Justice for 91 year-old – Locked Up in Dementia Unit

Essex County Council should be thoroughly ashamed after keeping a 91 year-old man in a LOCKED dementia unit against his wishes for 17 months.

This was despite his repeated insistence that he wanted to go home and expert advice that said he was capable of deciding where to live.

Thankfully the tireless work of a friend means that the man has been returned home to be reunited with his beloved cat Fluffy and awarded £60,000 in damages by a judge.

locked upThe social workers who effectively imprisoned the man for no reason did so without a shred of respect for his dignity. He was taken from his home of 50 years while wearing his dressing gown and no trousers.

This is indicative of a social care system that all too often completely fails to demonstrate common sense and compassion. This is especially the case for the elderly and those with dementia who are frequently not given the standard of treatment they deserve.

As the judge rightly said the council’s conduct was “reprehensible”. They deprived the man of his liberty and subjected him to a cruel and lengthy ordeal.

It is horrifying to think of others who find themselves in the same position but are not fortunate enough to have friends or family willing and able to take on the authorities.

“County councils and local authorities have for far too long been untouchable and not brought to book on many issues where questioning is deserved. Have you ever thought you could “take them on” over an issue you were not happy with?

COFFEE FIGHTS ALZHEIMER’S

Mark Reynolds writing in the Daily Express has reported that research suggests coffee can significantly cut the risk of suffering dementia.

Three to five cups a day could reduce the chances of developing the disease by up to a fifth, a study has found.

The caffeine in coffee helps prevent the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain – two hallmarks of the debilitating memory loss condition.

In addition, both caffeine and polyphenols, compounds which are also found in the drink in large quantities, decreases the deterioration of cells in areas of the brain involved in memory, the scientists reported.

Dr Iva Holmerova, of Alzheimer Europe, said: “The findings are very encouraging. Coffee is a very popular beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the world and I’m pleased to know that moderate, lifelong consumption can have a beneficial effect on the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The report released today, highlights the role that nutrition in general can play in preserving cognitive function, especially before symptoms of dementia occur. A Mediterranean diet has always been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, it says.

But the report, released by the Institute of Scientific Information on Coffee, notes that the latest research suggests caffeine and polyphenols can have the same protective effect.

Dr Arfan Ikram. an assistant professor at the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, who contributed to the report’s findings, said: “The majority of human studies suggest that regular coffee consumption over a lifetime is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, with an optimum protective effect occurring with three to five cups per day.”

Lifestyle

Details from the report were originally presented at the Alzheimer Europe annual conference in Glasgow last month.

Delegates heard that research had established that moderate coffee consumption over a four-year test period cut the risk of dementia by up to 20 percent. however the effect diminished over a longer follow-up period.

Dr Holmerova said: “Cognitive decline is a feature of ageing, and although some changes can be expected in all of us, there is some evidence that diet and lifestyle may be related to cognition.

“Studies suggest that certain lifestyle factors and nutritional elements, including the consumption of coffee and caffeine may help to slow down age-related cognitive decline seen in the older generation.”

However, Jess Smith, research officer at the care and research charity Alzheimer’s Society, sounded a note of caution. She said that evidence that drinking coffee can help protect against Alzheimer’s is still not conclusive.

She added: “Some research suggest that caffeine and anti-oxidents in coffee may be beneficial but more research and clinical trials are needed.

“There is no single way to reduce your risk of dementia. Exercising frequently, as well as eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding smoking, not drinking to excess and managing other health conditions can play a role in reducing your risk of dementia.”

In Britain, 850.000 people are affected by dementia, 60 per cent of whom have Alzheimer’s disease. Treating dementia costs the nation an estimated £26.3billion a year.

