OutsideClinic was invited to speak and present to a group of carers for people living with dementia at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, where our local DAA group, the Dementia Action for Alliance, host a Memory Café.
David Baddiel, comedian and Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador - also the son of a father who has a form of dementia called Pick’s disease - said, “I think that the Wyvern running a Memory Café is very good. When someone has dementia, you’ve got to remember there’s still a real person there, not just a stereotype of someone looking at the wall with a blanket on their knees. There’s a 360 degree person in there and having Memory Cafés and not just storing them away somewhere is a very good thing.”
Philippa Harwood Little who knows the organisation well and attends the DAA meetings representing OutsideClinic, created a presentation entitled ‘The Prevalence of Visual and Hearing Impairment in People living with Dementia’, based on published material from both the PrOVIDe and SenseCog research projects, which OutsideClinic has contributed to and continues to support.
The evidence is clear that, for their well-being, having regular hearing and eye examinations are very important for a person living with dementia, and that it is advisable that their glasses and hearing aids are kept up to date. Even if the level of dementia is severe it is still possible to get a good result for 80% of those patients tested. Feedback from PrOVIDe Project Manager Dr Rakhee Shah, who was the lead Optometrist for OutsideClinic on this study, highlighted the importance of taking time, being flexible, and if possible, having a carer present at sight tests. This applies equally to hearing tests.
The audience of carers were extremely interested in this talk and presentation, and a lively Q&A session followed. All stands were busy during the breaks and Philippa, her fellow speakers and other professionals were keen to share information about their organisations in order to help sign post to each other.