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Myhomecare at the National Dementia Care Conference 2018

dementia conference

National Dementia Care Conference 2018 – Assisted Decision Making Act Impact – Advanced Care Planning – Dealing With Dementia in the Home

The Myhomecare team were delighted to attend the National Dementia Care Conference on Thursday February 8th 2018 in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. In it’s 4th year, the conference this year focused on the future of Dementia Care in Ireland to enable delegates to critically review their approach to the care of patients with dementia and delirium.

Representing the Myhomecare team on the day was Jodi Scorr – Client Relationship Manager. This was Jodi’s first time to attend the conference and Jodi wanted to build business relationships with key note speakers. In preparation for the event, Jodi researched key people to network with and target on Linkedin and looked up the history of company websites. Speaking about the conference Jodi said: “I arrived at 11 o’clock having committed my early morning with an existing client visit. I heard key speakers Louise Campbell, Sally O’Grady, Carol de Wilde, Norma Sheehan, Suzanne Cahill, Amanda Bohan, William Molloy, Breffni Guinness and John Starr. Overall, it was extremely insightful. I really enjoyed learning more about and trying to understand Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It was a great event for networking and building new business opportunities”.

Who attended?

Professionals who assess/care for dementia patients, nurses, directors of nursing, social care workers, home care providers, carers, nursing homes, consultants, GP’s, regulators, associations, researchers and universities and more.

Some topics covered

  • Dementia in Ireland today – what has changed since 2014 and the national strategy.
  • Existing gaps in the journey of care.
  • Focus on home care needs.
  • Focus on post-diagnostic supports needs.
  • Focus on geographic inconsistency of services.
  • Dementia in Ireland – next steps required.

There was an important and interesting array of keynote speakers such including:

  • Pat McLoughlin, CEO, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. 
  • Patricia Rickard Clarke, Solicitor & Former Commissioner, The Law Reform Commission. 
  • Deirdre Shanagher, Development Officer, The Irish Hospice Foundation. 
  • Dr. Louise Campbell, lecturer in medical ethics, NUI Galway.
  • Professor Suzanne Cahill, Trinity College Dublin. 
  • Carol de Wilde, Principal Social Worker St Columcille’s Hospital and Founding Member of the Alzheimer’s Café Bray.
  • Norma Sheehan, Director of Nursing, Saint Joseph’s Shankill. 
  • Amanda Bohan, Owner and Managing Director, Home Instead Senior Care. 
  • Breffni McGuinness, Training Manager, Irish Hospice Foundation. 
  • John Starr, Director, Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. 
  • Prof D W Molloy. 

What is dementia?

dementia quote

Dementia is not one specific disease. It is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms. Dementia is a term which describes a number of conditions that cause damage to brain cells. It is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. It is estimated that there are 55,000 people with dementia in Ireland. Not every person with dementia will experience the same symptoms.

Different types of dementia

  • Alzheimer’s Disease – the most common form of dementia in which abnormal proteins cause brain cells to die. The most common early symptom is memory loss.
  • Vascular dementia – this is the second most common form of dementia. This occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted such as stroke and causes problems with thinking and planning.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies – is a type of dementia that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It gets its name from the small spherical structures that develop inside nerve cells. Symptoms include hallucinations and problems with movement.
  • Fronto-Temperal Dementia – Causes damage to the front and sides of the brain first. This causes changes to personality, language and behaviour before memory.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – is caused by an abnormal protein called prion which infects the brain. Early symptoms include mood changes, loss of interest and minor lapses of memory.
  • Young-onset dementia – People who develop dementia before the age of 65. Younger people with dementia are more likely to have problems with movement, coordination, balance and and walking.
  • Alcohol related (including Korsakoffs syndrome) – Alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) is a brain disorder caused by regularly drinking too much alcohol over several years. The term ARBD covers several different conditions including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and alcoholic dementia. None of these is actually a dementia, but they may share similar symptoms.

Symptoms

dementia signs

  • Memory loss.
  • Difficulty communicating or finding words.
  • Difficulty reasoning/problem-solving.
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks.
  • Difficulty with planning/organising.
  • Difficulty with coordination.
  • Confusion and disorientation.

Causes of Dementia

  • Stroke, brain tumor or head injury.
  • Age – dementia affects 1 in 70 people in Ireland aged 65-70 and affects 1 in 5 people over the age of 80.
  • Genetics.
  • Lifestyle Diet/Nutrition – high fat contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol which are all associated with dementia.

Prevention

dementia prevention

  • Healthy mind – keep the brain active by doing exercises such as puzzles and reading.
  • Quit smoking – People who are heavy smokers in their mid-life, double their risk of developing dementia.
  • Exercise – older adults who do not exercise are more likely to have memory problems.

