From global to local: research, practice, innovation

#DAW2016

Dementia Awareness Week (DAW) in Scotland is 30 May – 5 June 2016. During this week, Alzheimer Scotland and several other health and care organisations and professionals including allied health professionals will hold information and awareness-raising events across the country.  We’ll be blogging on DAW plans over the next few months so stay tuned to find out what’s happening across Scotland.

Our allied health professionals, Rebecca, Alison, Jenny and Christine at last year’s conference having a “tea & blether” with conference delegates

Our allied health professionals, Rebecca, Alison, Jenny and Christine at last year’s conference having a “tea & blether” with conference delegates

During #DAW2016, a real focal point will be our Annual Conference. This year, it takes place on Friday 3 June at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, exploring the theme Global to local: research, practice, innovation. There will be speakers from across the world sharing local, national and international experiences of changing dementia policy, developing research and driving forward radical improvements in care and support.

There is something for everyone in this year’s conference with the aspiration that everyone who attends will take away new ideas and learnings with the ultimate goal to have a positive impact on how we live with dementia on a personal level, as professionals, as local communities and in wider society.

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6 things you need to know about this year’s conference

  1. “This is me’

The conference is as important for people living with dementia, their families and carers and friends as it is for professionals and to ensure their voices are heard, the conference is will be opened by Kate Swaffer, Alzheimer Australia Dementia Advisory Committee with Henry Rankin, Chair, Scottish Dementia Working Group then speaking. Kates conference biography can be seen here.   Henry has also shared some of his story in his own video entitled This is me” that we posted in this blog last year. https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/this-is-me-2

  1. Global Research to Local Practice

We will hear about the latest research from a range of leading researchers and academics including the use of psychoactive drugs at home, in care homes and hospitals in the treatment of people with dementia in America by Dr Al Power who will share his passion to educate us to live beyond these drugs. We will also hear about recent research exploring the potential for people to continue working after a dementia diagnosis, and what this could mean for employees and employers alike by Dr Louise Ritchie

  1. Early insights into Scotlands 3rd Dementia Strategy

We will hear from Geoff Huggins, Director of Health and Social Care Integration, Scottish Government in the main programme with regards to the initial ideas from Scotland’s dementia dialogue events that have helped shaped Scotland third dementia strategy due to be publishes this year

  1. Creative conversations

Another great aspect of the conference is that we can come together as a group of people with a shared interest in dementia. We can walk around the exhibition hall and meet people from Alzheimer and dementia associations, heath and care professionals, Government staff, representatives from pharmaceutical industry, financial, legal, property, technology, innovation sectors and of course people living with dementia and their families.

photos: www.clarkjamesdigital.com

  1. Soap box sessions

This year for the first time we will have “soapbox” sessions at the exhibition space. These sessions give delegates the opportunity to hear about exciting and innovative products and ideas from a range of different people. The sessions will be for 10 minutes, on a pop-up stage. During the ten minutes they will share their ideas or inventions and take questions from the audience. Hopefully in those ten minutes you can take away some great ideas and practical solutions.

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  1. Allied Health Professionals: who we are and how we can help? #AHPDementia

Again at this year’s conference, we will have an AHP “market stall” offering an opportunity for you to find out more about allied health professionals, who we are and how we can help. We will have allied health professionals at the “market stall” to answer any questions on eating well, keeping active, living well at home, keeping up with your hobbies, interests and maintaining everyday conversations.  To find out more about allied health professionals leaflet here:  http://www.alzscot.org/assets/0001/7456/AHP_Leaflet_for_launch.pdf

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To find out more about the conference you can click on the links below:

Conference programme http://conference2016.daw.dementiascotland.org/programme/

Speakers http://conference2016.daw.dementiascotland.org/speakers/

Our conference blog http://conference2016.daw.dementiascotland.org/blog/

As a thank you to all our blog followers & contributors we can offer you a discounted rate of £95.00 until 29th April.

