And most of the time I’m sure that’ll be no problem at all.

It works best on a two way basis; if you are flexible with the carer then the carer will be more flexible with you.

I know this way of working is not for everyone.

If you’re looking for more rigid care schedule but with less consistent carers then drop as a message and I can put you in touch with an agency.

If you’re looking for consistent care then fill in the form below, use the live chat below or give drop us a call on 02088860686 and we’ll see if you’re a good fit to work with us.


 
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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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Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends

This is episode 5 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions from our clients and the questions and queries and conversations across Facebook over the last week.

A client and a carer asked a question or two about the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends sessions over the last week.

How do you become a Dementia Friend?

You can watch the free videos on the Dementia Friends website or you can attend a Dementia Friends session. They are fantastic sessions, very positive, fantastic analogies that really help you to understand what dementia is and how it affects a person living with it.

The sessions are 45 mins to an hour and are free. They are held across the country so search on the website and it will let you know if there is one coming up near you soon.

What is expected of me as a Dementia Friend?

The Alzheimer’s Society ask you to commit to just 1 dementia friendly action. That could be sharing a picture of yourself with your Dementia Friends badge on. It could be tell other people of the session. It could be to watch out to see if there’s someone that could use some help in the supermarket or perhaps your own idea.

They also have a Dementia Champion session. Also free, it was around half a day when I did it. The Alzheimer’s Society trainers will train you to become a champion and deliver the Dementia Friends session yourself in your local community.

I really recommend the sessions, so much better than other dementia courses I have completed. I’m a Dementia Champion so if you’d like me to deliver the session in your community then contact us and let me (Christopher) know. You can do that on 0208 886 0686 or at hello@carechooser.com

If you know anyone who is looking for consistent home carer, let them know about us.

All the best,

Christopher


 
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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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Dementia and Personality Change

This is episode 4 of the Dear Christopher, series where we look at queries and questions from our clients and the questions and queries and conversations across Facebook over the last week.

Memory loss is heavily associated with dementia. But there are many other symptoms and personality change is one.

It’s also perhaps the most shocking and the most difficult to deal with.

A person that has been quiet and reserved for most of their life can become loud and rude.

Personality change is quite often one of the most early signs and often happens before diagnosis.

There are over a 100 different types of dementia. Fronto-temporal dementia, a type of dementia that affects the front and side of the brain is heavily associated with a change in personality and behaviour and a loss of language.

Very often the personality or behaviour change is to do with communication. The person living with dementia may be trying to communicate a need such as being too hot or too col, in pain, needing the toilet. There could be medication side effects or they could be lonely and isolated.

Changes is personality could include agitation, repetitive behaviour, shouting, sleep disturbance, hiding things, hoarding, checking, losing inhibitions and more.

Know that it could be communicating a need, see if you can work out what need it is. But you need to be very careful with the way that you deal with and respond to that need in relation to the change in personality and behaviour.

If you respond to the need as a result of a behaviour directly it could cause the behaviour to increase long term.

It is quite a shocking thing to deal with and it’s often very unexpected too. Dementia is a very inconsistent disease and different people may have different symptoms. The main message of this article and video today is to get across the fact that personality change can be a symptom of dementia.


 
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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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The 1 reasons why there's behaviour (there's just 1)

Let’s look back at last week’s behaviour article… I suggested you focus on the smallest behaviours rather than the large behaviours such as screaming or aggression.

1st of all it’s easier to make a difference with small behaviours.

2nd if you focus on the large behaviours. You’re sending out a message even if you don’t know it is that anything lower than this is acceptable.

If you focus on the smallest of behaviours, what you are secretly saying is that anything bigger than that is unacceptable. And so in doing so you deal with the large behaviours anyway!

This week… the 1 reasons there’s behaviour (there’s just one).

It all comes down to ‘it works’. The only reason there is behaviour is because it works. Whether it’s screaming, defiance, aggression, being nasty, sibling rivalry. It all comes down to the fact that it works.

If you can work out how it’s working. It becomes quite easy to stop.