 

dementia poem

 

Dementia Care Conference 2018: http://ichn.ie/national-dementia-care-conference-2018-assisted-decision-making-act-impact-advanced-care-planning-dealing-with-dementia-in-the-home/

For more information on Dementia visit: http://www.alzheimer.ie

Vizier AAL Project

Vizier strives to improve the lives of the elderly by providing them with the tools to live longer independently. A commercially viable “open architecture” solution will be designed and developed to offer an intuitive and elderly friendly interface for utilising popular modern online services, as well as innovative and affordable Internet of Things (IoT) appliances already available on the market. The main goal is to encourage the elderly to improve the management of their daily lives, to stay physically, mentally and socially active and to ensure the elderly safety and wellbeing. Vizier proposes a hardware and software solution that includes a home system composed of, a range of sensors, smart (home) devices, a social companion and a set of applications to allow the elderly to access existing popular but difficult to use (online) technologies. Vizier will be built solely with the users in mind benefitting from the co-creation approach, which is a strong user-centric methodology where elderlies are involved in every step of the product development. The “open architecture” facilitates the development of an ecosystem and the possibilities for setting up partnership agreements that renders the product and services more commercially viable and scalable. Vizier will achieve a high commercialisation value, with the inclusion of existing proven technologies in combination with long-term research. With a strong involvement of commercial partners and leading research institutions, Vizier provides extensive expertise in both the technical and business & market fields, ensuring an optimal exploitation of the project’s results. (SOURCE: https://aalvizier.eu/)

 

Helping the Elderly this Christmas

Our Guidelines for Helping an Elderly Friend, Neighbour or Relative this Christmas 

Elderly person Christmas decorating

Tackling Loneliness among the Elderly at Christmas 

Christmas is about love and joy and spending time with family and friends but it can be extremely difficult for elderly people as it can remind them about the loss of loved ones or their decline in health. Elderly people have an increased risk of suffering from depression and around the festive season depression and suicide heighten. Depression affects around 15-20% of people aged 65 and over.

Around 60% of elderly people in Ireland aged 80 and over live alone. Help the elderly people in your life this Christmas and avoid them becoming lonely and depressed. Loneliness can have an impact on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people.

If you know of an elderly person invite them for a meal or ask them if they would like help with food shopping, make them feel connected at this time of year. See here previous blog about Loneliness and the elderly: https://myhomecareie.wpengine.com/age-friendly-advice/tackling-loneliness-among-elderly/

How to Help the Elderly around the Festive Season

Reach Out

If you have an elderly relative, neighbour or friend that lives alone make sure to check in on them and see if they are OK. Take them to visit family members, call in to help them light the fire. Reaching out to a senior with small gestures, you would be surprised at just how much it could mean to them.

Plan Ahead

If you are a carer by occupation, invite your friends and family or the friends and family of the person that you are caring for around. Make sure to plan this in advance as people can have a busy schedule around Christmas. This will keep their morale high and also give you a sense of satisfaction for spreading the festive cheer. Organise a Christmas game, Christmas caroling, tea and mince pies or ask the senior what they would like to do.

Involve Them 

Get them involved. It is important that seniors feel a part of the holidays. Elderly people love to feel that they are useful and don’t want to feel like a burden. Ask them to help with things such as meal preparations like the Christmas Pudding, picking Christmas cards or helping to decorate the house. Be aware of what they can do and encourage them to do what they are capable of.

Make Memories

Memories and old traditions can be painful for older people. Create new memories and traditions and make them feel present this Christmas to take their mind off the past. Make a dish that they would have normally made, use different ingredients if desired. Bring them to mass on Christmas Eve and invite family, take them for a drive to look at all the Christmas lights.

Respect their routines 

If an elderly person is used to eating meals and going to bed at certain hours try and respect this and do your best to accommodate them. Staying up later than what they are used to or eating at later times results in tiredness and hunger which is unsettling to anyone not just older people.

Reminisce

Take the time to listen to an older person that feels like they need to reminisce about days gone by, deceased loved ones, childhood memories and Christmas memories or traditions that have passed. At social gatherings, encourage them to talk about their stories, elderly people love to share of days gone by and young people love hearing about what it was like ‘in my day’.

Ask for help

If you don’t ask you won’t receive. It is foolish to think that you can do everything yourself. To care for someone else you must care for yourself too. Ask friends or family to help out with what you know they are good at or enjoy. If someone enjoys shopping ask them to bring out the elderly person and help them with seasonal gifts, suggest they do some online shopping together if mobility is low. Get young grandchildren to call and keep them busy with games etc.