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Reflection

We hope if you do join us on the 3rd June you will take away new ideas and learnings that will have a positive impact on how we live with dementia on a personal level, as professionals, as local communities and in wider society.  However what would you reasons be to come and join us during #DAW2016?

145701806349836Elaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.

 

 

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“A blog a day blether” for #DAW2015

Allied Health Professionals Q&A

Day 5 “Ask a Speech & Language Therapist”

5th June will be by Joy @joysltdem

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Communication and eating, drinking and swallowing are fundamental to our well-being, and it is the speech and language therapist’s role to help with these skills for people with dementia at all stages of the illness. The following questions highlight many common areas of difficulty and I hope that the answers provide people with ideas on how to work around the challenges.

Question 1 – Do speech and language therapists work with people to learn to sign some words when speech is going?

 

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Answer – This would be very unusual, unless the person had signed previously. It is recognised that it is generally difficult to learn new skills. However, increased use of body language and natural gesture is fully recommended. Most of us have highly developed skills at reading body language that we developed as babies and toddlers before we even started speaking. It is likely that the person with dementia is reading body language (which includes facial expression, tone of voice, posture etc.) long after language comprehension has deteriorated. It is therefore important to be aware of what you are communicating non verbally and to enhance natural gesture to facilitate comprehension. The person with dementia can also be encouraged to increase their use of gesture to aid their expression when words are difficult to find. Playing miming games such as charades may be a way of encouraging this skill.

Question 2 –My wife has difficulty with her speech. She gets very confused and often uses words that make no sense. She then gets angry with me when I don’t understand what she wants and sometimes throws things at me. I am weary and at times quite frightened. I have no idea how to help her tell me what she wants.

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Answer – this is a difficult one. It is obviously important to reduce frustration because more effective communication is always achieved in calmer settings.  Firstly, always ensure that distractors such as television, radios, barking dogs, crying grandchildren etc., etc. are reduced to an absolute minimum. One to one communication is always more likely to be effective.

Then I would recommend acknowledging when you do not understand and posing questions such as ‘are you talking about….. (the doctor?  tea? yesterday?)

Alternatively pick up objects, pictures and say ‘is it this?’ Visual materials help to focus the person and helps them to remember what it is they are trying to talk about.

As in the previous answer, encourage the use of gesture to get messages across.

However, if all this increases frustration and inevitably sometimes this might happen, it is vital to acknowledge that frustration and suggest she comes back to it later. Then try to distract her with another activity or topic.

Question 3 – My wife gets very frustrated when she can’t find words. Should I finish her sentences for her?

Answer – Finishing sentences for people depends very much on individual relationships and there isn’t one stock answer. I recommend that you ask the person whether they would like support on completing sentences and how soon you should ‘jump in’. Be aware that you need to be listening very carefully to be sure that the word you offer is actually what the person is trying to say, because selecting the wrong word can increase frustration.

Question 4 – I am finding my friends have stopped visiting because it is so hard to have a conversation. Is there anything you can suggest which might help?

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Answer- It can often be daunting for friends to continue visiting if they feel conversation is becoming more difficult; however there are several ways that good interactions can still be achieved. Generally speaking, it is better to focus conversation on a tangible object such as a newspaper, photograph, keepsake or newly acquired item from the shops, for example. This is because 1) the focus is taken off the person and put on to the item and 2) the person is more able to keep in mind what the topic of conversation is.

Old photographs are particularly good as very often older memories remain for longer. Remember though that it is not necessary to correct erroneously remembered memories because the focus should be on the quality of the shared interaction and not the truth as you remember it.

Sometimes people find conversation flows more easily if you are both involved in an activity together e.g. arranging flowers, tidying out a drawer etc.  Simply commenting on things such as ‘that is a beautiful flower’ or ‘I had a pen like this once’ may well result in an exchange of comments.

It is important to avoid the use of questions, particularly open-ended ones such as ‘What did you do in the war?’  Even questions that just require a Yes/No response often don’t lead to further conversation easily and should be used as little as possible.