I know most of the reasons how behaviour works for a person and we’ll look into that next week. If you can’t wait until then get in touch with me at christopher@carechooser.com


I’m doing some coaching on behaviour and taking on just a few clients each month. Get in touch and we’ll see if you’re a good fit to work with me either with the elderly with dementia or with children. 

Share this with someone who needs to see it and watch out for the next live video and article. Have a great week. 

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Think Small. Focus on the smallest behaviour.

Behaviour is my passion. But it wasn’t always that way. I was terrible managing behaviour.

I learn some secrets and now through my company CareChooser my carers use my techniques to work with people living with dementia.

Most experts will focus on the ‘big’ behaviours. The kicking, screaming and the spiteful behaviour. You know what. That’s not going to work.

I do the opposite.

I focus on the smallest behaviours, the smallest behaviours you can find and identify.

It’s easy, its’ easy to make a change here and you’ll find they start to filter up to the big behaviours anyway.

If you want to know more about that. Come inside and read my story.

Click Here.

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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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Full Post - Having difficulty getting mum/dad/child dressed?

Don’t want to read the full post.

TOP TIPS here.

I’m going to be doing a few new FB live series’. Those that don’t know me I help families find great carers and we support families too.

I'm going to be looking at some of the key questions being asked on Facebook around care, health, dementia and behaviour.

One that keeps coming up… Mum won’t change her clothes… and has tantrums. Perhaps she screams, refuses, is rude or even hits out. 

1st why am I talking about behaviour.

Some of you will know me from earlier in my career, Mary, Harriet, Richard, Emma, Michael and will remember I was terrible at managing behaviour.

I was a teacher, my classes were fun but behaviour was not a strong point.

Then one day a headteacher I worked with handed me some papers in the corridor, stapled together at the top. 

I took it home and read it that night it was totally different to what the ‘experts’ tell you to do.

In fact it was the opposite.

I tried it and the behaviour got worse, it said it would, and then it began to work…

like magic. 

I went on somehow to work with children with extreme behaviour difficulties, working with them directly and made changes in just a few days and I now work with people living with dementia too. 

So… Mum won’t change her clothes… and has tantrums. Perhaps she screams, refuses, is rude or even hits out.

1st thing to do know.

If you’re going to try and make a change to behaviour.

I’ll tell you now, it’ll get worse first. They’ll test you and the behaviour will get worse. Whose going to win? See it through and you’ll win long term. 

2nd thing - check if it’s communication.

Behaviour is often communication. It’s not the right or acceptable way to communicate but sometimes it is communication. Are clothes itchy, uncomfortable, too warm or too cold? Sometimes I don’t want to change my warmest fleece jumper! It’s cold and the jumper is warm. Is it hot and its the coolest t-shirt etc?

3rd - seek to reduce the behaviour.

How you react to the behaviour will determine if it happens again. Generally if you react, show eye contact, any alarm in your voice, annoyance or respond with conversation. That’s attention even if it’s negative, it will happen next time too. 

Respond to behaviour, tantrums with NOTHING.

No eye contact, few or zero words. Use the same repeated words in a boring, monotone voice. If it’s met with boring repeated words and no eye contact, there’ll be no point in it continuing (after the test period of course!) No physical contact.

4th - Repeat simple 2/3 word instructions.

In a boring monotone voice, with actions. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Then leave it. Jumper on, jumper on. 

5th - Perhaps use first and then.

Remember it’s ‘dressed first, then tea’, ‘dressed first, then ….’

‘first wash jumper, then wear it’

6th - Use hand signs, pointing, pictures. 

Now I’m putting together some scripts, some clever words and phrases, that you can use. And this is just the beginning… 

I’ve tested a lot of different techniques.

Some worked, some didn’t. I repeated and remembered the ones that worked and ditched the ones that didn’t.

I’m not a behaviour expert and I have no interest in being one. I don’t want to stand behind a clip board and tell people what to do. Do behaviour experts actually try what they say? Do they actually do it?

I’m doing some coaching on behaviour, get in touch if you want to work with me either with the elderly with dementia or with children. 

Share this with someone who needs to see it and watch out for the next live, have a great week. 

