Month: January 2013

Fascinating blog post about touch

holding the moment of holding

A recent edition of the BBC Worldservice programme, The Forum, focussed on ‘The real vs the virtual’. Amongst the guests was Edmund de Waal, potter and author. Bridget Kendall, the host of the programme spoke, rather gushingly, about how holding one of de Waal’s pot allowed her to commune with de Waal himself… I am being somewhat unkind as her response is not uncommon amongst people blessed with, what I would consider to be, a romantic imagination. Lots of people, historians and archaeologists being foremost amongst them, have a strong, emotional response to holding a a special object or being in a certain space. Through the object they believe themselves to be in direct contact with the person who held or made that object or who occupied that space in the past. I have to confess to a certain cynicism as I don’t share this response; however lots of…

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Loneliness in Old Age Linked to Alzheimer’s

A new study in the US published in this month’s issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests there is a strong link between loneliness and Alzheimer’s in old age.

“Dr Wilson said that loneliness probably has a physical impact as well as an emotional impact on the old person at risk of Alzheimer’s. Perhaps loneliness affects the brain so that as people get older they are more susceptible to the age-related decline in neural pathways.”

The Lonely Society Report examines how modern society has changed the way people connect – It aims to raise awareness of loneliness and its effect on our mental health, detailing steps people can take to reduce isolation.

Apple of my eye

My own grandmother pictured above who recently passed away aged almost 92 was a gregarious character who raised five children. She lived through two wars and eras in which a sense of community existed. She spent the last 30 years of her life living alone – but was lucky to have had many visitors and her memory intact right until the very end of her life “God gave me a remarkable memory” she would say. Many other elderly people are not so lucky and spend months on end without seeing anyone at all, or having any conversation, on a daily basis: a sad and harsh reality of today’s society.

Living with Dementia

An inspirational extract from a blog by Bruce Bane

Dementia and Conversation

“I think people take conversation for granted. Not me. That’s because I’m not good at it anymore; I’m not good at holding up my end of a conversation. I don’t know what to say next or I don’t know where the conversation is going or I get stuck on one part of the conversation or my response is off topic. Some of this depends on how well I know the person, how well I know what we’re talking about, or how well I’m feeling. For whatever the reason I’m not a good conversation partner anymore.

Even the simple questions, “How are you?” or “How do you feel” are hard to answer. I could say “Pretty good,” or “Not bad,” or “Okay,” but none of those are true because I don’t really know how to tell you how I am. I can usually tell you if I feel tired or if I have some pain, but there’s so much more that I can’t put words to (or put the right words to). Specific questions might help, but to leave me to figure it out on my own is confusing and frustrating. Anita suggested I just be honest and say “I don’t know.” And she’s right; that tells it how it is. And it’s a request to help me figure it out.

But what I want to tell you is this: enjoy the little conversations you have during the day. Whether they’re just time fillers or conversations with friends, don’t take them for granted. Instead, see them as little gifts waiting for you each day.”