The Memory Technology Library held the first of two staff open days on 17th of November. Thirty members of staff visited during the day including student Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Doctors, Physiotherapists, a GP and staff from nursing homes. We have a second staff open day on the 1st of December between 11 and 4 pm, all staff are welcome, please drop in for tea and the chance to try out products. The OT s Emma and Simone will be on hand to answer questions.
The Memory Technology Library entered the Out Patient Initiative of the Year category of the Irish Health care awards and is delighted to report that we received a commendation .The awards ceremony was held in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin . Cait Mackey and Simone McGoldrick received the certificate , and were supported by Dr Crowe and Catherine Sheehan from the project consortium.
Information and Awareness Event Highlights Needs of 48,000 people living with Dementia in Ireland.
Project Tackles Stigma Associated with Dementia and Promotes Active Citizenship in our Communities.
Research on carers across South Tipperary found 88% are spouses living alone as a couple.
Our awareness meeting in Cashel, last week, highlighted the success of the project in transforming the life experience of people with dementia and their families, increasing public awareness and encouraging people to come forward earlier for diagnosis and treatment.
According to Project Lead and Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry Dr. Caitriona Crowe: “Over 48,000 people are living with dementia in Ireland, a number which will double by 2031 and more than treble by 2041. This is a demographic time bomb at the heart of communities across Ireland but we want to emphasise that dementia is something that you live with, not necessarily die of. This project demonstrates that by providing flexible person-centred care in the home, people who wish to remain outside of institutional care can continue to live at home for as long as possible.“
Speaking at the conference Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The next 10 years are critical in how we deal with dementia as a nation. We have to embrace the notion of older people with dementia as key members of our community, and break down the stigma around dementia. This translates as connecting people with the community within which they live and empowering them to play an active role in their level of care and care needs in the home.”
Enabling people with dementia to continue living within the home relies on the critical support of carers. A survey of over 50 carers living across South Tipperary, released as part of the conference, highlighted the challenges of old age and concerns about end of life care for their loved ones. It found that the majority of carers are spouses (88%), living alone as a couple and half are over 65 years of age (52%). It also found that only half of carers were confident they could manage end of life care.
Commenting on the findings Dr. Crowe said: “While there was no surprise in the findings from our survey, it highlighted the real needs of carers in our communities. These carers are generally very happy in their caring role for a loved one but also suffer from feelings of exhaustion and loneliness and worry about not being able to cope if the condition deteriorates or at the end of life. The provision of information and support by a healthcare professional to discuss these issues through the programme , and the provision of dementia support workers to people with dementia has proved vital in addressing most of these needs. These supports are crucial for carers all over Ireland as this is a crucial element to ensuring that people living with dementia are able to live a full life in their own home and community rather than in inpatient care.”
Amazingly we are now in year three of the pilot project "The 5 Steps to Living Well with Dementia in South Tipperary". The project will end on the 8th October 2015 when our funding runs out. We have been working very hard in the past few months to ensure that the service and supports we have set up are mainstreamed and maintained. Our goal has always been to transform the life experience of people with dementia and their families in South Tipperary. In order to achieve this, people with dementia and family carers have been central to all the planning and development of the pilot. We want to increase public awareness about dementia, dispel myths, reduce stigma and encourage people to come forward early for diagnosis and treatment. But most of all we wanted to provide flexible person centred care to people with dementia to enable them to remain living at home, enjoying good lives and remaining as active participants in their own community.
Our pilot has been extremely successful. The feedback from people with dementia and their carers has been phenomenal and the research evaluation by Professor Eamon O Shea and Professor Suzanne Cahill strongly support the work of the project.
We believe we have developed a service for people with dementia that is responsive, flexible, non- bureaucratic and highly cost effective. People can contact our co-ordinator Chris, as the single point of contact, and she can organise for them the response that best meets their individual needs. We have developed a unique dementia Support Worker Initiative which provides high quality support which is individualised and delivered one to one in the person's home and in the community. This is provided both regularly and in times of crisis. We have developed the first memory technology library in Ireland for people with dementia. We have developed the roles of Community Connector and Clinical Nurse Specialist for dementia in the community who are both making a massive difference to dementia care for people in South Tipperary. All our activities are totally aligned to the objectives of the Irish National Dementia Strategy.