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Dementia Q&A

We’ve had over 50 questions on dementia. I’m going to run though around 15 of them. Fantastic questions.

I’ve had a discussion with the GP on our team around each of the questions.

I’m going to give a brief answer to each and I’ll go into more detail on each over the coming weeks and months.

This will hopefully provide some background into dementia and how to best support your loved ones and how to get the most out of home care.

By it’s nature dementia is an inconsistent disease, it is best to seek an in person face to face consultation with a GP who will be able to take into account your or your loved ones’ medical history.

Do the share the Q&A. If you’re watching or have any other questions about dementia or how home care or live in care could help you do leave me a comment in the live chat below…

Click on each question below to reveal the answer/discussion.


Erik - Can you please educate us about Parkinson’s disease dementia? How this might be similar and different compared to other dementias.

Parkinson’s is a long-term disorder of the central nervous system, the main difference with Parkinson’s is that it mainly affects the motor system and so people living with Parkinson’s may have difficulties with movement, walking and particularly using their hands, so chopping, preparing food and using a mobile can be difficult. It may be useful to consider a carer or family member to help support with tasks such as cooking and personal grooming.

Emmy - Is it safe to drive if you have dementia? If yes, when is it no longer safe?

Yes.

It is safe to drive with dementia. Driving is automatic behaviour and is in the long term memory.

People living with dementia mainly have problems with their short term memory and long term memory is usually less affected. Generally - problems will be with getting lost, forgetting where the car is etc.

A person living with dementia may be able to drive to the doctors for example without any problems however they may forget they are going to the doctors or become confused as to how they will get there.

Any physical disabilities will play more of an impact - sight, hearing loss, movement etc. You’ll need to make a judgement about whether it’s safe or not or you can ask your doctor to help make that judgement.

We have carers that drive and can support with maintaining independence.

Larry - Does having surgery speed up the disease; dementia.

The brain has a huge capacity it can cope with changes in environment and all sorts.

A person living with dementia though has a reduced capacity and is less able to cope with change. The most important thing is keeping things the same and consistent… the same location, same carer, same schedule if possible etc.

Now, when you have surgery you go into a different environment (hospital). The brain then has to cope with lots of different changes and distractions which can cause a temporary regression. So it’s likely that the change in environment may cause a regression rather than the surgery itself interestingly.

Perhaps think about you can lesses the transition to new environments, perhaps prepare the person in advance of any changes if possible. Talk them through the changes, when they will happen and what to expect.

Jeanette - What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Dementia is the term for a 100 different conditions and symptoms. One of these is Alzheimer's.

If you’ve got Alzheimer’s you’ve got Alzheimer’s disease and you’ve got Dementia. If you’ve got dementia you may have Alzheimers, or you may have vascular dementia, or lewy bodies dementia…. Or one of the other dementias.

Sian - Why does the length of decline differ if the type of dementia a person is living with is the same? 👍

It’s the nature of the disease in that it is inconsistent and affects people differently because we are genetically different. Environmental factors will also play a part too, the amount and quality of sleep, consistently of the environment and diet can all have an impact on the decline.

With consistency in mind and knowing the impact this can have on a person living with dementia, this is why we focus on having a consistent home carer in place for each family. It truly is what each family needs.

Val - Why is my Mum, who has dementia, fairly rational for a few hours and totally confused by tea time?

Again, It’s the nature of the disease. It’s inconsistent. But it can also be affected by the environment. Consistency of the environment, sleep, diet, schedule can all play apart in causing confusion.

Why does it hurt us so much?

It can seem as if you’re losing the person. With some dementias, particularly Alzheimer’s the person’s personality can change. The physical person is still there but their personality may change. The closer you are to that person the more its going to hurt. It’s perhaps best to remember than dementia is a small part of the person and to remember all of the other things and years that make up that person.

Barbara - Why are childhood memories so vivid for people living with dementia, when they can't remember what happened this morning?

If you look back through the posts you’ll come across the Alzheimer’s Society’s Bookcase Analogy. This brilliantly explains why people living with dementia can recall vividly memories from a long time ago but struggle to remember what they had for breakfast or what they did yesterday.

