Dementia Conference at the Royal Cornwall Showground

Informative, Engaging and Energising Conference about Dementia in Cornwall

Cornwall Dementia Conference 2024

The Conference Overall

This was the third conference I’ve been to and I think it was the best so far! The venue at the Royal Cornwall Showground was excellent and all the speakers were really interesting to listen to. We heard from Teresa Greenaway and Kate Smith about the new Dementia Support Workers starting in Cornwall.

Vicky Brown talked about brain health and the important things to do in order to enhance it and the things to avoid. Kirsty Dexter talked about Young Onset Dementia on behalf of the Memory Cafe Network. I enjoyed Matt Du Fue and Julia Paul’s very interactive talk on their Living Well with Dementia groups they are running in Cornwall. They had the afternoon session but managed to wake us all up!

All the talks were great and the lunch was excellent. I’ve written a bit more about 3 talks in particular below. The whole conference was great and really worthwhile so a special thanks to Paul Cadger and all the team for organising such a wonderful event.

Quality of Life and Quality of Care in Dementia – Professor Sube Banerjee

A fascinating talk by Professor Banerjee and he somehow managed to make a very serious subject entertaining. There was so much interesting research in there, that we recommend you look him up and read his ideas and research into how we can effectively care for people with dementia.

He talked a great deal about quality of life and that this is a broad, unifying and holistic concept. It is particularly important when we think of Dementia which is a complex disorder to help people with rather than say heart disease, diabetes or surgical care. These are difficult to treat but Health Professionals have a clearer idea of options and how the disease may develop.

With medications, Prof Banerjee discussed trials that had shown some common medications to have little evidence of being effective. Some may work a bit but can cause unwanted side effects. I’ve left the drug names out but look him up online for the trials, the evidence is very compelling! The overall conclusion was that medicinal therapy should be more of a last line of defence, than a first line.

Banerjee also talked about how as human beings we have an amazing ability to adapt over time to new conditions. As we get older, this can be adapting to changes in ability to do activities of daily living and cognitive ability such as memory and decision making. With the right support in place, and if they happen slowly over time, we can live very well with these changes.

Irritability, anxiety, depression and agitation are all things that are important and can negatively impact Quality of Life. Using drugs to treat these often doesn’t work at all and can have negative side effects. We need to look at a much more holistic lifestyle and care needs to help people living with Dementia and their families.

At Home Instead, our whole model of care is built around caring for people living with Dementia using this kind of holistic approach and it was fascinating to hear how research had shown some of the things we do can be so effective.

Professor Sube Banerjee, MBE – University of Plymouth

The Filo Project

Libby and Liz talked about the Filo Project and how it helped people living Dementia and the challenges of older age. The Filo project, do Filo days which are days together in groups of up to 4. It’s a social occasion with a host who is able to pick people up, take them to their house and return after a 5/6 hour day together. They delight in providing a warm, welcoming and familiar place where friendships are made and social isolation diminished. It has had an amazing impact in Devon and Somerset and is starting to develop in Cornwall which is great news. We met Gayle Andrews as well after the talk who is helping develop the project here in Cornwall. We look forward to meeting again to see how our organisations can work in partnership to enhance the lives of people living with Dementia.

A Filo Day

Kate Smith – Lived Experience

Kate from Memory Matters held a discussion with 2 family carers and a person living with dementia about their experiences of receiving a diagnosis of dementia and accessing services and support. This was really interesting to hear and it is so important to try and gather feedback and suggestions from real people trying to adapt to a new life and access support for themselves or a loved one. There was a lot to take in but I think a consistent theme was that there is a lot available, but the information can be overwhelming. Some of the organisations offering advice can overlap in their support and sometimes the allocated worker can change and it can be difficult to start with a new person. The Admiral Service and Memory Cafe Wayfinders were mentioned as being really helpful and the new Dementia Support Workers/Advisers should also be able to help the system work better in this regard.

Home Instead Guide to Memory Cafes in Mid Cornwall 

Memory Matters

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