(as published by Tristan Blythe, Group Editor, Thewealthnet)
Cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, remains a somewhat taboo subject. It is, understandably, an area many find difficult to discuss.
However, the UK’s wealth management sector cannot afford to ignore it and the impact it has on a firm’s interaction with clients, according to David Durlacher, chief executive of Julius Baer in the UK and Ireland.
Continue reading “Don’t ignore legal responsibilities around clients with dementia, Julius Baer’s UK CEO warns wealth management sector”
A news story this week about a man who shot his wife in a care home and was diagnosed with a mental illness called paraphrenia (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-36865867) put me in mind of a patient I saw a few months ago.
My patient confidently told me that there were a group of little people (about 3 inches tall) on her garden fence who fire green arrows at her. She feels these arrows prick her skin and she is convinced they are loaded with poison which will kill her. The arrows penetrate brick so wherever she goes she is subject to a constant volley. Furthermore the little men read her thoughts, so she can never evade their clutches; they always know where she is. And they talk about her – commenting on Continue reading “Don’t forget the little people”
A few years ago the BBC wanted to film me because I was doing a clinical trial on Ginkgo biloba extract as a treatment for dementia. They turned up with a camera crew and demanded that I wear a white coat. I explained that as a psychiatrist this may not send the right message but they insisted as it would add credibility to the science I was discussing. Then, for additional visual effect, they asked I sit in front of a microscope. The last time I had done that was in the VI form! Still they insisted, so I asked my colleague and friend, a brain scientist, to borrow his microscope. It was HUGE! A massive piece of kit the size of a motorbike. Finally they asked that I look down the microscope at a slide of a person with dementia. My kind friend lent me a slide- one made by Alois Alzheimer himself with a slice of brain from his first patient, August Deter.
Why tell you that tale? When Alzheimer wrote about Auguste Deter Continue reading “Dementia: Looking beyond memory”
It was reported in The Lancet medical journal last month that the prevalence of dementia in the UK has fallen from around 850,000 to 670,000. This figure seems encouraging, but the risk is that it brings complacency to the world of dementia care.
Although it is impossible to say with certainty, there are probably two separate reasons for this reduction. Firstly, the often quoted higher figure was derived by consensus of opinion from experts rather than plain science. This was not an entirely inappropriate method of estimation, because Continue reading “Keeping dementia on the radar”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.”
I’m really pleased that Dementia is now internationally recognised as a life-threatening / terminal condition as this means that Dementia palliative care can be taken seriously. My interest in dementia palliative care came from caring for my mother, who is living with dementia. At one stage she was very ill; her memory plummeted and her communication was next to nothing. I had difficulties accessing services and I had poor knowledge of what was available for her, and the fact that she was from Africa created further cultural complications. I went through an emotional roller coaster; I had no clue what my mother’s preferences of care were when she was not able to contribute to discussions, and when we thought that she was about to die, Continue reading “Dementia Palliative Care: It’s time to start talking”
The newly published Report Women and Dementia provides the first official recognition that dementia disproportionately affects women. This imbalance arises as a result of it being women who do most of the caring (both as family members and as paid staff), and also because age is the major risk factor and more women live longer than men. While in truth I can’t think of why it has taken so long for this thinking to be documented, I welcome the report in finally drawing much needed attention to this marked gender imbalance.
From relative obscurity half a century ago, with the Prime Minister making it a priority at the G7/8 meeting in 2013, dementia has really shot up the national agenda. The successful Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities campaigns led by the Continue reading “Women and dementia”