Click here to view the written post and video.

Peter - What qualifications do you have that are sufficient to be able to provide accurate and credible information? What are your motivations behind doing these posts? Is it just to advertise your own business perhaps?

Yes, we have a business. But we want to provide genuine value and education to people. If they then want to work with us that’s cool and if they don’t that’s cool too!

I (Christopher) am an Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends Champion, I volunteer for the Alzheimers’s Society as a trainer. I’ve been working with people with dementia for over 2 years. On my team I have a GP with over 30 years’ experience working in the NHS who I’ve conferred with in order to accurately answer these questions.

Leslie - Why is no one talking about nutrition? It angers me knowing that my dad’s condition could have been slowed down. Once we eliminated sugar, dairy & gluten & added way more fruits and vegetables, his memory came back, his aggression went away, and he came off sedative meds which all lead to a MUCH greater quality of life. I’ve been researching dementia for years and happy to share everything we’ve learned.

Diet is another environmental variable. I said that environmental factors can affect dementia and it’s rate of progress. Diet and nutrition is one of those variables that will help to improve wellbeing… Interesting you talk about the sedative meds… you’ll probably find the drug companies would probably prefer you didn’t know about cutting out sugar, dairy and gluten!

Lynn - Why or how do younger people develop early onset dementia ? My mother died last year at the age of 62 yrs old. She was diagnosed 5 years prior. We had such a short time to get our heads around it. 😔

It’s a myth that dementia only occurs in older people. Young people can get dementia.

There’s a charity called Young Dementia, do check that out. We don’t know for sure what causes it yet or why we get it. There’s a lot of research being done into tablets, knocks on the head and there’s also research going on about heading a football and boxing…

Paula - How/why does dementia kill people?

It doesn’t kill you. Dementia is not a disease that kills you. Not like malaria will. It may make you more susceptible to other illnesses like pneumonia though which then might kill you. But dementia doesn’t kill you as such.

Marion - Why do people tell me I don't look like or speak like I have Dementia?

Brilliant question.

Dementia a physical disease of the brain.

But It’s not an external physical disease or injury like a broken arm or leg or bleeding. The brain is an internal organ, we can't see it. In that sense dementia is invisible.

Brandy - Sorry theres a few that come to mind. How do you cope with your loved ones dementia?

With support, understanding the disease and with consistency - a stabilised environment. The same consistent carer each day, a regular and consistent schedule, a regular diet.

Also A safe environment, removing rugs and having well fitted shoes are good quick wins.

How do you help someone who knows they have dementia, and gets frustrated that they cant remember?

Don’t show them they’re wrong, don’t correct their mistakes, don’t argue with them. Play along each time. Otherwise it agitates them and can make things worse.

We encourage out home carers and our live in carers to be firm, empathic, understanding and reassuring. It's important to get the right balance - being firm, understanding and reasurring but not too much that it creates a dependence.

Why do you see it progress faster in some and not in others?

See above answers, it’s about a person’s genetics and their environment and other factors. It’s the nature of the disease in that it is inconsistent and affects people differently because we are genetically different. Environmental factors will play a part too, amount of sleep, consistently of environment etc.

Guillaume - Does a dementia scale exist?

Yes. It progresses at different rates depending on the things we’ve discussed and also which dementia it is. Alzheimer’s is progressive at the same steady rate whilst vascular dementia is more step like in it’s progression. With vascular dementia a person can be at the same level of health and wellbeing for a long time and then there may be a sudden decline.

Kristina - When do you start seeing the first symptoms, what age? What are the first symptoms?

It’s a myth that dementia is just in older people. Young people get dementia, as I said above there is a charity called Young Dementia. It’s more rare though. Quite often the first symptoms will be confusion or a loss of short term memory not long term memory.

I’m also going to go into each question in more dept over the coming months… so stay tuned for that. 

If you liked the Q&A so share it via email or social media, leave me a comment in the live chat below. Did you find out anything new, let me know in the live chat or on the video on social media.

If you know someone who needs some support let them or their family members know about me and about CareChooser and I’ll see you soon. 