It is also important not to talk too much. Often we fear silence and try to compensate for the reduced conversation from the person with dementia by talking incessantly. Occasional comments and companiable silence, particularly when engaging in some activity is absolutely fine.

Question 5 – My husband has been put on a soft diet and really misses his favourites. Is it ok to bend the rules a bit?

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Answer- There are many different reasons why people are put on a soft (puree diet). It would be very important to discuss with the Speech and Language therapist (SLT) why he was put on this dietary texture in the first place before bending the rules. Modified diets are used to reduce risk of choking and/ or aspiration of food and drink that might lead to chest infections, and it is vital that the level of risk for your husband is fully understood.

SLT’s are always mindful of balancing the risks against quality of life. It is often found that people manage their favourite foods better due to increased stimulation and therefore an informed discussion with your therapist could result in a controlled trial of these foods.

We welcome ideas and comments from our readers about this blog.

Joy HarrisJoy Harris
SLT,Clinical Lead for Dementia, Lothian
@joysltdem

I work in East and Midlothian Psychiatry of Old Age teams seeing people with communication and/ or swallowing problems from the point of diagnosis of Dementia, and at any stage throughout the patient journey as the need arises.

“A blog a day blether” for #DAW2015

Allied Health Professionals Q&A

Day 3 “Ask an Occupational Therapist”

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Welcome to day three of our AHP Dementia blog posts.  I’m really pleased to answer some questions as an occupational therapist.  People often think of occupational therapists as the people who provide equipment and while this is an important aspect of the role we can also help in other ways.  It’s about what people need to do and want to do in their daily lives, the habits and routines that we have and the roles and responsibilities.  But without any further ado I will answer the questions….

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“My mum used to be very creative.  Painting, dressmaking, soft furnishings etc.  I have bought pastels and crayons to encourage her to draw/colour in, but she thinks these are childish activities.  What approaches would the OT recommend?” Catriona, carer

Thanks Catriona, that’s a great question.  Supporting people to be involved in activities is so important but it can be challenging at times to get that “just right fit”.  For an activity to be enjoyable for any of us we need to find it interesting and relevant to our lives and it needs to be something that is realistic for us to do but not so easy that we find it boring.  Here are some suggestions for approaches to try and hopefully you will find something that helps.

  • Sometimes people might comment that an activity is childish if it is too easy or if the materials appear child like. If your mum was not previously interested in colouring in she might consider this an activity for children.  However, colouring in for adults has become quite fashionable and there are a number of colouring books designed for adults that you could try.  There are a range of designs with some very intricate but some more simple and lots of themes from the animal kingdom, art deco, flowers and geometric patterns.
  • I’ve found when using art as an activity that the type of art materials used can make an activity more or less inviting for people. Some of the materials which have worked well in my experience are colouring pencils which you can then apply water to and they look like watercolour paints, having a sketch book rather than sheets of paper, a simple paint pallet with a good quality brush etc.
  • Sometimes people can find it challenging to get started with an activity and creating the right environment can be helpful. Setting up a spot at a table with good lighting and the required materials in clear view can be helpful.  Your mum might also find it helpful to have some inspiration to get started with painting.  In the past I’ve used a selection of photographs as a starting point e.g. a beautiful scene, a familiar place etc something to trace can even work.  Sometimes taking a sketch book and pencils/paints out for a drive and seeing if your mum is inspired to do some sketching of a view.
  • Sometimes having a goal or an end product that is going to be used can make an activity more inviting. Here are a few ideas I’ve used in the past:
    • Using blank greeting cards or postcards which can then be sent or given to mark an occasion.
    • Scanning the finished art work and it can then be used to make a calendar, magnet, integrated into a printed photo book etc.

