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Age Concern Twyford & District
Polehampton Close
RG10 9RP
0118 934 4040

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On these pages we will be writing about the events that take place at the Centre and from time to time we will record our thoughts about matters that affect us - whether for good or ill. If you would like to contribute to this blog, or comment on posts that others have written then email us and let us know what you think!

Give and Take Care to close

Give and Take Care will cease in August 2018.

Why we should all Give and Take Care

dignitories in panelled hall

Over 60 Voluntary groups from across the Borough came together last Wednesday (November 16) for a special evening of networking at Loddon Hall in Twyford. The Borough Mayor, Cllr Bob Pitts, hosted the event, which is held annually to thank the voluntary sector, and used the evening to introduce Professor Heinz Wolff, an internationally renowned scientist, inventor and broadcaster, who has introduced a Give and Take Care project to support the UK's 'Long Term Care Revolution' programme.

Give and Take Care has a bold ambition: to solve the challenge of how affordable and human centred care can be provided in an age of increasing demand due to an ageing population. The idea is based on the idea of 'mutual exchange' where volunteers ‘Give and Take Care’ by supporting or caring for an older person in their community with charities and voluntary groups helping to recruit those who will contribute to, and benefit from, the scheme.

Cllr Pitts, Borough Mayor said: "Helping others through volunteering has long been known to benefit the care-giver as well as those receiving the care. This reciprocal scheme means that volunteers would be assured of receiving care if/when they eventually require it themselves. I wish Professor Wolff and his team every success."

Further information

  1. Give and Take Care project
  2. Give and Take Care: Gordon Holmes of Age Concern Twyford on (0118) 934 4040
  3. Civic Communications Officer Ann-Marie Bonwick on (0118) 974 6004

News release from Wokingham Borough Council, 17 November 2016

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Dementia Friends goes global – having an impact in Nigeria

Nigerian girl holding denmentia banner

Dementia Friends Nigeria recently launched with the help and support of Alzheimer's Society in the UK. Here Kiki, founder of Dementia Friends Nigeria and Rossetti Care Ltd, tells us more about the impact the programme is having in Nigeria and how Alzheimer's Society is helping countries around the world to launch Dementia Friends.

She knelt down, sobbing uncontrollably and muttering, "Please, God forgive me! Baba, please forgive me, please help me, I did not know, I did not understand…..!"

That was a month ago, and this is her story:

Her father's decline was rapid and the villagers became aware of it before she did because she worked in the city and only visited once or twice a year. The symptoms according to her were: he talked to ghosts; he would disappear into the forest for days, and when found, he would be naked, dirty and bloodied; he never slept; he spoke in tongues, and was verbally and physically abusive towards everybody including family members.

There were whispers of witchcraft and madness in the village.

"I felt shame. I practically disowned him, as I stopped visiting him altogether. He died within the year, and all I felt was great relief and release – all mine. It is now almost 10 years after his death. I now know that he must have had Dementia. My new knowledge came too late to help my father, but I can help others. Now I wonder why I never once stopped to consider how Baba felt. All that was on my mind then was how nobody would marry me, because of how he made me and the family look to the entire village!"

The woman is now a very active and vocal Dementia Friends Champion.

Alzheimer's Society has been working closely with countries like Nigeria to help launch Dementia Friends around the globe, from assisting with the resources that need to be developed, through to marketing advice, operations guidance and other important aspects of the programme. Alzheimer's Society is committed to creating a global Dementia Friends movement, and helping to spread understanding and social action worldwide.

Prior to the launch of Dementia Friends Nigeria, many people from across communities in Nigeria were taken through the Dementia Friends Champions resources; from chiefs of entire villages and religious leaders to those who work in schools and hospitals. Each person was tasked with creating 100 Dementia Friends.

As of 16th February, Nigeria has 67,755 Dementia Friends! Nigeria has a population of over 186 million – about 2.5% of the world’s population. There is a long way to go, but this is a very encouraging start.

Posted 4 March 2016 by Gordon Holmes

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A Fishy Tale

Fish fingers with garnish

It was one of those Victor Meldrew moments when I saw the story in Monday's newspaper. "I don't believe it!" I muttered, as I peered over my glasses and shook my head. It was only a few paragraphs, tucked away in the corner of a page, yet it was enough to give me "the Meldrews".

You wouldn't think that the humble fish finger could have prompted such a reaction, but it seems that in the 21st century this staple of childhood teatimes, which was first landed on Britain's fair shores 60 years ago, has now come to symbolise a deficient diet of food knowledge.

According to a survey carried out by Rowse Honey, a fifth of young adults between the ages of 16 and 24, believe that these crumb-coated fishy favourites are indeed the fingers of fish!

The study, involving 2,000 people, has highlighted a poor menu of results, revealing an astonishing lack of awareness about where our food comes from. Fifteen per cent of those questioned didn't realise that sheep provide us with lamb, or that pork chops come from pigs. Thirty-five per cent didn't know that veal was from cows. Honey proved to be a very sticky subject, which confused many of the participants. Twenty-five per cent wondered if wasps made it, while 12 per cent were certain that obtaining honey involved squeezing bees! A further 15 per cent thought that bees produced syrup.

