Tag: Dementia

#NationalPoetryDay

#NationalPoetryDay

This year National Poetry Day falls on Thursday 28th September 2017 and the theme is ‘Freedom’. It was founded in 1994 by charity Forward Arts Foundation, who like to celebrate the importance and excellence of things poetry.

National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that is set to inspire as many people in the UK as possible and grow their audience. The day is supported by organisations such as the BBC, the Royal Mail and leading publishers, booksellers, libraries and schools.

You can get involved by visiting their website https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/about-npd/ or by joining in the campaign on social media using the hashtag #NationalPoetryDay to share how you will be celebrating the day. Don’t forget to tag us @PeninsulaCare1 (Twitter) or @PeninsulaCareHome (Facebook) as we would love to share your love of poetry.

We would love to take this opportunity to share with you some of our budding writers, The Parkland Poets, who have produced three truly inspirational poems based on their experience and training with Dementia. You can find their videos on our Peninsula Care Home You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCakJ-IEXqQ2yAF1lrT5GU2Q

Happy National Poetry Day for tomorrow!

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What music would be on your favourite playlist?

What music would be on your favourite playlist?

Have you ever had the experience of hearing a piece of music on the radio and been transported back to a time, place or event in our lives?  Perhaps it was your first dance at your wedding, a concert you attended or a track from your favourite musical.  Music is so powerful for so many of us and more and more research is highlighting the additional benefit for those living with a dementia.

The power of music, seems to reach parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot. Some studies are showing that finding the right music for an individual may result in less anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medication. Individually chosen music can aid therapeutic benefits of other music provided by our homes.

Our appeal is that families help create a personalised playlist for their relative in our care.  You may not know all their favourite music but you probably know more than you think.  I can think back to my grandmother’s house and I probably would have found a number of clues to help me select music: sheet music, programmes from musicals, memory of her singing as she baked cakes, and the theme tune to her favourite TV programme to name a few.

We would love for our residents to have a playlist of music that means the most to them.  It could be on an iPod, tablet or other device and staff would gladly play the music and hear the stories it uncovers. The music might soothe, calm, comfort, or even provide an opportunity to get up and dance.

Alzheimer’s Society Blog: Gina Awad Dementia Friendly Awards 2017: Last year’s winner, one year on

Alzheimer’s Society Blog: Gina Awad Dementia Friendly Awards 2017: Last year’s winner, one year on

Last year saw founder of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, Gina Awad, win her award for Dementia Friends Champion of the Year 2016.  Several of our homes are members of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance and we work closely with Gina to help raise awareness of building a more dementia friendly community in Exeter. The Alzheimer’s Society reflect on last years winners as 2017 nomination open.

With nominations for 2017’s Dementia Friendly Awards now open, one of last year’s winners Gina Awad explains how work continues in her local community.

Since winning the award for Dementia Friends Champion of the Year in 2016, I have continued to raise awareness across Exeter.

In this busy, vibrant city a transformation in the perception of dementia is beginning to take shape. It’s inspiring to see this vision of a dementia friendly community embraced with open arms, but there is still much more to do. As we know change is tough, but being open to change is a key starting point.

Building the movement

I am certainly not superwoman and at times I’ve genuinely struggled juggling work, being a mum, following my passion in dementia and working towards the completion of my BSc in Health & Social Care through the Open University.

But I’m proud to continue delivering regular Dementia Friends sessions, which have now reached more than 1,300 people. These sessions have ranged in diversity from GP practices to supermarkets, coffee shops and yoga festivals. I even led a session in Beijing airport when I trekked the Great Wall of China for dementia research!

I also continue to present my quarterly community radio show on Phonic FM, ‘Living better with dementia’. The show gives a platform for people living with dementia to share personal stories and experiences, as well as giving innovators the space to share new and existing initiatives.

Empowering the community

What I’ve discovered more recently is the power of collaboration and partnership and how it moves mountains. We have a lot to learn from eachother, and by sharing fresh perspectives and ideas we can achieve so much more.

I have delivered more than 90 individual Dementia Friends sessions to date. What’s even more important, though, is developing a collaborative approach with local businesses and organisations to further the reach of this evolving community work.

The Dementia Friends social action movement has been pivotal in bringing local organisations into the fold. To date the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance has received commitment from 58 organisations – a tremendous achievement that I feel very proud to have played a part in.

Learning never stops

Even at this stage in my journey, there is always more to learn. So it has been heartening to receive support from the community as I chose to further my education in dementia following my degree.

With trepidation, I took the plunge to crowdfund an online Post Graduate Certificate in Dementia Studies with Stirling University. Last week I achieved my funding target thanks to the generosity of those who have supported my voluntary work. What can I say… I don’t have words!

I am not unique as a Dementia Friends Champion. There are so many fantastic individuals across the country making tremendous differences daily and I salute you all.

For anyone who wants to join the movement, all I’d say is that Dementia Friends has changed my life. Being honoured for my work is a welcome bonus and for that I am truly thankful.