Christopher “Picks Star Carers” Downie

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 5 ways I can help improve the wellbeing of your elderly parents/spouse:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Grab a free copy of my e-book; 3 quick tips to beat falls and confusion. It’s a road map to wellbeing - a 20 second read... We asked the GP on our team; Malcolm for his 3 top tips. — Click Here (https://www.carechooser.com#homecare-falls) Look for the gold banner.

2. Join CareChooser’s Facebook page and connect with us. It’s our new Facebook community where you can follow and learn from us. — Click Here (https://www.facebook.com/CareChooser)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. If you’d like us to improve the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and have us find you a consistent carer send me a message at bit.ly/christopherdownie with the words “Carer”. Tell me a little about your parents/spouse, we’ll check availability in your area, send profiles and arrange a meeting.

4. Join us and be a Case Study I’m putting together a new case study at CareChooser... stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on improving the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and learn the secrets to getting the most from a carer... just send me a message atbit.ly/christopherdownie with the words “Case Study”.

5. Work with me and my team privately.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from stressed to wellbeing and have us find a bespoke carer matched uniquely for your family just send me a message at bit.ly/christopherdownie with the word “Private”... tell me a little about your parents/spouse and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!


How vascular dementia is like roads, traffic 🚗🚙🚕🚛 & cars?

Today I’m going to talk about vascular dementia and how it is like traffic, roads and cars! 

In my last post and video I talked about Alzheimer’s disease and how it is caused. 

Vascular dementia - Private home care & live in care.jpg

We know plaque builds up around teeth and causes decay and with Alzheimer’s plaque builds up around the brain cells and also tangles are formed inside brain cells. 


Christie commented on yesterday’s video and asked me to talk a little about vascular dementia, another common dementia. 

I’m going to talk briefly about how vascular dementia is caused… 

Vascular dementia is a different dementia to Alzheimer’s and so has different causes and different symptoms.  

The best way to think about vascular dementia is to think of car roads, cars and traffic. 

Roads often become blocked, nothing can pass and this causes a reduced flow of the traffic and cars. 

The same happens with vascular dementia, small blood vessels inside the brain narrow and become blocked which causes a reduced flow of blood to the brain, this can damage and kill brain cells. 

On a road crashes can cause blockages in the road and a reduced flow of traffic. Again it’s the same with vascular dementia… a stroke or a mini stroke is like a crash… it causes damage to the blood supply and reduces or stops the flow of blood to the brain. 

I know this sounds bad, it sounds terrible, but it is possible to live well with dementia. With understanding, positivity and support from family members or from home carers or live in carers people can live very well with dementia and with vascular dementia.

Who do you know that may benefit from being connected to me? Let them know about this post and the video and about CareChooser.

I shall see you next time… next week I’m going to be doing an question and answer session. A Q&A… drop me a question about dementia, a different condition… diabetes, arthritis, about home care or carers or a question to do with supporting a loved one and I’ll answer it on the next live… Have a think, leave me a question, either on Facebook or pop a question below in the live chat and look out for next week’s video and post.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Recap of the key messages from the previous posts & videos:

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the build up of proteins or plaque (amyloid) around the brain cells and (tau) tangles inside brain cells.

Dementia DOESN’T affect the part of the brain (amygdala) that controls EMOTIONS and FEELINGS as much as factual information.

Dementia is not just about losing your memory (it effects other functions too… )

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Christopher “Picks Star Carers” Downie

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 5 ways I can help improve the wellbeing of your elderly parents/spouse:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Grab a free copy of my e-book; 3 quick tips to beat falls and confusion. It’s a road map to wellbeing - a 20 second read... We asked the GP on our team; Malcolm for his 3 top tips. — Click Here (https://www.carechooser.com#homecare-falls) Look for the gold banner.

2. Join CareChooser’s Facebook page and connect with us. It’s our new Facebook community where you can follow and learn from us. — Click Here (https://www.facebook.com/CareChooser)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. If you’d like us to improve the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and have us find you a consistent carer send me a message at bit.ly/christopherdownie with the words “Carer”. Tell me a little about your parents/spouse, we’ll check availability in your area, send profiles and arrange a meeting.

