Thanks to everyone who came along to the Alzheimer Cafe Leixlip on October 12th. It was another good night with an excellent speaker.

Dr Siobhan Kennelly, a Consultant Geriatrician in Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown talked to us about well-being and memory. The highlights of her talk were:

1. Keeping socially active AND keeping physically active are very important when it comes to keeping our brains healthy. Dr Kennelly showed two short videos on the night. These are part of a wider series of videos about brain health and they can all be found using the link below:

Click here for all of the FreeDem videos

2. Just as there are many things that we can do as we age to keep our brains healthy, some things are not so good for our memory: for example, smoking, alcohol, sleeping tablets. There are other conditions such as high blood pressure and Type II Diabetes that can also be harmful and it is important that your check in with your GP regularly in order to keep these under control.

3. A Memory Clinic, like the memory service in Connolly Hospital, is there to support people who are worried about their memory. They help figure out if there is an underlying cause and how to manage and support changes in memory to keep people as well as possible for as long as possible. Dr Kennelly talked about why getting support is important. Dr Kennelly provided everyone with a handout that describes some of these reasons.

Click here to get a copy of the handout: Why Getting A Diagnosis Matters: Staying well for as long as possible. Copyright: Professor June Andrews. Taken from the book “Dementia: The One Stop Guide.

4. Pay attention to your own instincts. You know yourself or the person you are caring for the best. If you see anything unusual or any change that is sustained over a couple of days, check with your GP.

5. Having to go into hospital can be stressful and disorientating for anyone, but particularly so for a person with dementia. Being aware of this, making staff in the hospital aware of this, and ensuring that they know something about the person themselves so that they can relate better to their patient is always helpful.

6. Finally, Dr Kennelly talked about how it can be enjoyable and helpful to build up a life story for the person with dementia that helps preserve who they are. There are many ways to do this, some by hand and others using technology. There is no right way – go with whatever works best for you.

Read more about My Digital Life by clicking here.

Read more about life stories in the Alzheimer Society of Ireland booklet, Living with Dementiaclick here to get a copy of the booklet.