“No need to stick to the decaf now then”. Joking aside, any advice on lifestyle, especially if it reaches younger people who have more time to put it into practice, is welcome. Seeing what this illness can do to a loved one is utterly heartbreaking. It isn’t just going fuddy duddy and forgetting things. It can produce ongoing extreme anxiety, terror and appalling physical decline where body functions disintegrate. My mother was a healthy  86 year old. She developed shingles over her eye and head and after getting her through that, the memory and seeing things started (dementia isn’t just Alzheimer’s).  To be brief, the next four years were a worsening horror. I cried with relief, as much as anything,  the day, while sitting with her, a coronary thrombosis took her – I’d lost my “mum”,  but it was a godsend.
You may visit someone in a nursing home with very poorly residents and notice their lack of visitors. One reason is that their relatives  may love them to bits, but many just cannot handle it.

Care Home Failure – Fear Over Bosses

Dementia sufferers are being put at risk of poor care because hundreds of residential homes are operating without a manager, figures released have shown.

Of 7,000 specialist care homes across England, 759 do not have a registered boss who is legally responsible for it’s running and failings, watchdog the Care Quality Commission admits.

Former Lib Dem Care Minister Paul Burstow blasted: “This situation is simply not acceptable. Things clearly need to change, fast.” The Alzheimer’s Society branded the situation “worrying and unacceptable”.  About 800,000 people have dementia in the UK, but is this set to rise to a million by 2024.

Experts have blamed the issue on slow or poor recruitment and providers failing to appoint in a bid to save cash – despite potential fines up  to £4,000.

The CQC said: “When these positions remain unfilled, people are at greater risk of poor care.

Disgraceful and heart-sinking issues regarding the health and welfare of our nation just keep coming and coming. Is it going to stop – “any ideas?”

Simpe Eye Test for Alzheimers

A simple eye test would be used to identify the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists believe warning signs for the illness could be detected in the eye and have developed computer software that can analyse high-definition images of its condition.

It is thought that changes in the pattern of ocular veins and arteries could be linked to conditions such as dementia, stroke and heart disease.

Emanuele Trucco, professor of computational vision at the University of Dundee, who is leading the three-year £1.1million project, said: “If you can look into someone’s eyes using an inexpensive machine and discover something which may suggest a risk of developing dementia, then that’s a very interesting proposition.

“There is the promise of early warning in a non-invasive way and we even might be able to use the test to differentiate between different types of dementia.’

The researchers, from Dundee and Edinburgh universities, will compare thousands of images from medical records to establish a link.

Professor Trucco said changes to blood vessels in the retina, for example when they change in width or become “wriggly”, can indicate a huge amount. But while taking measurements by hand is an arduous process the software – known as Vampire – takes them ‘reliably and efficiently’.

Philip Nelson, of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which is funding the project, warned of the ‘huge challenge’ the UK faces with a rise in dementia diagnoses.

He added that the project, ‘will improve our abilities to detect and understand dementia.’

With an increase in medical knowledge and diminishing funding to deliver health services, the future will still be very bleak for many of our ageing population.

Secret Checks on Care Homes

It has been revealed on 10th December that inspectors are to swoop to carry out secret checks that 15 care homes and hospitals are treating dementia patients properly.

The Care Quality Commission unveiled the strategy as G8 leaders prepared to meet in London to discuss for the first time how to deal with a “dementia epidemic”.

More than 35 million people are suffering with dementia worldwide today. That number is set to triple by 2050. In England alone the number is set to double over  three decades from today’s 670,000.

The inspections will look at how services help patients both mentally an physically, at how movement between homes and hospitals can be reduced and how to minimise admissions and lengthy stats.

Judgements will be published locally, with a national report next May.

Davina Ludlow, of carehomes.co.uk said “While the vast majority of care homes provide the highest quality care, we welcome the review.

This all sounds excellent but as ever there will forever be rotten apples in the basket, as there always has been and forever will mostly go unnoticed. Even in today’s day and age loving relatives of sufferers will have that nagging feeling about the quality of care being given during their relatives decline. The pressure and lack of job satisfaction for staff and diminishing funding and cut backs will give this continuation.