Archive for September, 2011

The Pies the limit: Dennis shares story for local project

Dennis outside the Clark’s Pie shop, Grangetown (photo by Adam Chard)

“I couldn’t wait to leave school and open my own Clark’s Pie shop”, says Dennis Dutch of Dinas Powys, who quit education at the age of 14 to join the family business.

Now 81, and despite being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Dennis is still  involved in running the Grangetown business that he established in 1955, now managed by daughters Beverley and Amanda.

Started by Dennis’s grandmother, Mary Clark, at Victoria Park, the company has always been a family affair, with some of Dennis’s grandchildren now also taking an active role.

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Singing Aloud with the Welsh National Opera

Kate Woolveridge leads the choir

Carers and their relatives with dementia took part in an exciting project during 2011.

From April to July the Welsh National Opera, in collaboration with the Cardiff and Vale branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, hosted a residency project for the group, to create a musical experience based on WNO’s production of Turandot.

Group members benefited greatly from the experience of Mezzo Soprano Kate Woolveridge, whose enthusiasm and energy added to the enjoyment of each session. The emphasis was on having fun, not perfection, so no one worried if they hit a wrong note!

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Crossroads group enjoys Cardiff Bay tour

The group at Harry Ramsden's fish restaurant

A group of more than twenty carers and their relatives enjoyed a trip to Cardiff Bay recently in glorious sunshine.

The annual summer outing, organised by Crossroads Care in the Vale, began with an excursion around the bay aboard the cruiser Seren y Bae. The group disembarked at Penarth Marina and joined the road train for the return journey across the barrage. Brian of Cardiff Bay Tours accompanied the group throughout, and provided a fascinating commentary on both journeys, giving insight into the history of Cardiff docklands and the recent development of the area.

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Cardiff conference gives insight into dementia

Professor Bayer explains the impact of dementia medication

Dealing with Dementia was the focus of a conference held at Cardiff’s Copthorne Hotel recently.

The aim of the event, organised by the Vale of Glamorgan Social Care Workforce Development Partnership, was to increase awareness of the effects of dementia on sufferers and their carers.

In the opening address, Anne Carpenter of the Alzheimer’s Society told the story of a couple, Peter and Anne Oldacre, whose lives were drastically altered when Ann developed early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The Oldacres’ plans for a long retirement in Spain were curtailed as Ann deteriorated, and they returned to Britain where they were effectively homeless as they were unable to sell their property in Spain. Ann, who was initially wrongly diagnosed with depression, experienced a rapid decline in both physical and mental ability, which could be seen in the accompanying film.

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Older carers suffer ill health says report

Older carers often experience ill health

A survey conducted by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers has revealed that many older carers suffer with ill health because of their caring responsibilities.

More than 600 carers aged over 60 took part in the charity’s survey, with almost 70% reporting that they have neglected their own health as they are so focused on the wellbeing of their relative.  Some carers have even cancelled operations as they were worried they would not be able to care for their loved one whilst recovering from surgery.

The Princess Royal Trust has now called for GPs to give more support to older carers, including an annual health check and screening for depression. The charity’s policy director, Moira Fraser, said: “Carers want to look after friends or family members – but often it’s at the expense of their own health. “We heard about people with crumbling spines, heart problems and cancer. Sometimes people’s knees are so worn out they feel as though they can’t walk at the end of each day. Others suffer from mental problems – such as stress and exhaustion. They worry about the future and have feelings of hopelessness.”

Alice O’Hara, 63, from Glasgow, cares for her mother, Mary, 89, who has dementia. Ms O’Hara said: “I’ve got arthritis myself and my health has got worse over the last year. Caring makes me feel worn out and stressed and it stops me doing what I want to do.”

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