If you weren’t at Godalming Baptist Church last Saturday you missed a great conference. It began with local GP Dr Martin Brunet giving the basic facts about dementia and what you can expect from your doctor – this seminar got a 100% rating! Though each speaker seemed to hit the spot as far as listeners were concerned, and participants were good natured and interactive. We were especially encouraged by the lady who’d had to get up at 4.00 am in order to get there! As she was leaving she told us she’d heard exactly what she needed to know and was thanking God for the day.
Although we usually answer all questions during the Q&A at the end we didn’t manage it this time – so I said I’d put the answers to those we didn’t get to here!
Q – What was the text of the verse that Janet quoted about loving and caring for those who are caring for others with dementia? A: It was from Galatians 6:2: ’ Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.’
Q – Have you any suggestions for a team setting up an ‘independent’ dementia café; and for activities to do? A: There’s too much to write in this blog, Sue, but if you email me I’ll put you in touch with one of my colleagues who has helped set up a dementia café in her local area, and knows what works and what doesn’t!
Q – Are there any PFS care homes planned for the Southampton area? A: Not at the moment, but we do have a lovely home within driving distance: Brighton is an hour and a half away and people have located from London and other places to live there.
Q – Is the monthly cost comparable to others’ care homes, or is it more expensive because of better trained staff, etc.? A: As I understand it, our costs are comparable with others in the same region(s), though I have heard of some providers’ fees that make my eyes water. We owe a lot to our supporters – without their donations we would not be able to do what we do!
Q – Have you any views/experience of SPECAL care? A: A couple of years ago three of us went for training at the Contented Dementia headquarters with Penny Garner, the originator of the SPECAL . Penny Garner is the mother in law of Oliver James, the clinical psychologist who wrote (among other things) the book Contented dementia. I was so impressed that I wrote about it in my book, ‘Dementia: Frank and Linda’s story.’ SPECAL is intensely person-centred. It emphasizes the importance of knowing the person and his/her values and of answering the emotion beneath the words. The Royal College of Nurses trialed it at one time and said they found dementia patients needed fewer drugs and were less anxious and more contented. Families tell us that it helped them hugely in caring for a loved one with dementia. We recommend the book. But Dr Jennifer Bute, diagnosed with dementia herself, says that the best one is FRANK AND LINDA’S STORY, because it incorporates, among many other pieces of research and information, the main points of SPECAL.
Q – Can one delay the effects of dementia by doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku and such? Specialist opinions seem to be divided, but there’s a growing body of ‘believers’ and some evidence that exercising the brain is good. Whether or not it delays the onset of dementia is another matter. But experts recommend building ‘cognitive reserve’. The best advice centres around physical exercise. A 25 year study in Caerphilly found that a healthy life style, coupled with regular exercise, delayed the onset of dementia by 12 years. Many experts say the same.