Archive for January, 2013

Dramatic rise in unpaid carers

The number of people providing unpaid care for disabled, sick or elderly relatives and loved ones has risen dramatically in the last decade, new data has revealed.

According to census statistics, the number of carers in England and Wales increased from 5.2 million to 5.8 million between 2001 and 2011.  The greatest rise was among those providing more than 20 hours of care a week, where figures rose to a staggering 2.1 million people  – over half a million more than 10 years ago.

Worryingly, this time period signifies the point at which caring starts to significantly impact on the health and wellbeing of the carer, and their ability to hold down paid employment alongside caring responsibilities.

Helena Herklots, Chief Executive of  Carers UK, said “The Census 2011 results show that caring is a growing issue as our population changes and ages.  An increase of 11 per cent in carer numbers is a really significant rise”

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People living to 105 doubles in eight years

Official figures have revealed that the number of people living to 105 in Britain has almost double in just eight years. The Office for National Statistics found 640 Britons have reached this age or even greater, compared with just 350 in 2002.

Experts predict that the country’s ageing population will continue to grow older, with increasing numbers living far longer that their parents and grandparents.  But although the extra years will be celebrated by most, many will not have saved enough to fund a long retirement or ill-health in old age.

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Doctors refusing to carry out ‘pointless’ tests for dementia

Doctors are refusing to carry out tests for dementia as they believe it is pointless as there is no effective cure available, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. Mr Hunt said the country should be “ashamed” that so many people were being denied treatment which could stave off the condition for years.

Across the UK just 46% of people with dementia were diagnosed in 2012 according to the Alzheimer’s Society and in some areas as few as one in three were diagnosed. In Wales, just 38.5% of those living with dementia received a formal diagnosis. In Scotland the diagnosis rate is markedly higher at 64.4%. Mr Hunt commented that “some health professionals ..believe that without an effective cure there’s no point putting people through the anxiety of a memory test – even though drugs can stave off the condition for several years…… Yet with access to the right drugs and support for a partner, someone can live happily and healthily at home for much longer”.

News from Jo in The Hague

“The past five months in The Hague seem to have flown by, but it’s beginning to feel more like home. We were lucky to have good weather here late summer, which meant we were able to explore a lot of the area by bike. The public transport is good, and it’s quick and easy to get to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Delft.

Since September I have been a part-time volunteer at an organisation called ‘ACCESS’ which provides support and advice to the city’s overseas community. I started off working as a Helpdesk Advisor, but from January I will be the Helpdesk Coordinator, a job I think I will enjoy. I am still looking for paid employment, but the part-time voluntary work gives me the opportunity to do other things, such as learning Dutch! I have completed my introductory Dutch course, and I’ve signed up for the next level. The most difficult thing I find with the Dutch language is the pronunciation. Very different to English, although some similarities with Welsh, so that helps a little.

I often think about you all, especially on 13th December when it was the Crossroads Christmas party. My dad attended the event and said how lovely it was, so well done to Matt for helping to make it such a success. I’ve been back to Cardiff/the Vale twice since I moved to the Netherlands, and I will be back in 2013 so maybe I’ll bump into some of you on one of my return visits! In the meantime, I would like to wish you and your families a peaceful New Year.”                           Jo Hendry

Enjoyable Musical Christmas Social at Penarth Cons Club

On Thursday 13th December a group of carers and their dependent relatives enjoyed a festive musical treat provided by musicians from Live Music Now as part of the Christmas social. David Doidge, Reisha Adams and William Helliwell provided an eclectic selection of songs and carols.  The families seemed to thoroughly enjoy the high quality of the music.

 The families also enjoyed a cold buffet and a raffle.  We would like to thank all those who provided prizes for the raffle.  We very much hope that you enjoyed the Christmas lunch. I would also like to thank the care staff for their support during the day.  If you have any comments on the social  please feel free to contact Matt on 029 2070 0057 Option 3.  We are always aiming to improve things for the next time.


Dementia Friends Initiative Launched

Many of us take for granted how easy it is to do everyday things like shop, visit the bank or take part in our favourite hobby. But people with dementia face many obstacles to these seemingly straightforward tasks. Previously well-known routes can become foreign, bus timetables can become unworkable, money transactions confusing, and social groups daunting.

As the brain function diminishes, people with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives so that they can live independently for as long as possible.

Alzheimer’s Society research found that nearly two thirds of people with dementia feel lonely, and almost half reported losing friends following their diagnosis. With one in three people over 65 developing dementia, it’s vital we change this picture. We know people generally don’t want or mean to turn their backs on people with dementia. However, if they don’t understand why or how a person with dementia may need support, it’s much more difficult for them to provide it.

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