Alzheimer’s Society launches new Dementia Café

Posted under Blog on June 5th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A new and innovative project called the Dementia Café has been launched by the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society.

Opening later this month, the Dementia Café will provide an opportunity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, and their carers, to get out of the house and socialise. The hope is that it will give carers some relief from their full-time roles.

Visitors to these cafés will be able to share their accounts of living with Alzheimer’s, while experienced carers will be able to offer advice to those who are new to this role. The café will also host a variety of specialist speakers, including health and social care professionals and representatives from the local community, talking about their areas of expertise.

Marion Howell, services manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in west Essex, said: "The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Cafés can really help improve people’s quality of life. They give people with dementia and their carers the opportunity to socialise with others in similar situations and receive vital support. They are also a great source of information and guidance which can help people to live well with the condition.”

As well as the Dementia Café, the Alzheimer’s Society runs a number of services, including a post- diagnosis support service, a dementia support service and an initiative called Singing for the Brain. The organisation also run specialist support services, including reminiscence groups, a weekly gardening group, the Young at Heart group and education for carer classes.

This local solution to a nationwide problem demonstrates how communities can take action against Alzheimer’s disease. They provide meaningful support to people with the condition and those caring for them.

Tags: Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's society, dementia, Dementia cafe

Celebrity chef supports dementia friendly community

Posted under Blog on February 27th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

This week, television chef and TV personality Paul Rankin pledged support to the dementia friendly communities programme in Northern Ireland. Best known for Ready Steady Cook, Rankin has been involved in many celebrity cooking programmes including Great British Menu and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported and made feel confident they can contribute to community life.

A report by the Alzheimer’s Society found that 180,000 people in the UK with dementia feel trapped in their homes. This can lead to isolation from community life, and a feeling of loneliness that can lead to depression and worsening symptoms of dementia. According to the report, nearly half of people with dementia feel they are a burden and so avoid getting involved with local life.

Paul Rankin has been personally affected by dementia. His grandfather died from dementia nearly 30 years ago, and his father Hugh Rankin was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2000. He said: “Creating dementia-friendly communities is important for supporting people with dementia and their families because it can really make a positive difference to their lives.”

The move towards dementia friendly communities is something the Alzheimer’s Society has been working towards in a bid to challenge stigma surrounding dementia and increase awareness of how best to communicate and support people with the disease. Heather Lundy, Dementia Friendly Communities Manager Said: “Dementia can happen to anyone and there is currently no cure, but with the right support, people can and do live well with dementia.”

The views and opinions of people with dementia are at the heart of any considerations when building dementia-friendly communities. It is hoped that the programme will remove the barriers that people face in their community, and allow them to become actively engaged with people around them.

Tags: Alzheimer's society, Paul Rankin

Study suggests potential benefits of vitamin E for people with Alzheimer’s

Posted under Blog on January 3rd, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

Vitamin E may help people with dementia carry out everyday tasks for longer, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal JAMA, found that in patients with mild to moderate forms of the disorder, a daily dose of 2,000 UIs of vitamin E slowed the functional decline of Alzheimer’s.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Minneapolis VA Health Care System who split a group of 613 Alzheimer’s patients at 14 Veterans Affairs medical centers into four groups. The participants received either a daily dose of vitamin E, a dementia drug treatment called memantine, a vitamin E-memantine combination or a placebo. 

Over the follow-up time of 2.3 years, the researchers found that those who received vitamin E showed a slower decline in their ability to perform daily activities such as planning, shopping and cooking, than those who received the placebo. They also needed less help from caregivers per day, the researchers said.

While the findings are promising, the study did not show any benefit in reducing cognitive decline or memory loss.  

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development, Alzheimer’s Society, said: “While this study into the link between vitamin E intake and reduction in functional decline is of interest, it is by no means conclusive. More research is needed to see if vitamin E really does have benefits for people with dementia, and whether it would be safe to be taking such a high dose on a daily basis”. 

Tags: Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's society, JAMA, Veterans Affairs medical centers, Vitamin E

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