Category: Support

Had a fall -“Alexa Call …”

When I was in Birmingham in August for a Dementia Diaries meet up, there was a lot of discussion about Alexa from Amazon.

When I got home, I decided to give it a try and have been trying it out since.

It takes a while to learn how to use it effectively and to learn new skills as they are referred to and I am still learning.

Apart from things like reminders, which also come up on my phone, so if I am out of the house, my reminder to take my tablets etc comes up on my phone.

One thing stands out which I hadn’t anticipated.

Before going further, it’s only right to state reader that I realise that not everyone with a diagnosis of Dementia has the cognitive ability to use Alexa or learn skills.

So this article may not be applicable to people whose Dementia is more advanced than my own.

That cleared up, so far I found one thing that could be useful for people living with Dementia, that can use Alexa.

I found that I can make telephone calls with Alexa to anyone in my contacts list that has the Alexa App on their phone.

That wasn’t the end of my discovery.

I have Alexa in my living room and I found out by accident that it could hear me in the hall.

My bathroom is downstairs so I tried in there and then the Kitchen and Alexa could hear me in each room.

In a lightbulb moment, I realised that if I was to have a fall downstairs or in the bathroom or kitchen and I couldn’t get to my phone, I could tell Alexa to call someone on my contact list to tell them I need assistance.

Image result for reaching out to a mobile

I now have an Alexa upstairs as well, so the whole house is covered.

Although I don’t live alone, my wife still works full time, so I can be home alone at times.

If I did live alone it would be reassuring for me to have such enabling technology.

This is just my experiences of using Alexa for which I haven’t received any payment or inducement by Amazon.

Coping Strategies

This is a series of 5 articles about coping strategies, suggested by Truthful Loving Kindness.

I should say reader, at the outset, that I understand that the previous articles may not all be suitable for everyone, all our Dementia’s are different in some way and , you may not be able to use some of the things mentioned for whatever reason and we are all at different points in our journey but I hope it has given you a little insight into ways that we can live with our Dementia.

In general, I would say reader, that it’s what works for you whether you, the person living with Dementia and their carer.

We are all different and you couldn’t draw up one strategy for all of us. If there are 850,000 people with Dementia in the UK, there would need to be 850,000 strategies.

The only thing that should be the same in all coping strategies is respect for our rights under the UN conventions.

You may need to make adjustments around the home, patterned walls and carpets may become a problem as can dark colours, taste changes so the food and drink we like can change, tablet boxes usually enable you to put a weeks tablets in separate compartments and thick curtains to emphasise it is night time, whatever works for you.

Music can be beneficial to a persons mood and can bring out memories of a better time.

Henry and his music

Dance can be an enjoyable activity for a person that used to enjoy dancing. As well as evoking memories it can also be seen as a form of activity.

If you are a person living with Dementia or caring for someone with dementia reader, there is no shame in seeking help, you should see it as part of your coping strategy, you may be surprised at how many people are feeling the way you do or may have a solution to a problem you have.

This may just mean joining a support group or online forum. It may be you go to talk to one of the carers charities.

We each have individual needs, likes and dislikes which need to be taken into account when working out a coping strategy.

We can resist change, even at the early stage of Dementia, we may not want to go somewhere new but you may find once we get there, we enjoy it.

We may not be able to express ourselves in ways people are used to, but whatever stage we are in, we are still the same person inside.

We will face challenges from sounds, patterned flooring/walls, communication, taste, sights, walking. memory amongst many others which are normal for our Dementia’s and should not be a source of embarrassment.

We should be accepted for who we are not what we have become. A diagnosis is not the beginning of the end, it is the end of the beginning and we can live within the boundaries of our Dementia’s with the help of coping strategies.

Primarily, a coping strategy should be enabling not disabling, it should enable us to live our lives fully, to continue to do as much as we have done before, within the limits of our Dementia however, it should also be enabling for the person/family who do the caring.

If you are the carer reader, there is no shame in making time for yourself, YOU MUST have time away from our Dementia, as much as is practical.

If you are in that dark place that I was last year reader, take a step back, put strategies in place to live your life, fight for your rights, be who you are now and remember if someone cannot accept you as you are now, it is their problem not yours.

Life is for living, Live your life with Dementia, Whatever the challenges

The pother 4 articles are:

Coping Strategies – Day to Day

Coping Strategies – Going Out

Coping Strategies – In the Kitchen

Coping Strategies – Self Esteem

I am not paid or induced in any way to mention any products.

Activity – Myth or Meaningful Engagement

When looking at activities it is important to look at each person individually.

Dementia has over 100 types, which means that everyone has different experiences, regardless of disability. There may not be two people the same with the same needs when it comes to activity, the only similarity may be their diagnosis.

Activities do not have to be exclusively exercise, they could include music, arts & crafts, going to the cinema, dancing, or pursuing an interest from a persons pre-diagnosis life.

Recently, at a Dementia Cafe there was music and dancing, which is an inclusive activity for those that wish to take part. Some chose to Dance, others just listened to the music, however, the music was too loud for my hearing, I may have Hyperacusis, so I had to leave. My trips every 2 years to Pulmonary Rehab help me to manage my COPD and reduce exacerbation’s, which is a meaningful activity.

York St John University has free, inclusive activities for people with Dementia and others conditions, tailored to the individual run as part of their sports science courses.

The Alzheimer’s Society has a few suggestions

as does The Better Health Channel

In Norfolk, Ryan Hughes has seen the impact of activity

and Teepa Snow has her own take

The BBC programme The Toddlers who took on Dementia will show that small things can make a difference and that a person with Dementia can be involved in day-to-day activities and showed that inclusion doesn’t mean big budgets.

Apart from activities in a care home, an activity could also be an inclusive form of respite for someone living at home. Apart from Day Centre’s, there are Dementia Cafe’s and there may be other activities that with the right support would enable a person with Dementia to access different forms of activity outside their home and engage with other people.

If there is a partner and/or family at home, caring for the person with Dementia, it also provides an opportunity for some respite for them, even for a few hours.

In my opinion, it is important that my wife has time away from my Dementia. As time goes on that will become more of a challenge but hopefully by then, the funding and availability of  services will improve in line with our rights.

I’ll leave you to make your own mind up reader but to my mind, any meaningful activity is better than none and can improve our physical and mental health, along with tailoring it to the individuals need, interests and choices provides an opportunity for engagement.