4. Join us and be a Case Study I’m putting together a new case study at CareChooser... stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on improving the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and learn the secrets to getting the most from a carer... just send me a message atbit.ly/christopherdownie with the words “Case Study”.

5. Work with me and my team privately.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from stressed to wellbeing and have us find a bespoke carer matched uniquely for your family just send me a message at bit.ly/christopherdownie with the word “Private”... tell me a little about your parents/spouse and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!


What do Alzheimer's disease and teeth have in common?

Alzheimer's disease - private home care & live in care | CareChooser 2018.jpg

We know what causes TOOTH 😬 problems right?

PLAQUE.

And Alzheimers’s disease? 🧠 (the most common dementia)

That’s plaque too.

Plaque and tangles.

*NOTE… different forms of dementia have different causes (Vascular dementia is caused by reduced flow of blood to the brain)

So today…

A minute ⏰ talking about how Alzheimer’s affects the brain, what actually happens…

In the brain of someone living with Alzheimer’s, there are 2 different proteins that build up called amyloid and tau.

There is a build up of amyloid which is a plaque. This plaque builds up around brain 🧠cells.

The protein tau forms tangles inside the brain cells.

Researches 👩‍⚕️ still don’t fully understand themselves how these plaques and tangles cause the loss of brain cells. But there is a decrease is the brain’s chemical messengers that sends signals between brain cells.

I’ve had lots of people asking if they can share the videos and posts… Do share - click on my name, view my profile and you’ll be able to share…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Recap of the key messages from the previous posts & videos:

Dementia is not just about losing your memory (it effects other functions too… )

Dementia DOESN’T affect the part of the brain (amygdala) that controls EMOTIONS and FEELINGS as much as factual information.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Christopher “Picks Star Carers” Downie

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 5 ways I can help improve the wellbeing of your elderly parents/spouse:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Grab a free copy of my e-book; 3 quick tips to beat falls and confusion. It’s a road map to wellbeing - a 20 second read... We asked the GP on our team; Malcolm for his 3 top tips. — Click Here (https://www.carechooser.com#homecare-falls) Look for the gold banner.

2. Join CareChooser’s Facebook page and connect with us. It’s our new Facebook community where you can follow and learn from us. — Click Here (https://www.facebook.com/CareChooser)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. If you’d like us to improve the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and have us find you a consistent carer send me a message at bit.ly/christopherdownie with the words “Carer”. Tell me a little about your parents/spouse, we’ll check availability in your area, send profiles and arrange a meeting.

4. Join us and be a Case Study I’m putting together a new case study at CareChooser... stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on improving the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and learn the secrets to getting the most from a carer... just send me a message atbit.ly/christopherdownie with the words “Case Study”.

5. Work with me and my team privately.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from stressed to wellbeing and have us find a bespoke carer matched uniquely for your family just send me a message at bit.ly/christopherdownie with the word “Private”... tell me a little about your parents/spouse and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!


CareChooser Home Care - Alzheimer's Society.png
Dementia_Friends_RGB_land.jpg

We are a dementia friendly organisation and we deliver the Alzheimer's Society's free 45 minute-1hour long Dementia Friends information session. This session takes a very positive view of dealing with dementia. One of it's key 5 messages is that it is possible to live well with dementia. We also strongly align to one of the key elements of the campaign to change the way people talk about dementia and changing from the use of the term 'dementia sufferer' to 'person living with dementia'. We regularly deliver the free Dementia Friends session and can also deliver it 1:1 to family members or to whole family groups. 


Hippocampus & Amygdala...

Dementia - Private Home Care & Live In Care | CareChooser 2018.jpg

A quick... short post about the hippocampus and the amygdala (parts of the brain).

The hippocampus controls dates, names and facts.

It's easily affected by dementia.

But... the amygdala  controls emotions and feelings and is far more resistant to dementia. 💪

Heard from SO MANY people this week since my posts and videos last week who have seen this with their family members.

A loss of factual information but not of feelings.