Blog posted here: https://blog.alzheimers.org.uk/inside-the-society/dementia-friendly-awards-winner/

Memory Walk 2017 Exeter

Memory Walk 2017 Exeter

On Sunday 3rd September some Peninsula Care Homes staff joined hundreds of people walking for the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

Starting in Exwick playing fields near the canal we walked just under 5 miles taking in some of the canal views and wildlife. It was an extremely damp day with pouring rain but didn’t prevent us and many others walking for Alzheimer’s Society.

Should you wish to donate please visit our fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/MW41275x

Our next walk/run is supporting the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance. The Muddiford’s Cheese Run is on October 8th and includes a 5 mile scenic run/walk from Burlescombe Village along The Grand Western Canal finishing at Muddiford’s Court Country House. After the finishing line we can enjoy the fun day.

muddifords-cheese-run-2017

Virtual Dementia Tour 2017

Virtual Dementia Tour 2017

PCH staff recently took part in the Virtual Dementia Tour training and our Parkland House poets have produced another touching poem to share their experience of the tour.

Walking the Dementia path.

parkland-poem-vdt

You are you and I am I,

Today we walked in your dementia shoes,

The experience made us sad,

The emotions you feel every day,

We have never been able to fully understand,

As we entered the room, time stood still,

This is how you must feel,

The darkness overcame us all,

It was hard not to fall,

Our senses had disappeared,

Then the unknown had appeared.

We had no feeling in our hands and feet,

Our eyes were covered with what seemed like a black sheet,

You live each day like this,

Staring sadly into the abyss.

During the tour we took comfort in knowing we can return,

But this saddens us you can’t, but we’ll help you and learn,

We felt the daily obstacles that get in your path,

We will take these away with a smile with all the staff,

The voices that you hear are loud and unclear,

We can now understand to try and ease that fear,

The sounds you hear must make you disorientated,

But we can promise- our reassurances won’t be belated,

Now we can walk beside you, we’ve been in your shoes,

We will live in the moment with you, we have nothing to lose,

We’ll make the moments as special as you are,

Even if they are few and far.

Now we’ve walked the dementia tour,

We can help to comfort you more,

The darkness that surrounds you,

We felt that too,

We’ll help to bring the light,

We will make it shine, make it bright.

By Lyn, Bekki, Rhianne

Parkland House Poets present ‘This is your home’

Parkland House Poets present ‘This is your home’

Following the success of their Christmas and Easter message, the Parkland House poets have surprised us again with another touching poem reflecting the removal of wearing a uniform in the care home.

This is your home, and we’d like to welcome you,

We’ll open our arms and guide you,

Now this is your home, we’ll help you to embrace,

We’ll ensure you have your own space.

 

We are all here together to share the day,

We will help the bad days fade away,

Nothing is more important than wearing a smile,

To provide that extra mile.

 

Uniforms we used were once adorned,

Now we have been reformed.

No longer do we wear the barrier that separates us,

Wearing our smiles and our individuality is a must.

 

Now the uniforms have gone,

As carers we feel re-born,

We can unite as one,

As the uniforms are done.

 

Uniforms say to dementia you are ill and different from me,

Now our own clothing says we are a part of your family,

Everyone likes our bright colours we wear,

It makes them smile, comment and stare.

 

The uniforms gave a clinical air,

Now our clothing says we are fair,

We still approach with respect and care,

We are a part of the family that’s always there.

By Rhianne, Bekki, Lyn, Ann

Quote – “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”

Nelson Mandela.

Easter at Peninsula Care Homes

Easter at Peninsula Care Homes

Peninsula Care Homes would like to wish everyone a lovely Easter and invites you to join in our Easter celebrations in our Devon care homes. Our budding Parkland Poets have surprised us with another touching poem to reflect Easter time at Peninsula Care Homes.

parkland-house-vegetable-allotments

Easter at Peninsula is a special time,

To over indulge in chocolate and wine,

We’ll sing and dance along to the Easter parade,

While drinking a sherry and lemonade.

 

We will help residents to make an Easter bonnet,

And they will choose what they want upon it.

They may choose a rose or a love bird two,

With a wide floppy brim to keep off the dew.

 

Everyone loves visits from family and friends,

But Easter time is not where it ends,

We will all celebrate with yummy food,

simnel cake, hot cross buns and chocolate too.

 

We will still remember why Easter is here,

And let residents know to us they are very dear,

We’ll celebrate the re birth of Christ,

And we will make the day for everyone ever so nice.

by our lovely Parkland Poets

Guest Blog: #NationalGardeningWeek

Guest Blog: #NationalGardeningWeek

It is National Gardening Week from 10th-16th April and our care home gardens are starting to spring into action. Parkland House gardener Nik, shares her guest blog with us.

Hello there, I am Nik from Trusty Tools and I take care of the garden at Parkland House.

As the garden awakens in April there are some sunny days perfect for sitting in the garden, hearing the birds and bees calling in the Spring.

The Daffodils, Narcissus and Crocuses planted last Autumn are already in out in all their glory, and the tulips are following closely behind. The Hyacinths planted by the residents look splendid, they were potted up for some to be taken indoors so that all the residents could experience them.