We are working very hard to ensure that this fantastic service is sustained and mainstreamed and indeed developed further to meet the needs of the ageing population as the number of people with dementia in Ireland double.
This project is making such a massive difference to people's lives, it must not end when the pilot is complete. For the past three years we have been walking side by side with people with dementia and their families as together we try to change the world and we would welcome all suggestions you might have to help us realise this dream.
Technology is constantly changing... In the 1890s, people put money into a Jukebox to hear popular music. Today you can have 1000s of songs stored in your pocket, on a device, smaller than your laser card! It can be difficult to keep up with all these changes but it is exciting to see the possibilities. At The Memory Technology Library we try to respond to what people require, by finding simple, user friendly, reliable technologies that can help people living at home with dementia. We always have an eye open for what might help someone, or respond to a need we've found. Please feel free tocontact us if you have any queries about technologies used for dementia. Check out this short TED talk video, of a young guy creating smart technology since he was six years old for the older person with dementia.
On World Mental Health Day October 10th Clonmel , and as part of Positive Ageing Week, Clonmel was host to an international Dementia Conference – “Living Well with Dementia” held at the Hotel Minella, Clonmel. The conference was organised as part of our “5 Steps to Living Well with Dementia in South Tipperary “ project with the aim of raising awareness about dementia and to destigmatize the condition. Guest speakers included Professor Brian Lawlor, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin who spoke about “What is dementia” and Professor Peter Passmore, Professor of Ageing and Geriatric Medicine in Queens University Dublin who spoke about “Dementia – the Treatment Landscape”. Jackie Pool, Occupational Therapist in the UK spoke about “Keeping Active to Live Well with Dementia” and Mary Mc Grath, Advanced Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist at the Memory Clinic in Belfast gave tips and strategies for managing everyday memory problems through cognitive rehabilitation. Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill of Trinity College Dublin presented her very positive research findings on our South Tipperary Dementia Project. Helen Jenkins , who is part of the project, spoke poignantly about the challenges involved in caring for both of her parents who had dementia.
Dr Caitriona Crowe, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry in South Tipperary and the project lead, outlined the vision and the scope of the project. Clinical Nurse Specialist in Old Age Psychiatry Noel Maher presented a panel discussion on the Dementia Support Worker initiative which is being pioneered here in South Tipperary, assisted by Christina Morrissey the project co-ordinator and two of our dementia support workers. The conference was opened by Hugh Kane of Genio and closed by Tom Costello of Atlantic Philanthropies, who co-fund the project along with the HSE.
We were absolutely thrilled with the day. The conference sold out immediately with that line up of stellar speakers and the audience included people with dementia and their families and health professionals from all over Ireland , North and South. There were some very poignant moments that brought people to tears, but there was much laughter, hope and positivity too, and people left feeling uplifted and inspired that it is possible to live well with dementia. People are still talking to us about the conference, in shops, on the streets , in nursing homes and in the hospital. Tom Costello in his closing remarks described what is happening in South Tipperary as “ the beginning of a movement”. We want to build that movement now, together with people with dementia and their families, to ensure that the future for people with dementia is bright and positive and inclusive.
Former Tipperary hurler Brendan Cummins officially launched the first assistive technology library in Ireland dedicated to people with dementia.
This new innovative service showcases assistive technologies that make everyday living easier for people with dementia and their carers.
It is sited at the Memory Technology Library at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.
Two-times All Ireland medal winner and the player with the record for the most senior championship appearances, Mr Cummins paid tribute to the new service and said he was certain it would provide huge assistance to people with dementia.
Also at the launch in the former St Michael’s Unit were representatives from the “Five Steps to Living Well with Dementia in South Tipperary” consortium, HSE senior management from South Tipperary, Carlow and Kilkenny and the Genio Trust.
The ‘Five Steps to Living Well with Dementia’ is a new and innovative Dementia project in South Tipperary that provides information, supports and services for every stage of the dementia journey and helps people with dementia to live full, enriched and happy lives at home and within their own communities for as long as possible
The assistive technology availabe in the library can be any device that makes it easier to do activities of daily living, maintains independence, help manage risks at home and reduce stress for carers.
The library has a large range of products such as one button radios, simplified telephones, memory prompters, automatic medication dispensers, orientation clocks, and much more!