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  • Sometimes we assume that people will want to continue with an interest or hobby from the past. This is often the case but people can find it less enjoyable as they might compare what they are able to do now with their previous abilities.  If you have a few examples of projects that your mum has completed in the past you could use these to prompt a discussion and get a sense of how she feels about these activities now.
  • If your mum is still interested in her creative hobbies but doesn’t want to paint or colour in you could try:
    • Joint projects can be a good way to involve the person
    • Having a box of fabrics, threads, yarn etc that your mum can enjoy looking through and sorting.
    • Looking at patterns, photographs, books related to the interests.
    • Going to an exhibition or group related to the interests. You might find a session for people with dementia e.g. the National Gallery of Scotland runs a Social Gallery event where people with dementia can visit the gallery to see the art, join in a practical art session and have tea and cake (https://www.nationalgalleries.org/education/gallery-social-programme/ )

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The last question in this blog has some other ideas about finding activities that you might find useful too.

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If you do not have a CPN, can you still get help in the community if you need aids and adaptations in your house?  Alison, living well with dementia

Thanks for your question Alison, you do not need a CPN to get access to aids and adaptations.  If you think you would benefit from a piece of equipment you should be able to refer yourself via your local social work department or you could ask your GP to make a referral on your behalf.  Many councils have a selection of simple equipment that you can access directly e.g. a grab rail or cutlery that’s easy to grip.  This information will probably be available on the council website.

If you aren’t sure what you need or if you think you need a bigger piece of equipment or adaptation to your home then you can ask for an occupational therapy assessment through your local social work department.  You can usually do this via a telephone call or some council web pages have a form you can complete on line.

The web site “ask sara”  is another place where you can find out more information about equipment.  You can select an aspect of your health, home or daily life that you are finding challenging e.g. your memory, the stairs or communicating and the website will ask you some simple questions which will guide its recommendations.  It may suggest some strategies, sources of help and advice as well as equipment that you might be able to borrow or purchase.

If economics & person centred care are behind the drive towards greater care in the community, who is looking at the provision of equipment in the home to enable carers to care at home for longer? (e.g. wet rooms, hoists, bed raisers, rise & recline chairs, hospital beds.  It seems to be getting harder not easier to obtain support as local funds are being tightened.  How can we rethink ways in which expensive equipment might be safely repurposed and recycled?  Kathryn, carer.

Thanks for your question Kathryn.  This is a challenge indeed and it is being looked at by the Scottish Government (information available here).  The west of Scotland has a service which decontaminates and recycles equipment and this has been shown to save a considerable amount of money.  We can all play a small part in helping to recycle equipment too.  If you or someone you know has been provided with a piece of equipment which is no longer required then you can contact your council and ask for it to be collected, I’ve often come across equipment when I’ve been out to visit someone as an OT that people hadn’t thought they could return.

My father can no longer follow TV programmes or read books and my family are concerned about him.  He’s never been very outgoing and refuses to go to day care or any clubs.  They want to know what they can do to keep him occupied during the day?

Thanks for your question, sometimes people can find activities that use lots of language harder to concentrate on so reading and watching television can become tiring and less enjoyable.  Everyone is different but here are a few ideas to find things for your dad to be involved with:

  • What other hobbies and interests has your dad had? Did he enjoy gardening, watching or playing sport, listening to music, walking, painting, going to the theatre or cinema, photography etc.       This can be a really great place to start.
  • Starting with a few ideas of things that have interested your dad in the past you can have a trip down memory lane and chat about these things and your dad’s memories. That might give you a sense of how he feels about trying these things again.       Sometimes it helps to have a few props to hand to help the conversation e.g. a few photographs.
  • If your dad identifies something he enjoyed and would like to do then its finding a way to help him to do the activity (you might find some ideas in the answers to the first question on this blog too).
  • Your dad might need a bit of help to get started with an activity – it might be as simple as getting the things he needs out and putting them all in the one place, making sure there is good lighting and inviting him to be involved.
  • Your dad might find it easier to do an activity jointly e.g. doing some gardening with another family member.
  • There are an increasing number of dementia friendly initiatives in the community as a recognition that not everyone with dementia wants to go to day care they might want to keep going to the theatre or football just as they did before. There are an increasing number of events which are being advertised as being dementia friendly e.g. relaxed theatre performances with less people in the audience, shorter performances that are more visual and less reliant on language. Have a look online to see what’s available in your local area.
  • Some people find listening to music a really good activity that can be relaxing, spark memories and even inspire people to get on their feet to have a dance.  The charity Playlist for Life  has lots of useful information about using music that’s personal to the individual.