It is time to be vigilant against weeds as the longer days trigger faster growth and to keep watch for the warning silvery trails of slugs and snails that love the Hosta shoots starting to appear now.

When selecting what plants to grow, we try to pick ones that satisfy as many of the senses as possible: bright colours, strong scents and tactile plants like Amaranths.

We are now planting bulbs for Summer: vibrant Sparaxis, Lilies and Gladioli. The Sweet Peas planted last Autumn have been hardened off and moved out to the raised beds. We all look forward to the smell of the Sweet Peas. This year’s one is called “Dusty Springfield” and we chose it for its fast growth, bright pink colour and heavy scent.

The residents enjoy getting involved with the new raised beds, they were designed for easy access so no needing to bend down to plant a seed or to get at the dandelion you want to pull out! In one of the beds we have planted a few vegetables, these go into the kitchen for soups and salads, so the fruits of labour can be savoured by all.

parkland-gardening

Please let your care home manager or activities co-ordinator know if you would like to help out or join in the residents gardening activities, we would like to hear from you.

Guest Blog: Founder of EDAA, Gina Awad, shares the importance of Reflexology in care homes.

Guest Blog: Founder of EDAA, Gina Awad, shares the importance of Reflexology in care homes.

When asked the question “What do you do ?” I often hesitate as I wear many hats, but today I’d like to share the part of my life that embraces reflexology and the power of gentle touch for those living with dementia.

“Reflexology is a holistic complementary therapy based on the principle that there are areas and points on the feet and hands that map via the nervous system to corresponding parts of the body. When pressure is applied to these areas and points it stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels, and helps to restore homeostasis (balance) in the whole body (Association of Reflexologists)”.

I offer treatments in Care Homes which, I feel privileged to attend, and it enables me to connect with people on a one to one basis in their space. What is really special is being able to ‘be with’ the person where they are in those moments. They may sit in silence and enjoy relaxing, they may reminisce about times gone by or there may be moments of intense felt emotion, which can offer catharsis.

I regularly meet families who feel a sense of guilt having promised their loved ones they would spend their twilight years living in their own home. Sadly for reasons beyond their control this is often not the case.

A recent experience taught me the value of a quality connection. I was invited to visit a resident named Ted who has been living with Vascular dementia since 2013. I had never met Ted before and he had agreed to a reflexology treatment. I was primed and aware this could feel unexpected on the day as his memory was fading. When I arrived he was having his lunch and suggested I join him with a coffee. I sat down and as he enjoyed the remainder of his lunch he chatted away to me as if we had known each other for years. Other than a few details I knew very little about Ted’s life and yet he appeared totally at one in my presence.

Within in half an hour, having achieved a real sense of connection we strolled to his room. He settled into his comfy chair and I was able to soak his feet, gently massaging them using reflexology techniques. This exchange was not about the depth of the treatment but the essence of our connection.

What took priority was the desire for this wonderful man to sit comfortably in his chair. As he began to share stories of his younger days, his eyes sparkled with sheer contentment, which illuminated his room. There were confusing times for Ted accompanied by moments of pure clarity. What he longed for was for me to listen with intent allowing him to express exactly what he treasured.

Amidst his reflections his eyes closed gently and tears began to slowly roll down his cheeks accompanied by a soft, sweet smile. I felt humbled, beyond belief, to witness those moments where a human being appeared to experience such a profound sense of inner peace. As he opened his eyes he quietly looked up at me with his soft smile and said “thank you, thank you so much for listening to me and being so kind, I love going back”.

As a result of my first visit I have since been invited twice more, each time an absolute delight. I look forward to more visits over the coming months.

I cannot emphasise enough how essential it is to be adaptable when ‘being with’ people living with dementia and meet them where they are, this example is not to be underestimated.

Considering Reflexology for people with dementia..

There are a number of stages of dementia and some clients may be uncommunicative whilst others will be articulate, lively, receptive and conscious that their cognitive faculties are beginning to decline. Dementia can take many forms but all have the potential to respond pleasingly to therapeutic touch.

The following areas and systems will be considered when providing reflexology.

Working the big toes/fingers to stimulate head/brain;
Working the digestive system;
Working the respiratory system;
Techniques and reflex points to reduce anxiety.

I trained as a Counsellor 15 years ago but have always felt empathy and listening inherent to me, both the spoken and unspoken word. Coupled with my reflexology skills and passion for dementia I feel I have much to offer as a therapist.

gina-awad-reflexology

To contact me if you’d be interested in a visit to your family member in the Exeter area email me at: ginasfreespirit@yahoo.co.uk

Gina Awad founded and leads the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance and is aspiring to raise
awareness across Exeter valuing the need for a Dementia Friendly Community that understands and respects people living with dementia and their families. She has recently been honoured at the Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Friendly Awards with the accolade of Dementia Champion of the Year 2016
http://www.theexeterdaily.co.uk/news/business-daily-local-news/exeters-gina-awad-recognisednational-dementia-friendly-awards-2016