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  • Weight changes in older people raise dementia risk, say researchers

    Weight changes in older people raise dementia risk, say researchers

    01.06.19 A significant association has been found between weight changes in older people and dementia risk. Researchers in South Korea discovered that notable weight loss or weight gain - defined as a 10% or higher increase or decrease in body mass index (BMI) - in the 60-79 years old age group heightened risk as compared with people in the same age group with stable BMI. There were 67,219 study participants, who underwent BMI measurement in 2002-2003 and then again in 2004-2005, followed by monitoring of their incidence of dementia for an average of 5.3 years between 2008 and 2013. Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said the study had also confirmed that heart disease and diabetes are risk factors for dementia. “Although this research suggests rapid changes to our weight later in life could increase dementia risk, it’s difficult to distinguish between cause and effect,” he commented.

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  • Wellbeing of people with dementia adversely affected by carer stress

    Wellbeing of people with dementia adversely affected by carer stress

    31.05.19 The wellbeing of people with dementia and their ability to live well with the condition can be adversely affected if their family carers are stressed, research led by Bradford University has found. Data from 1,283 people with dementia and their carers showed that if carers feel highly stressed and lack confidence in their ability to provide care, those they care for rate their quality of life, wellbeing and satisfaction with life less positively. The research, led by Dr Catherine Quinn, was carried out as part of the Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) programme. Professor Linda Clare, who leads the IDEAL programme, said the study emphasised the central role of family carers. "Family carers in the UK provide 1.34 billion hours of unpaid care for people with dementia each year, yet practical support for care at home is often limited or lacking,” said Prof Clare.

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  • Pioneering council gives staff time for dementia course

    Pioneering council gives staff time for dementia course

    30.05.19 A pioneering council has given staff time out to attend a carers’ course designed to improve communications with their loved ones with dementia. Manchester City Council is the first in the Greater Manchester area to launch such an initiative. It set up a four-week training course with the dementia communications provider Empowered Conversations and it was attended by eight employees from different council departments. Timed to coincide with Dementia Action Week last week, the course won positive reviews from staff taking it. The Empowered Conversations course is run by social enterprise Six Degrees and is free to carers with the emphasis on staying connected with the person with dementia, handling stress and navigating the day together.

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  • Crowdsourcing initiative results in awards for cutting edge ideas

    Crowdsourcing initiative results in awards for cutting edge ideas

    29.05.19 Two innovative ideas emerging from an Alzheimer’s Society “crowdsourcing” initiative won awards at the charity’s annual conference this week. The How Do I? smartphone app uses video to help people stay independent for as long as possible, while “Jelly Drops” can be given to counter dehydration. As part of its award, How Do I? was given funding by Alzheimer’s Society to bring the product to market. It works by flashing up “how to” videos when the person’s smartphone scans particular objects, providing prompts for daily routines like making a cup of coffee or taking a bath. Apart from practicalities, the app also serves as a reminiscence tool as family and friends can record messages to go with photos capturing particular memories. Jelly Drops, sweets containing 90% water, also won financial backing from the charity.

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  • 'Honest conversation' needed, says minister as crisis deepens

    'Honest conversation' needed, says minister as crisis deepens

    28.05.19 A senior Conservative council leader has said hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people could be left without the care they need unless the social care funding crisis is fixed. Somerset council leader David Fothergill told the Guardian that big cuts were having to be made to avoid bankruptcy. “There is a national crisis and we need to sort it out because it is only going to get worse,” Fothergill was quoted as saying. Speaking at the Alzheimer’s Society annual conference in London, care minister Caroline Dinenage said getting agreement on a long-term funding solution for social care depended on having “an honest conversation about how we want to tackle this and how we move forward.” Asked about what will replace the government’s current dementia strategy, the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, she said that a credible strategy would add technology to the list of priorities.

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  • Dining4Dementia curtain-raiser for Channel 4 restaurant series

    Dining4Dementia curtain-raiser for Channel 4 restaurant series

    28.05.19 A new campaign called Dining4Dementia was launched recently in restaurant chains across England and Wales as a prelude to Dementia Action Week (May 20-26). People with dementia “buddied up” with restaurant staff to demonstrate that they can still learn new skills in a fast-paced catering environment. Dining4Dementia leads the way to a new Channel 4 TV series next month, “The Restaurant that Makes Mistakes” which is supported by Alzheimer’s Society. In the programmes to be aired next month, 14 volunteers with dementia will staff a Bristol restaurant under the tutelage of top chef Josh Eggleton. During the Dining4Dementia campaign launch on May 18/19, people with dementia became waiters for the weekend at Eggleton’s Michelin-starred restaurant Pony and Trap, as well as at the Boston Tea Party, Comptoir Libanais, TGI Fridays and Pieminister restaurant chains.

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  • E-Newsletter - 24 May 2019

    E-Newsletter - 24 May 2019

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include Dining4Dementia, carer stress and crowdsourcing initiatives. It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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  • Apply for travel grant to look at the world's best dementia care projects

    Apply for travel grant to look at the world's best dementia care projects

    25.05.19 Research grants to travel to another country looking at excellent ideas in health care were launched this week by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT). The new round of travel fellowships, which have supported dementia care professionals in the past, will fund beneficiaries to explore new thinking in the areas of public and community health, clinical practice, technology and innovation and teaching and training. Applications for the 150 Churchill Fellowships are open now and close on 17 September. Julia Weston, WCMT chief executive, said that an ageing population was just one of many challenges faced by the health service. “We are funding Churchill Fellowships to find inspiration from the world’s best projects and practice for this crucial area of need,” she added. More details at

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  • Low or no evidence for dementia risk reduction measures, says WHO

    Low or no evidence for dementia risk reduction measures, says WHO

    23.05.19 The World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced guidelines on reducing the risk of dementia including an assessment of the quality of evidence for many well-known recommendations. While strongly recommending physical activity and tobacco cessation as risk reduction measures, for example, it describes the quality of evidence for the former as “moderate” and for the latter “low”. It conditionally recommends cognitive training while describing the quality of evidence as “very low to low” and adds that “there is insufficient evidence for social activity and reduction of risk of cognitive decline/dementia”. In a statement on the WHO report, Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) said it identified “several risk factors that require further research to strengthen the evidence base.” HERE for “Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia: WHO Guidelines”

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  • Still no sign of end to social care crisis as PM agrees departure plan

    Still no sign of end to social care crisis as PM agrees departure plan

    22.05.19 Hopes receded further this week that the social care Green Paper would be published imminently as PM Theresa May refused to give any indication of a release date. Asked in the House of Commons for a “definitive and unalterable date” May would only reply that it would be published “at the earliest opportunity”. It came shortly before she was forced by her party to set out a timetable for her departure during the summer, apparently pushing social care even further down the priority list. In the House of Lords last week, health minister Baroness Blackwood insisted that the Green Paper remained a priority for the government: “Despite the delay in publication, the government are committed to improving adult social care,” she said. Replying for Labour, Baroness Wheeler reminded the Lords that the Green Paper was first promised in 2017, when the government said “we cannot wait any longer – we need to get on with this” and pledged to publish it by the end of that year.

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