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  • Another activity which I’ve found works for lots of people is making a life story. It can be a good family activity gathering some photographs and stories together in a photo album, scrap book or box and then this can be used as a conversation starter or just an enjoyable book/box to look through. There is some really helpful guidance on life story work in the Communication and Mealtimes Toolkit  if you would like some ideas to get started.
  • Other ideas might just be in finding ways to keep your dad involved in the daily routines at home e.g. getting out for a walk to buy milk, helping out with washing the dishes, meal preparation, washing the car etc.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a question and have a look tomorrow for answers from our Physiotherapist colleague, Lynne.

We welcome ideas and comments from our readers about this blog.

Tomorrow’s blog will be by Lynn – “Ask a Physiotherapist” Q & A.

Jenny ReidJenny Reid
AHP Dementia Consultant (NHS Lothian)
@JennyAHPDem

My role involves raising awareness of the contribution AHPs make to helping people with dementia, their families and carers live well and supporting AHP service development, education and evaluation.  The national remit of my role includes producing the Dementia AHPproaches newsletter, leading a national pilot of the Tailored Activity Programme and supporting AHPs in the development of early interventions and supported self management for people living with dementia, their families and carers.

“A blog a day blether” for #DAW2015

Allied Health Professionals Q&A

Day 2 “Ask a Dietitian”

Hello and welcome to today’s blog.  The following questions were asked by people who care for someone with Dementia on the topic of nutrition.  Hopefully you will find the practical advice given useful.

Question 1

Tips on how to keep your loved one interested in food. ‘My mum’s diet is becoming more and more limited. By using dessert forks (they are light and pretty) she is continuing to feed herself.’ Catriona, carer

  • Try buffet style foods such as cut vegetable sticks, pork pies, quiche, pizza, cocktail sausages, fish cakes, fish or chicken goujons, bite sized pieces of meat or rolled up cold meat and cut pieces of fruit which your Mum will find easy to eat herself if she finds cutlery can be a problem.

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  • If your Mum is only using one piece of cutlery try place this in her dominant hand as a prompt.
  • Use food as a conversation starter or memory jog – if your Mum used to like to go to a particular place or enjoy a particular food trying having that food and taking about times when it was enjoyed before such as on a holiday or a family event. Use a cup that your Mum is familiar with to encourage drinks.

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  • Eat together where possible and talk about the taste and smell of the food as you are eating. Verbal prompts can help to encourage someone to eat better in a relaxed way.
  • Try foods which have a strong flavour such as sweet, sour or spicy foods or even foods your Mum previously didn’t include. You may find that what she enjoys has changed. As we get older we have fewer taste buds in our mouth.       In addition the signals to tell us what food look, taste and smell like are not always recognised when you have Dementia. Foods to try could include curries, lasagne, chilli con carne, sweet desserts, citrus flavour or simply adding some herbs or spices to regular dishes.

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Question 2:

Taking the stress out of mealtimes. ‘My mum will only eat food if plates are piping hot. As her vision is not great, I’ve been looking at tableware designed for people with dementia but it is really ugly, chunky and cannot be microwaved. Some of it is melamine so would not be suitable as it would never be hot enough. There don’t appear to be plain blue or red china plates around.’ Catriona, carer

  • Try ceramic plates which tend to hold more heat or use a plate warmer under regular crockery.
  • Encourage a relaxing environment – put on a piece of favourite music. Some people are able to concentrate better if there are no distractions, everyone is different.
  • Use a high contrast table mat under the plate.
  • Serve smaller portions at a time to keep food hot.       An additional portion can be given after if desired.
  • Ensure good lighting where your Mum is eating.

