Guardian Dementia

This page shows the latest items from the Guardian Dementia newsfeed.

Some antidepressants linked to dementia risk

Scientists say doctors should consider weaning patients with depression, Parkinsons or bladder problems off anticholinergic drugs

Some antidepressants and bladder medicines could be linked to dementia, according to a team of scientists who are calling for doctors to think about “de-prescribing” them where possible.

Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, which are also prescribed for pain and to help with sleeping, and one of the SSRI class, paroxetine (also known as Seroxat), are implicated by the largest ever study to look at this possible risk.

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25 April 2018, 10:30 pm

Dementia patients restrained with controversial techniques – report

Methods such as raising bed bars and putting walking aids out of reach leave elderly people stressed, says government-funded research

Hospital staff are sometimes confining patients with dementia to bed through controversial “containment and restraint” techniques, new government-funded research reveals.

The findings, paid for by the National Institute for Health Research, reveal that nurses and healthcare assistants are raising the siderails of beds and tucking bedsheets tightly around patients with dementia, reducing their mobility. Others are prevented from getting up by their walking frames being put out of reach or by being sedated with drugs. The techniques are used, say the researchers, because of an exaggerated fear that patients will fall if left to move around wards freely. The study says the tactics lead to the “dehumanisation” of patients, leaving them angry and highly stressed and worsening their already poor health.

Related: Shops, cafes and round-the-clock care: life in a ‘dementia village’

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, health spending increased by an average of 1.2% above inflation and increases are due to continue in real terms at a similar rate until the end of this parliament. This is far below the annual inflation-proof growth rate that the NHS enjoyed before 2010 of almost 4% stretching back to the 1950s. As budgets tighten, NHS organisations have been struggling to live within their means. In the financial year 2015-16, acute trusts recorded a deficit of £2.6bn. This was reduced to £800m last year, though only after a £1.8bn bung from the Department of Health, which shows the deficit remained the same year on year.

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21 April 2018, 11:55 am

Care Home Open Day is a chance to showcase the best of care work

Homes around the country will open up their doors this weekend – giving the public a chance to learn about the sector and its workforce

Care Home Open Day is an opportunity for older people and their families to get to know the homes in their area, but it’s also so much more. On a deeper level, throwing open the doors of care homes across the UK – though they are actually open year-round – invites the public to gain a better understanding of older people and get a real sense of the social care sector and its workforce. Educating people on both these elements and correcting misconceptions is, I believe, extremely important.

By 2030, one in five Britons will be over the age of 65 and an estimated 1.1 million people will be living with dementia. It is crucial that perceptions of older people change, because too often they are being written off.

Related: Care Home Open Day: celebrating an undervalued sector – in pictures

Related: This national care home open day, we need to improve perceptions of residential care

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20 April 2018, 11:39 am

Thousands of patients to get personalised NHS budgets

Around 350,000 people could soon qualify for right to select and pay for treatments through bespoke care plan

Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions and physical disabilities could be given the option of a personalised NHS budget for their own care needs under government proposals.

People with learning difficulties and dementia are among around 350,000 who could have the right to select and pay for treatments that improve their health and wellbeing through a bespoke care plan agreed with medical professionals. For children and people unable to manage the money, parents or carers will be able to manage the budget.

Related: Why are personal budgets not used more in mental health?

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15 April 2018, 11:18 pm

Hobart's 'museum of sex and death' to help design Australia's first dementia village

Tasmania’s experimental Mona gallery is collaborating on the design of Korongee: a care village with dementia-friendly homes and businesses

David Walsh, founder of the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), has rejected praise for giving back to his Tasmanian hometown by choosing to set up Australia’s most experimental and popular gallery there. “People keep saying, ‘It’s so great that you did this in the place where you were born’,” he said in 2016. “But I couldn’t give a fuck about where I was born.”

That assertion seems ever more unlikely given the latest surprising move by the so-called “museum of sex and death”: Mona is in talks with Glenview, a provider of aged care homes and services.

Guardian Cities is dedicating a week to exploring the opportunities and challenges of Australia’s rapidly growing cities. The nation of nearly 25 million has one of the fastest-rising populations of all OECD countries, overwhelmingly focused on its biggest cities: Sydney and Melbourne. But with car dependence, urban sprawl and unaffordable housing threatening their famed “liveability”, are they ready for the challenge? Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Brisbane face similar issues, while nationwide, poor indigenous consultation is a growing urban issue. Australian Cities Week, a collaboration with Guardian Australia, seeks to reveal and celebrate the culture, architecture, wildlife and character that bolster these cities’ reputations as unique and desirable places to live.

I realised we needed to go from being a generalist provider to looking at a more niche service that specialised in dementia support

We need more planning like Korongee for a state ageing more rapidly than the rest of the country

Related: Too many cars, too few supermarkets: how Australia’s cities really stack up

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12 April 2018, 7:00 am

Rementia: is it possible to reverse the symptoms of early-stage dementia?