If you know someone who may need a carer let them know about me and about CareChooser


Christopher “Picks Star Carers” Downie

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 5 ways I can help improve the wellbeing of your elderly parents/spouse:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Grab a free copy of my e-book; 3 quick tips to beat falls and confusion. It’s a road map to wellbeing - a 20 second read... We asked the GP on our team; Malcolm for his 3 top tips. — Click Here (https://www.carechooser.com#homecare-falls) Look for the gold banner.

2. Join CareChooser’s Facebook page and connect with us. It’s our new Facebook community where you can follow and learn from us. — Click Here (https://www.facebook.com/CareChooser)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. If you’d like us to improve the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and have us find you a consistent carer send me a message on WhatsApp at bit.ly/carechooser-WA with the words “Carer”. Tell me a little about your parents/spouse, we’ll check availability in your area, send profiles and arrange a meeting. 

4. Join us and be a Case Study I’m putting together a new case study at CareChooser... stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on improving the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and learn the secrets to getting the most from a carer... just send me a message on WhatsApp at bit.ly/carechooser-WA with the words “Case Study”.

5. Work with me and my team privately.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from stressed to wellbeing and have us find a bespoke carer matched uniquely for your family just send me a message on WhatsApp at bit.ly/carechooser-WA with the word “Private”... tell me a little about your parents/spouse and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

Our carers provide you with specialised dementia care at home. Your loved ones will be looked after by carers with experience working and supporting people living with dementia and know how to adapt to the condition's changing nature.

Contact us on 0208 886 0686 if we can help in anyway. 


CareChooser Home Care - Alzheimer's Society.png
Dementia_Friends_RGB_land.jpg

We are a dementia friendly organisation and we deliver the Alzheimer's Society's free 45 minute-1hour long Dementia Friends information session. This session takes a very positive view of dealing with dementia. One of it's key 5 messages is that it is possible to live well with dementia. We also strongly align to one of the key elements of the campaign to change the way people talk about dementia and changing from the use of the term 'dementia sufferer' to 'person living with dementia'. We regularly deliver the free Dementia Friends session and can also deliver it 1:1 to family members or to whole family groups. 


Did you know this about dementia?

Dementia - Private Home Care & Live In Care | CareChooser 2018.jpg

Imagine the brain as bookshelves… 📔📕📗

Now fast forward 44 years, I am 80 years old (today!!) How does dementia effect me? 

There is a full bookcase, each book represents a memory or a fact. 

My top shelf holds very recent books or memories, such as what I had for breakfast this morning, how much food I gave the chickens… 

By my shoulders are my 60s, such as my retirement party. 🎉

By my knees are books from my 20s & by my feet books holding memories from childhood; school memories. 

Dementia rocks the bookcase from side to side. 

What will happen to the books? 

They will fall off. Starting from where? The top. 

As dementia progresses, my upper shelves will empty, so what I think as my most recent memories will come from further down my bookcase - earlier in my life. 

If only books and memories that are still firm are from a lower shelf, when I was in my 20s I may think I’m living in the 1950s. This could cause some problems. I may put the electric kettle on the hob. 

You my family member and friends may get me a hob kettle to help and support me.

Hearing this… 👆 you may think a person with dementia loses everything. 

But…

I’ve only shared 1 part of the brain. The factual bookcase, (the hippocampus part of the brain) which holds facts, names, faces, numbers, dates.

This bookcase is flimsy, bought from Ikea and poorly constructed… (must do better next time!) 

There is another part of the brain - picture as a separate bookcase, the emotional bookcase (The amygdala part of the brain).

This manages my emotions and feelings. 

But… 

This bookcase is rock solid and made of oak and so It’s more resistant to dementia and its contents will be safer for longer. 

For every book on the factual bookcase there is a corresponding book on my emotional bookcase. A school book or memory in the factual part of the brain & in the emotional part; a feeling, perhaps of being inspired by a teacher. 

You come to visit me & we have a row because I forgot your name. I may feel angry and upset, you think it doesn’t matter because I will forget about it.

Your right, I may forget the argument but the feelings of anger and sadness will stay. 

A different day, we go to the beach 🏖and have ice cream. 

Later, I forget the ice cream 🍦and may even forget the whole day out. You may think that the trip wasn’t worth while but what stays with me? 