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  • Include bright coloured foods and foods which are high contrast to the background colour of plate e.g. dark on light or light on dark. Doing this will help to make foods clearer to see.

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Question 3:

‘My husband has always eaten well, but now refuses to eat anything which isn’t on bread.  Recently his iron levels were found to be very low and he’s had trouble with constipation.  The doctor says he must eat more fruit and vegetables, but he just leaves them on his plate.  What can I do?’ Anon

  • Adopt a flexible approach – your husband’s diet can still be healthy with a few modifications.
  • Add a topping such as egg (poached, scrambled), cold meat – red meats such as corned beef, roast beef, ham, lean bacon, dark poultry meat, pate, mackerel/sardines, baked beans- these are all good sources of iron. Try adding salad vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes or peppers.

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  • Encourage a glass of orange or apple juice with the meal – vitamin C helps absorption of iron.
  • Some of the foods above will help to increase his fibre intake such as vegetables, baked beans but using a wholemeal bread, seeded bread or 50:50 bread would also help. You could also try crackerbreads, pitas, bagels or crispbreads for variety.
  • Ensure adequate fluids as being dehydrated can result in constipation.

Question 4:

My dad will only eat sweet foods and doesn’t like foods he previously enjoyed.   How can I ensure my dad gets a balanced diet?’  Jean, daughter

  • You can still achieve a balanced diet with sweet foods but this can be stressful when it doesn’t look like what we typically think of as a healthy meal.
  • Add fruit – dried, tinned stewed or fresh to desserts or cereals to add extra sweetness but also additional vitamins, minerals and fibre.
  • Include dairy based desserts such as custard, rice pudding, mouse, trifle, ice-cream, yogurts, fromage frais, semolina, whipped desserts, crème caramel or crème brulee.   Dairy foods are a good source of energy, protein and calcium.
  • Use naturally sweet foods such as baby plum tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweetcorn to enhance the sweet flavour of dishes and again add extra fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Try sweet sauces such as sweet chilli or sweet and sour in savoury dishes.       Alternatively try adding sweet condiments to savour dishes such as apple sauce with pork dishes, cranberry with game or poultry dishes, sweet chilli dipping sauce, mango or other types of fruit chutney.
  • Adding a little honey, syrup or sugar to naturally savoury dishes can also help to encourage them to be enjoyed.

Question 5:

How strong is the anecdotal evidence that organic Coconoil can ameliorate some of the symptoms of dementia, even if only in the short term? e.g. memory loss, aggression, concentration  What, if any, research is being done? And what is the incidence of dementia in countries where coconoil or coconut derivatives form a staple part of the diet?’ Kathryn, carer

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Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.  There are currently a range of foods being studied to exam whether there is any benefit in prevention or treatment of dementia.  There have been some reports recently in the press of improvement in symptoms for people with dementia who are using coconoil or coconut oil.  However to date there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support including coconut oil or coconut derivatives as a prevention or treatment for dementia.  As coconut oil is high in fat and in particular harmful saturated fat, large amounts of this in a person’s diet would not be recommended as this can increase risk of heart disease and vascular diseases such as stroke or transient ischaemic attacks (TIA’s).  However as with any food, if desired coconut oil or coconut products can be included as part of a balanced, healthy diet.

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 The British Dietetic Association website has food factsheets on a range of nutrition topics which you can download for free at:   www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/home

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 As part of Dietitians week there will be an event at Scottish Parliament to highlight the role Dietitians can play in improving nutrition for people with Dementia.  If you would like to know more you can follow ahpscot.wordpress.com and letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com throughout Dietitian’s Week (June 8-12).

https://ahpscot.wordpress.com

We welcome ideas and comments from our readers about this blog.

