Music has the ability to capture emotion and stimulate the brain like few other mediums. And because the part of the brain that governs our response to music is one of the last to be affected by dementia, the power of music and song to help those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be profound.
Singing for the brain is an initiative run by the Alzheimer's Society based on the principles of music therapy. The aim is to bring people with dementia and their carers together to sing in a fun, friendly and stimulating environment where they can express themselves and socialise with others in a supportive group.
In the video clip below, Chreanne Montgomery-Smith,one of the founders of Singing for the Brain, explains more about how the sessions are run, while several participants talk about the enjoyment and feeling of wellbeing they experience from attending the sessions.
If you fancy giving it a go, there are 2 local Singing for the brain groups in the Stroud area.
Details are below, but for further information contact Jane Fraser-Hook at Alzheimer's Society - Gloucestershire Office , weekdays 01452-525222
Stonehouse Singing for the Brain
St Josephs Church Hall, Oldends Lane, Stonehouse GL10 2DG
Normally every 1st and 3rd Tuesday in the month from 2pm to 3:30pm
Gloucester Singing for the Brain
Hucclecote Rugby Football Club, Churchdown Lane, Hucclecote, Gloucester GL3 3QH
Normally every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 10:30am to 12:30pm
Professor June Andrews has a well earned reputation for her work in the fields of social care and dementia. As Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) based at the University of Stirling, she has done much to raise awareness and improve understanding of the difficulties faced by those dealing with dementia.
In 'Dementia- The one stop guide' her aim is to share the knowledge she has gained over the years by providing "practical and sensible advice" about "how to cope with the dementia journey the best way you can".
The book is well laid-out, easy to read, and is truly informative. It is jam packed with practical advice that you can put to immediate use, and the inclusion of many real-life examples make the situations described easy to relate to and understand.
As its name suggests, the book deals with the full range of issues associated with dementia. Don't be put off by this, thinking that a "one-stop" approach will just skim over important points. The book provides solid, worthwhile facts and information, without getting you bogged down in so much detail you don't know where to start.
There are 15 chapters in all, each covering a separate concern. The book can be read as a narrative cover to cover, or can be successfully dipped in and out of for the sections most pertinent to your specific needs at any one time. Chapters include advice on:
Dementia- the one stop guide is aimed at anyone with an interest in dementia and makes no distinction between family members, professionals and those living with the disease themselves. There is no jargon or unhelpful theory. The information is practical, user friendly and, importantly, provides advice that can be put to immediate effect.
We really can't recommend this book enough. Unlike so many other guides that we have quickly recycled to the charity shop, this one will remain firmly at the front of the bookshelf for future reference.
The cover price is £9.99 and is available from the online bookshop at DSDC- (which also stocks other helpful dementia publications and downloads so is definitely worth a look), or from Amazon priced £6.99.
In our opinion it's worth every penny!
A diagnosis of dementia inevitably raises questions about your future care needs, and how these can best be met. The legal systems that must be negotiated can feel like a real obstacle course, so the need for clear straightforward information is obvious though, sadly, not always easy to find.
Having provided advice to many families trying to work through this difficult process, Laker Legal Solicitors decided to create a no-nonsense guide which provides an easy to understand breakdown of the legal and financial implications surrounding the choices people with dementia and their families may need to make as their dementia progresses over time. We're pleased to be able to share their guide with you here.
The event is organised each year by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise the public profile of those affected by dementia and of course do plenty of much needed fund-raising.
“At Alzheimer’s Society, we believe that life doesn’t end when dementia begins, and we do everything we can to help people living with dementia hold onto their lives and the things they love for longer.
We also believe it’s possible to do new things and have new experiences, too. And that’s what this year’s Dementia Awareness Week is all about.”
It could be something as simple as trying a new food you’ve never eaten before, to fulfilling a lifelong ambition like climbing a mountain. If you need a few ideas, click here for the society’s list of suggestions but remember, the sky’s the limit!
And do take a look at the website where they share the #Do Something New stories of 3 of their supporters who haven’t let dementia get in the way of following their dreams and finding fulfilment. Ken, Margaret and Ian’s stories are truly inspirational so do take a peep!
Feeling inspired? Great! Be sure to have fun…and don’t be afraid to share ‘your something new’ on social media using the hashtags #DoSomethingNew and #DAW2015. You might just inspire a few others!
Click here for further details of Dementia Awareness Week 2015
Fear of flooding, increased risk of falls, and the potential for confusion caused by mirrors and reflective surfaces, can all combine to make your bathroom a potential time-bomb.
The good news is, that with some expert advice and careful planning, much can be done to alleviate these potential problems and provide effective solutions for you and your loved ones…all of which will help you remain comfortable in your own home for longer.
The key to success is to act now. Planning possible adaptations before you actually need them, will give you the best opportunity to seek professional advice, get the work done and then adjust easily to any changes.
Your first port of call should undoubtedly be to seek the advice of an Occupational therapist. They are the experts. They will be able to do a home visit and offer personalised advice about you and your home. They may well identify hazards you haven’t even thought of, and can come up with innovative solutions that could help prevent no end of problems later on.
The following bathroom fixes used in many specialist dementia care homes will help boost your bathroom’s usability right now…so why not incorporate some of these ideas…
Banish flooding worries with a Magiplug
“Magiplug” is an ingenious device that you can use to replace the existing plug in your bath and/or washbasin. It contains a pressure sensor that releases water safely down the plughole if the taps are not switched off and the water level gets too deep, thus eliminating fears of flooding. They are inexpensive, easy to fit to your existing bath and/or basin, and can provide real peace of mind. They are easily available from a number of dementia care suppliers, Amazon, or direct from the manufacturer.
Watch this YouTube clip to see how they work:
With safety in mind, it’s also well worth considering a centrally controlled thermostat to control water temperature, and avoid the possibility of scalding accidents.
The addition of grab rails and a toilet seat riser can help improve your sense of security and confidence when using the bathroom and ultimately reduce the risk of falls. There are many products on the market, so to find the right ones for you, we suggest looking at the Disability Living Foundation’s website www.asksara.dlf.org.uk/ which provides an impartial source of information and advice.
Choose a strong colour for hand towels, grab rails, toothbrush pot and toilet seat, that contrasts clearly with the floor, walls and bathroom furniture. This draws the eye to them and provides an efficient visual reminder.
Try to keep lights bright, but avoid glare. A motion sensor that turns on the bathroom light automatically when you go in there is always a welcome addition.
Mirrors and reflective surfaces can all too easily become a source of confusion, and ultimately fear, once reflections are no longer understood. It’s good to keep in mind that they may need to be covered or removed at a later stage.
These simple alterations really do have the power to make life that little bit easier, so we hope we’ve inspired you. Good luck with the alterations!