Returning to those fish fingers, if you like to accompany yours with chips or soft, buttery mash then be warned, because nine per cent of people surveyed believed that potatoes grew on trees. Oh dear! If you "read inwardly and digest" these results, it's enough to give you a serious case of indigestion. What would Sir Walter Raleigh and Captain Birdseye make of it? Contrast these meagre rations of food knowledge with the over-generous portions of cookery programmes and books that are constantly served up. Bizarre isn't it?

Some of those taking part in the survey (25 per cent) admitted that they were embarrassed by their lack of knowledge and cited buying food from supermarkets and eating ready meals as the major reasons for their shortcomings. This highlights, yet again, the importance of teaching children to cook, whether at home or school, so that they can produce simple, healthy, wholesome meals from fresh produce and ingredients.

Just as crucial as the basic culinary skills, though, is a very real need for youngsters to be made aware of the vital part that Britain's farmers and our agricultural industry play in our everyday lives. All too often they are overlooked when we should support them and champion their contribution.

It is marvellous to see the work that inner city farms do in offering children in urban areas the chance to experience working with animals, as well as planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables. Similarly, any scheme that nurtures an early interest in gardening, so that children realise that fruit and vegetables do grow in the soil, rather than in tins or on supermarket shelves, is to be applauded. Now that is what I call truly nourishing!

Posted 18 February 2016 by Gordon Holmes

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Tales of Cats and Dogs

Drawing of a collie

It all began with Peter Rabbit. Then, along came Squirrel Nutkin, who was followed by The Tailor of Gloucester. Benjamin Bunny then appeared, closely pursued by Two Bad Mice and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. These were later joined by the likes of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten and many more. This menagerie of characters was, of course, created by the author, illustrator and naturalist Beatrix Potter who enlivened so many children's early years with her charming animal stories.

The magic that she brought to young readers continues to weave its spell into adulthood, and the fascination with the author and her work remains. Millions of people throughout the world, who grew up reading Beatrix's books, go on to visit her beloved Lake District and to see her cottage in the village of Near Sawrey.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Beatrix's birth, so it was no surprise that the news of a previously unpublished Potter story generated much interest earlier this week. The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots will be published in September making it the 24th in her series of delightful pocket-sized books.

While a cat provided the inspiration for Beatrix's latest tale, we should not forget the incredible story of a canine hero who saved England from sporting embarrassment. The dog, a four-year-old Collie named Pickles, retrieved the World Cup trophy, which was stolen while on display before the tournament held in England in 1966.

Thanks to Pickles coming to the rescue, the trophy was recovered in time for the victorious England team to hold it aloft, in front of thousands of cheering fans, at Wembley exactly 50 years ago on 30th July. If it hadn't been for Pickles and his dogged (sorry!) detective work, you can't help wondering what the organisers would have done.

If anybody has more to tell about Pickles, please let us have the information, so that we can share the story more widely.

Posted 11 February 2016 by Gordon Holmes

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Becoming a Dementia Friend

What is a Dementia Friend?

With an ever increasing older population in England, it is becoming more and more important for the general public to learn about Dementia. Dementia affects people in many ways and is often not recognised by members of the public. One may encounter a person struggling with finding the correct money in a checkout queue or with working out a bus timetable or something; they may be struggling to do so as they could have a form of Dementia.

Most people become irritated by the slowness of these people, instead by showing a bit of understanding and even assistance, which could benefit everybody.

A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. Whether you attend a face-to-face Dementia Friends Information Session or watch our online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about Dementia Friends to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.

Dementia Friends Information Sessions are run by volunteer Dementia Friends Champions, who are trained and supported by Alzheimer's Society. Each Information Session lasts around one hour. You will learn more about dementia and how you can help to create dementia friendly communities. There are information sessions running across England and Wales.

Members sitting in lounge at Day Centre

You can also become a Dementia Friend by watching an online video where you will meet Gina who is living with dementia and learn more about what it is like to live with the condition. Once you have watched the video you can sign up for your 'Little Book of Friendship', a resource pack which contains more information and tips on how you can support those living with dementia to feel a part of our communities.

You can learn more at the Dementia Friends web site.

Posted 4 February 2016 by Gordon Holmes

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Suicide among older people

Members sitting in lounge at Day Centre

The BBC has published an interesting article today (4 March) by Justin Parkinson, 'Why has suicide declined among older people in the UK?'. The article includes the following:

"We are much more concerned with older people, and therefore people are not made so lonely," adds Pickering, who is 93. He says better medical care and social services and clubs aimed at keeping people involved in society have helped. "I sometimes think of how my father was when he was ill about 40 years ago and how isolated he was then and how much better it is now compared with then."

Posted 4 March 2015 by Colin McCulloch

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