Tomorrow’s blog will be by Jenny – “Ask an Occupational Therapist” Q & A.

 

image GMcMGillian McMillan
Specialist Dietitian – Mental Health

Gillian graduated as a Dietitian from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh in 2000. Since then she has worked for NHS Lanarkshire initially in acute hospital services and laterally in mental health services. Over the past 10 years she has gained experience in this field and specifically the nutritional care of people with Dementia. She is currently a member of the allied health professional expert group working with Alzheimer Scotland to develop the role of allied health professionals in dementia care.

Dementia Awareness Week 1st -7th June

#DAW2015 meets #AHPDementia

Pic 2A key feature of Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland are the ‘Tea & Blether’ events taking place all over the country; encouraging members of the public, health and social care professionals and  everyone involved with Alzheimer Scotland to meet and talk about dementia in a relaxed setting.

Dementia Awareness Week is underpinned by our aim that nobody should face dementia alone. The worry that someone might have dementia is one of the hardest issues any of us will have to face. However, having conversations about dementia – with partners, with family and friends, or with professionals – can make a huge difference to someone’s future quality of life.

#AHPDementia

During the week allied health professionals are taking the opportunity to promote their role and are integrated into Scotland’s national “blether”, hosting events from Inverness to Dumfries and Kilmarnock to Edinburgh.   We will be raising awareness about our unique therapeutic and rehabilitation skills, offering accessible advice and information and ultimately helping to answer the question “who are they and how can they help you?”

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5 ways to have an AHP Blether

  1. At the national conference on the 1st June

Dementia Awareness Week Conference takes place in Glasgow, on 1 June with the conference theme ‘Global Progress; Local Impact’.  We will be there.

Join us at STAND 17.

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We will have 5 Allied Health Professionals on the day waiting to answer questions: if you are worried about falls, eating well and keeping active? Perhaps you have questions about communication, looking for tips on how to boost your memory or develop a musical profile? Come over and say hello, we look forward to having a conversation with you.

  1. New Alzheimer Scotland AHP leaflet

During the week we will be launching and sharing our Alzheimer Scotland allied health professional leaflet on the 1st June. We will share the leaflet online, through this blog, have it available during the week and in our resources centres after the 1st June.

It’s best to make early contact with an AHP if you are worried about your memory or if you or someone in your family has recently been diagnosed with dementia. That way you can get the information, advice and treatment that is right for you and your family as quickly as possible. Our new leaflet will describe how AHPs can help and how to get in touch with them.

  1. A blog a day

During the week we are posting a “blog a day” as a Q&A to four of our allied health professional colleagues.   We invited the Scottish Dementia Working Group @S_D_W_G, National Dementia Carers Action Network and people we work with, what would you like to ask a dietitian, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapy and a speech & language therapist. The Q&A “blog a day” can be seen at  www.alzscot.org/talking_dementia and will also be supported by our colleagues at  www.ahpscot.wordpress.com

  1. Having a cuppa and an “AHPBlether”

We have Allied Health Professionals waiting to answer your questions in Inverness, Glasgow, Falkirk, Lanarkshire, Kilmarnock, Edinburgh and Dumfries.  Why not join them? Maybe ask a dietician about eating and drinking well, or a speech and language therapist about maintaining every day conversations, or the occupational therapist about the impact of living with dementia if you are still at work?

To find out what’s happening in your area, visit www.daw.dementiascotland.org.

  1. “A picture to paint a thousand words”

Finally for those that prefer to communicate in images, we are doing that too.  We will be sharing who we are having a blether with, in our gardens, in our offices, in our homes and at all our organised events with family, friends, colleagues through the week with our “Let’s Talk about Dementia” mugs.  Follow #DAW2015, #AHPDementia  & @alzscot to see who we are having an #AHPDementia blether with to support this year’s #DAW2015.

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We would welcome any comments on this blog post and other ideas on how to share the work and practice of allied health professionals

Thank you

Elaine HunterElaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.