The happy emotions and feelings. The happiness of the trip, the excitement & contentment of the ice cream. 🍦

This is why we encourage anyone who knows someone living with dementia to continue to visit them and help them to live well because they will remember the feelings of love and happiness. 

Remember - you can live well with dementia. This analogy is from the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends information session that I deliver.

I’ll be doing another live shortly so keep an eye out, if you like this message share it out & leave me a comment.

If you know someone who may need a carer let them know about me and about CareChooser.

Christopher “Picks Star Carers” Downie

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 5 ways I can help improve the wellbeing of your elderly parents/spouse:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Grab a free copy of my e-book; 3 quick tips to beat falls and confusion. It’s a road map to wellbeing - a 20 second read... We asked the GP on our team; Malcolm for his 3 top tips. — Click Here (https://www.carechooser.com#homecare-falls) Look for the gold banner.

2. Join CareChooser’s Facebook page and connect with us. It’s our new Facebook community where you can follow and learn from us. — Click Here (https://www.facebook.com/CareChooser)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. If you’d like us to improve the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and have us find you a consistent carer send me a message on WhatsApp at bit.ly/carechooser-WA with the words “Carer”. Tell me a little about your parents/spouse, we’ll check availability in your area, send profiles and arrange a meeting. 

4. Join us and be a Case Study I’m putting together a new case study at CareChooser... stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on improving the wellbeing of your parents/spouse and learn the secrets to getting the most from a carer... just send me a message on WhatsApp at bit.ly/carechooser-WA with the words “Case Study”.

5. Work with me and my team privately.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from stressed to wellbeing and have us find a bespoke carer matched uniquely for your family just send me a message on WhatsApp at bit.ly/carechooser-WA with the word “Private”... tell me a little about your parents/spouse and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

Our carers provide you with specialised dementia care at home. Your loved ones will be looked after by carers with experience working and supporting people living with dementia and know how to adapt to the condition's changing nature.

Contact us on 0208 886 0686 if we can help in anyway. 


CareChooser Home Care - Alzheimer's Society.png
Dementia_Friends_RGB_land.jpg

We are a dementia friendly organisation and we deliver the Alzheimer's Society's free 45 minute-1hour long Dementia Friends information session. This session takes a very positive view of dealing with dementia. One of it's key 5 messages is that it is possible to live well with dementia. We also strongly align to one of the key elements of the campaign to change the way people talk about dementia and changing from the use of the term 'dementia sufferer' to 'person living with dementia'. We regularly deliver the free Dementia Friends session and can also deliver it 1:1 to family members or to whole family groups. 


Dementia Is Not Just About Memory

Private home care & live in care | CareChooser home care 2018.jpg

Imagine the brain is a string of fairy lights...

When a person has dementia, some of the fairy lights may flicker or dim.

Why? Because dementia is a physical disease of the brain.

Depending on which light flickers or dims (which nerve cells in the brain are affected by the build up of plaque)...

That will determine which bodily function is affected by dementia.

Remember. It’s not just about memory.

If the part of the brain 🧠 that controls vision 👀 is affected, then the person’s vision will be affected.

If the communication between the nerve cells that control movement are affected... movement will become difficult.

Here’s yesterday’s video on dementia and fairy lights. 

Our carers provide you with specialised dementia care at home. Your loved ones will be looked after by carers with experience working and supporting people living with dementia and know how to adapt to the condition's changing nature.

Contact us on 0208 886 0686 if we can help in anyway. 


CareChooser Home Care - Alzheimer's Society.png
Dementia_Friends_RGB_land.jpg

We are a dementia friendly organisation and we deliver the Alzheimer's Society's free 45 minute-1hour long Dementia Friends information session. This session takes a very positive view of dealing with dementia. One of it's key 5 messages is that it is possible to live well with dementia. We also strongly align to one of the key elements of the campaign to change the way people talk about dementia and changing from the use of the term 'dementia sufferer' to 'person living with dementia'. We regularly deliver the free Dementia Friends session and can also deliver it 1:1 to family members or to whole family groups.