Healthy choices

Senior citizens especially, need to drink plenty of water to avoid the risk of dehydration. At Christmas, everyone tends to indulge when it comes to food. If you are serving a big dinner, consider making a light breakfast/lunch as you don’t want the elderly person to be sick. Drinking alcohol with certain types of medication can have side effects, make sure to be wary of this.

Finance

Buying Christmas presents can be a struggle for elderly people as they have a fixed income. Suggest a Family Kris Kringle so that they are not stressed about money and having to buy presents for everyone.

Christmas Cards

Sending Christmas cards can be a difficult task for elderly people as they might not remember addresses, they might have arthritis and can’t hold a pen or their sight might be poorly. Offer to write and send Christmas cards for an older person this Christmas.

Decor 

Be careful with outside lights and interior decorations. Keep in mind any obstacles which may cause an injury to an elderly person in your home.

Falls

Icy conditions can result in elderly people having falls which can have serious physical impact and health implications. Make sure to salt their drive or pour hot water on their footpath or steps.

Plan Activities

As a person ages, energy and mobility decreases. A full day out walking around streets and shopping centres is not realistic. Try some online shopping, watch Christmas cookery shows and attempt to make the meals, watch old Christmas movies or organise a Christmas tea party for them. If they wish to go around the shops, make sure a wheelchair is accessible.

Keep Active

Exercise is important all year round and Christmas shouldn’t be any different. Bring an elderly person to an outdoor market, walk around a shopping centre to do some window shopping, go for a walk in the park. This is not only good for their physical health but also for their mental and social well-being.

Avoid Cold and Flu

See here previous blog about avoiding colds and flu this winter: https://myhomecareie.wpengine.com/health-nutrition-advice/avoid-colds-and-flu/ 

If you would like to get involved in a charitable organisation for elderly people and offer your time and friendship, why not try Friends of the Elderly Ireland. Our previous trip with members of Friends of the Elderly: https://myhomecareie.wpengine.com/advice-for-older-people/myhomecare-proudly-sponsoring-friends-of-the-elderly/

Avoid Colds and Flu This Winter

Follow our tips and Avoid Colds and Flu This Winter 

Exercising to avoid colds and flu

Avoid Colds and Flu

It is not always possible to Avoid Colds and Flu but there are ways of reducing your risk of becoming infected this winter. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps to build a strong immune system which can prevent catching viral infections. Follow these tips to avoid the dreaded winter bug.

From the inside…. 

Nutrition

A healthy diet is essential for well being and fighting off infection. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and fibre. Cold weather and dark evenings can leave us craving comfort foods. Try making dishes like warms salads and stews.

Hydration

Stay hydrated to help flush toxins from the body and also strengthens the immune system.

Multivitamins 

Colds and Flu are most common in winter and spring as we naturally lack vitamins during these seasons. Because of our northern latitude there is not enough sunlight between November and March to produce the recommended amount of Vitamin D in Ireland, leaving our vitamin D levels at their lowest. Avoid Colds and Flu This Winter and get your daily intake of Vitamin D through foods such as oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals or Vitamin D supplements. For more on Vitamin D, read our blog: https://myhomecareie.wpengine.com/health-nutrition-advice/new-study-shows-vitamin-d-aids-prevention-cold-flu/ 

Immune-Boosting Foods 

 

Avoid Colds and Flu with a strong immune system

Look after your physical and mental health… 

Sleep

Sleep aids in the repairing and strengthening of the immune system. Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling tired and unwell, weakening the immune system and leaving the body vulnerable to attack.

Regular exercise

Dark evenings and cold damp weather can make it more difficult to go outside and exercise. Try doing some exercises at home or join a gym. Research shows that people who exercise regularly are less likely to catch colds and flu. Exercise increases blood-flow and circulation, boosting the immune system. It also helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs.

Stress 

You are more at risk of catching colds and flu if you are stressed as stress weakens the immune system. Take steps to reduce your stress and do what makes you feel calm – practice mindfulness, take deep breaths, socialise or go for a walk outside.

 

Coping with cold & flu symptoms 

Avoid Colds and Flu with honey and lemon

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and keep temperature down. Drinking Warm liquids help to loosen secretion, reducing further complications like bronchitis etc.
  • Take anti-microbial foods which help to fight infection naturally such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, honey and more.
  • Hygiene – Germs can enter the body by through the eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands regularly and use disposable tissues to prevent the spread of bacteria and virus.

For more information on the flu visit: https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/F/Flu-influenza-%2C-seasonal/Symptoms-of-seasonal-flu.html