The library was developed by Occupational Therapists Simone McGoldrick and Cáit Mackey after recognising the general lack of awareness about assistive technologies and their potential to make life easier and safer for people with dementia .
The 5 Steps Project has linked up with the Millennium Resource Centre in Glengoole to present the "Cook It" Project to anyone who enjoys cooking and baking or to anyone who would like to improve their cooking skills. The programme is running from the 15th of September, every Monday for two hours (from 10am until 12noon) in the Millennium Centre Glengoogle, for six weeks. Throughout the sessions you will be guided on how to make healthy nutritious snacks and meals (on a budget) in an easy, relaxed and fun way. You can bring home the recipes and the food you make, so you can continue to enjoy baking or cooking yourself. This programme represents the importance of a healthy diet in the prevention of dementia. At the end, you'll receive a certificate from the Health Promotion Department in the HSE to compliment you on your achievement. For more information, you can contact the Millennium Resource Centre on 052 9157992.
In conjunction with the Crawford Art gallery cork the "5 Steps to Living Well with Dementia" project has begun an outreach art programme for people with dementia and their carers. The last session was held on the 23rd July in Clonmel Museum from 2-4pm. The theme for the afternoon was "summertime" and we began by looking at two paintings by cork artists, Henry Jones Thaddeus (1859-1929) and Aloysius O'Kelly (1851-1928). The discussion that followed included everything from the clothes the people in the paintings wore to how the artist portrayed the evening light through his painting technique. Those among us who know about painting probably appreciated this observation a little more than the rest of us!!! The staff in the museum kindly shared some of the picture postcards from their archives. These cards dated from the 1950's and 1960's and showed scenes of the popular holiday destinations of the day, Tramore, Youghal and Clare. Some of the postcards were written on and theses were read with great interest. The weather, fun, food, accommodation and fellow travellers were popular topics, just proving some things don't change that much. Very lively discussion followed with people remembering where they spent their holidays, with whom and what they did. Making hay, milking cows (short-horns of course!!) swimming, sand castles, picnics, sunshine and rain were some of the fond memories. There was an opportunity to make your own postcards, using watercolour paints and I have to say the results were very impressive and some people got quite competitive! After all that work a cup of tea or coffee and a nice chocolate biscuit was very well deserved. It was an extremely enjoyable afternoon and definitely a new and fun experience for all. I suppose all I can say is don't miss the next session, watch local press or our project website for details.
It is in great spirits we write this post.... We held our first community walk on Wednesday the 30th of July in Clonmel. We are thrilled with the numbers that turned up to this awareness event. It was a great success in promoting the importance of exercise in dementia prevention and living well with dementia. Thanks to everyone. Here are a collection of photo's from the evening!
Well, today we had a really brilliant experience in The Memory Technology Library. We were visited by seventeen American students and their three group leaders, arranged through Maureen A. Mickus PhD, MSG Associate Professor with the Western Michigan University. Maureen and her group are travelling through Ireland for five days, visiting dementia focused sites and local tourist attractions. The travelling group were made up of students studying Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Business, Psychology, Nursing and Speech Therapy. We were so pleased to welcome them all to our library and see their reactions to the technologies we have gathered to help those with memory difficulties live well at home, for longer.
During the visit, the group received a brief introduction to our exciting project, “The Five Steps to Living Well with Dementia”. We had a guided tour of the library, which included learning about the technologies we have gathered, how these might be used by people with memory difficulties and their carer’s, the pro’s and con’s of these and our user’s experiences to date. In chatting about dementia care, we shared experiences in relation to our education and health systems, how people access them and how this impacts on working health professionals. The students had a lot to offer through their questions and suggestions around sustainability and have given the team lots of food for thought! Each member of the group filled out a library questionnaire, leaving extremely valuable comments that will contribute to our research and shape how our library moves forward. Everyone left with a snack in their belly and leaflets on our project and the technologies they found interesting, useful or applicable to their client groups.
From the Five Steps to Living Well with Dementia Team, we would like to extend a huge thank you to Maureen and her students for their very welcome visit and all the positivity they brought to our project today. It is visits like these that we can all learn from (where the student becomes the teacher), great relationships are made and a real boost is felt within the team. Thank you very much J
Cáit, Occupational Therapist, Psychiatry of Old Age