August – Tea party at Waldringfield
Next meeting: Thursday September 14th at 2.00pm in Kirton and Falkenham Village Hall.
Speaker: Colin Westren
Subject: Tools with a mission
Competition: An old tool

The first item at our July get-together was a report by Edna Stuckey concerning her trip to Liverpool as our delegate at National WI’s AGM. From what she told us it sounded like a very interesting and worthwhile event, but there is nothing surprising about that as it almost always is. The mayor of Liverpool attended and among other highlights was a talk by the founder of Green and Black ethically sourced chocolate who, although given no encouragement at all by her careers teacher at school, feels she has done her small bit to help save the planet. Then this year’s two resolutions were discussed and voted on. The first, on alleviating loneliness, was carried by a majority of 69.3% and the second, on plastic pollution of the oceans, by a 98.9% majority. Later a lady called Susie Dent of Countdown Dictionary Corner told how, even from a very young age, a dictionary was her favourite reading matter on car journeys. She is particularly fascinated by phrases called ‘malaphors’ which are accidental merging of two expressions to create one nonsensical one such as ‘it’s not rocket surgery’, ’till the cows freeze over’ and ‘Susie, you’re a minefield of information!’. Edna ended by hoping that her account had wetted people’s appetite for attending next year’s event which will take place in Cardiff.

After this our speaker, Jim Lowe, took the floor in order to tell us about Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer Society initiative. Evidently a Dementia Friend learns what it is like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action. Things such a person can do to help include getting in touch with someone with dementia, volunteering to join an organisation that aids such people, campaigning for a change in other people’s attitude towards victims, wearing a Dementia Friends badge, telling five friends about the aims of the initiative and finally generally being more patient with anyone encountered in the local community on a day to day basis.

Mr Lowe explained that dementia is not a natural part of the ageing process: after all, not everyone is afflicted as they age: only one in fourteen people over the age of sixty five will suffer. It is in fact an illness and people as young as thirty can get dementia. While Alzheimers, a type of dementia that affects 60% of patients, starts with short-term memory loss, this is not necessarily a sign of dementia but could in fact be just part of getting old. Evidence of true dementia usually comes with an inability to put words in the right order, problems with stairs and things like highly-polished floors which can look like holes or stretches of water and sometimes a change in inhibition. A person who was normally very shy can become quite outspoken. Amongst sufferers old memories have a permanence while new ones tend to be fleeting, so some people believe that they are living in the past. They believe that electric kettles should still whistle and when they speak of home they are referring to the place where they grew up which apparently still exists just round the corner.

People with dementia remain the person that they once were, although you may have to dig below the surface of their current state to find them. A number of sufferers will respond to stimulation in the form of music whether dance, vocal or instrumental. If, during their lives, they have had certain interests, these interests will still be there even if they can no longer pursue them, so showing a corresponding enthusiasm can revitalise the persons’s brain as can crosswords, puzzles and quizzes. Sleep is also vital for warding off symptoms, something which I feel I ought to take to heart as normally I don’t get enough!

V E Bines


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