From recalling names to relearning how to make tea, occupational therapists can help people with dementia regain functions

As we get better at living longer, the number of people living with dementia rises. Globally, an estimated 46.8 million people live with the condition.

Related: ‘The spark will ignite’: how poetry helps engage people with dementia

Related: Dementia research must study care as well as cure

Related: Could the Montessori method help people with dementia?

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11 April 2018, 9:05 am

Mum has dementia and now Dad’s dead she will have to sell her home. Why? | Anne Penketh

Britain operates a cruel health lottery that discriminates against dementia patients. Struggling families need social care

When my father died suddenly in January at the age of 91, family and friends gave him a great send-off. We had a private cremation, an uplifting memorial service at church, and rounded off the day with a buffet at the golf club. The next day, Mum couldn’t remember anything about it. She kept asking whether Dad had died, how he had died, and obsessed about having to organise the funeral.

About 10 years ago Mum was diagnosed with dementia, the creeping and cruel illness that has stolen her short-term memory although not – yet – her vibrant personality. Thanks to round-the-clock care by my father, her memory problems worsened only gradually until his death. But in grief, her confusion has deepened significantly.

Related: Shops, cafes and round-the-clock care: life in a ‘dementia village’

Related: ‘The spark will ignite’: how poetry helps engage people with dementia

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9 April 2018, 9:00 am

The ban on assisted death ignores the reality of illnesses like dementia | Polly Toynbee

Guernsey’s bill to allow terminally ill people the right to medical help to die shows Westminster the way

Guernsey is an unlikely pioneer, but it might be the first place to break Britain’s last great taboo – the right to die peacefully at a time of your own choosing. The island’s parliament votes in May on an assisted dying bill, allowing terminally ill people the right to medical help to die, so long as they have only six months to live and are mentally competent. This may succeed, with the support of the island’s chief minister, Gavin St Pier.

Related: Guernsey could be first place in British Isles to allow assisted dying

Hard truths will not be faced. How do we pay for the massive increase in care for those with dementia?

Related: A woman’s final Facebook message before euthanasia: ‘I’m ready for my trip now…’

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22 March 2018, 12:06 pm

'The spark will ignite': how poetry helps engage people with dementia

Shared reading has a significant impact on mood, concentration and social interaction. A Liverpool charity is running sessions in care homes

With lifted feet, hands still / I am poised, and down the hill / Dart, with heedful mind / The air goes by in a wind

Stephanie Brada reads the Henry Charles Beeching poem Going Down Hill on a Bicycle to a group of residents at a care home. They read along with her, some mouthing the words, others silently following the print-outs on their laps.

Related: Could the Montessori method help people with dementia?

Related: ‘It touches their souls’: Opera finds new audience in care homes

It was like an electric current went around the room. One lady who’d been hunched over … lifted her head and beamed

Related: Reeling in the years: dementia-friendly screenings make cinema accessible to all

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19 March 2018, 7:45 am

Shops, cafes and round-the-clock care: life in a ‘dementia village’

Can the planned development in Kent, modelled on the Dutch example of Hogeweyk, improve its residents’ lives?

It will be a new community within a new neighbourhood. As part of the 4,000-home Mountfield Park development near Canterbury, Kent, there are plans to build a village that will have its own homes, shops and cafes. All of the residents will be people with dementia. It is being modelled on Hogeweyk, a dementia village near Amsterdam, whose inhabitants live in shared houses, have a supermarket, park cafe, cinema, village squares and gardens, as well as round-the-clock care if they need it. “What struck us was how unrecognisable the lives of those with dementia were at Hogeweyk compared with those I’ve met in England,” Simon Wright, the chief executive of developers Corinthian Land, told the Times.

“A lot of nursing homes are based on a medical approach,” says Frank van Dillen, co-founder of Dementia Village Advisors and one of the architects who designed Hogeweyk. “We try to de-institutionalise that approach because people want to live as normally as possible.” So there is care and medication, but also everyday activities: “You want to go to a restaurant, do your own grocery shopping, sit in a bar, walk outside and meet people.”

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12 March 2018, 4:27 pm

Brain prize winner calls Brexit a 'disaster' for the NHS and science

Pioneering dementia scientist Prof John Hardy to donate prize money to anti-Brexit group

A predicted exodus of European doctors, nurses and care workers following Brexit will be disastrous for Alzheimer’s patients and their families, according to a pioneering dementia scientist who was on Tuesday named as a joint recipient of the world’s most prestigious prize in neuroscience.

Speaking at a press conference in London ahead of the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Brain prize, Prof John Hardy, of University College London, described the UK leaving the EU as an “unmitigated disaster for science and an unmitigated disaster for the health service”, adding that he planned to donate some of his prize money to the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain.

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6 March 2018, 2:22 pm

Searching for an Alzheimer’s cure while my father slips away – podcast

At the beginning, we hunted frantically for any medical breakthrough that might hint at a cure. Then hope gave way to the unbearable truth

Subscribe via Audioboom, iTunes, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Acast & Sticher and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

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23 February 2018, 12:00 pm

Chronic heavy drinking leads to serious risk of dementia, study warns

Questions also raised for moderate drinkers of alcohol about their social habit

Heavy drinkers are putting themselves at risk of dementia, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted.

Research published in the Lancet Public Health journal provides powerful evidence that people who drink enough to end up in hospital are putting themselves at serious risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It will also raise questions for moderate drinkers about the possible long-term consequences of their social habit.

Related: Older people drinking too much could create NHS ‘timebomb’, says doctor

Related: Even moderate drinking can damage the brain, claim researchers

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20 February 2018, 11:30 pm

Do our memories make us who we are? – books podcast

On this week’s show, we take a look at the brain and how it relates to our sense of self. Wendy Mitchell, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at 58, talks about her memoir Somebody I Used to Know and what changes her dementia has caused in her personality, tastes and everyday life.

Neurologist Dr Jules Montague explains the science of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and talks about her new book Lost and Found, a philosophical look at the human brain and the impact conditions and chemistry can have on our sense of self.

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20 February 2018, 6:01 am

Dementia research must study care as well as cure

The need for a cure for dementia is pressing, but practical solutions to benefit those with the condition are also vital

Social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3bn by 2021 – by which time nearly a million people in the UK will be living with dementia. With no way to slow or stop the diseases that cause dementia, it is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer.

While the NHS can’t offer people with dementia the same options as for other long-term conditions – because there is no cure or effective medical treatment – people with dementia must rely on the cash-starved and crumbling social care system. The social care and dementia crises go hand in hand.

Related: Could the Montessori method help people with dementia?

Related: Dementia is a terrible word. Why do people still use it?

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19 February 2018, 10:19 am

Still Alice review – dementia drama aims for the heartstrings

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
In this adaptation of Lisa Genova’s bestselling novel, it’s the subject rather than the staging that moves the emotions

This stage version of Lisa Genova’s novel, which is best known from the 2014 movie version and Julianne Moore’s Oscar-winning performance as a 50-year-old Harvard professor with young-onset dementia, is part of the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s admirable Every Third Minute festival. The festival takes its name from the idea that every third minute, someone in the UK will begin living with dementia.

It’s a heartbreaking story, and the cast perform it with grace and commitment. No one more so than Sharon Small, who, in a wonderfully unguarded performance, captures the increasing frustration and panic of a capable woman. As the illness takes hold, she gets lost in her own house and goes to work in her dressing gown. “I miss myself,” she says simply.

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15 February 2018, 12:27 pm

A third of people with dementia in England 'not receiving full care'

Age UK says many people do not have individual care package to which they are entitled

More than one in three people in England diagnosed with dementia are not getting the follow-up care they are entitled to, a charity has said.

The NHS specifies that everyone diagnosed with the condition should have an individual care plan that is reviewed at least once a year.

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13 February 2018, 12:01 am

Could the Montessori method help people with dementia?

The approach has had positive results in the US, Canada and Australia and is now being introduced in the UK

Normally associated with children – in particular, a future king of England – it may come as a surprise that Montessori education methods can be highly effective for supporting people with dementia.

This alternative approach to schooling was founded by Italian educator Maria Montessori in the early 20th century. Adapting these methods for people with dementia sprang from conversations between an Ohio Montessori schoolteacher and her psychologist husband in the 1990s. This approach has since been adopted in the US, Canada and Australia, where the results have been positive.

Related: We invited children into our care home to tell stories. The results were amazing

Related: Community approach to social work delivers more personalised care

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12 February 2018, 9:36 am

Just one hour a week of social interaction helps dementia patients

Chatting to care-home residents about their interests boosts their quality of life, according to trial

Just one hour a week of social interaction can improve the quality of life for dementia patients in care homes, a study suggests.

A trial involving more than 800 people with dementia across 69 English care homes found that increasing the amount of time spent communicating with residents could boost older people’s wellbeing when combined with personalised care.

Related: We’ll live longer but suffer more ill-health by 2035, says study

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7 February 2018, 12:01 am

Is your child at risk of brain injury from playing football or rugby?

Despite increasing concern about the long-term risk of dementia and other problems from heading a ball or tackling, children are still playing contact sports. Should you play it safe and stop them?

I love to watch my daughter play football, but when she heads the ball, I feel a surge of pride (she isn’t one of those who duck out the way) and a surge of fear. How many brain cells did she knock out? And what goes on inside her head when the ball hits it?

Since the case of Jeff Astle, the former West Bromwich Albion footballer who died of a degenerative brain disease in 2002, the potential risks of heading have come under intensive scrutiny. The coroner cited “industrial disease” as the cause of Astle’s death. At about the same time, Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist played by Will Smith in the film Concussion, was establishing a link between the sudden death of NFL player Mike Webster and a form of brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), that had previously been associated only with boxers.

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5 February 2018, 6:00 am