The latest news from Honiton Carers Support Group

By The Editor

17th Sep 2021 | Opinion

Honiton Carers Support Group's Winnie Cameron
Honiton Carers Support Group's Winnie Cameron

Honiton Carers Support Group enjoyed two very interesting speakers at their last meeting on Wednesday, September 25, at Hospiscare Kings House.

Winnie Cameron introduced Dr Michael Flexer From Exeter University to talk about his project, the Waiting Times Project.

"The title came from the research positions of the two principal investigators. One is Beckett scholar and was interested in those 'Waiting for Godot' experiences in relation to healthcare and generally about how we wait and experience time in this super fast 21st century world.

"The other is a psychoanalytical researcher and is interested in how time and waiting can be prescribed by clinicians as a practice of care - e.g. when you go to the GP and she says, 'we want to wait and watch what happens rather than rush to treatment.'

"Messages in Bottles was meant as a fun way of expressing the idea of putting something together that can then go out into the world, and into a different time and space, like a time capsule.

"One group fastened on their metaphor of the starling murmurations, another on their metaphor of telegrams and airmail letters, so the idea of messages in bottles really vanished.

"The project has loads of objectives across the different parts of work. My objective is to engage with different groups of people, to share and tell stories that relate to waiting and time.

"For the hospice work, we've conceptualised the so-called 'waiting time' as a gift of time, so more like 'extra time' or 'shared time' where we can do something special together."

Winnie thanked Michael for his thought provoking presentation and introduced the second speaker of the afternoon.

Brian Standring who talked about Playlist for Life.

Brian gave some background of how he became involved with this project. He has been involved with Dementia for 8 years. He took a friend living with dementia for walks around Blackborough once a month, turning into once a week for the whole Morning, helping the wife of this man to have a morning of respite.

He is a Dementia Friend, and Dementia Champion, an Alzheimer's Society "Side by Side " volunteer (allocated a family in Wellington]). He spends an afternoon with them, generating respite for them.

He also supports five people in Somerset and their carers. He is also involved with the DAA in Taunton and Wellington as well as sitting on the Alzeimers Panel. He said he was passionate about Dementia and helping and supporting people.

He asked the question 'Why am I here today?' and explained that it all started with a book called 'Where Memories Go' by Sally Magnuson.

Sally and her sister's mother were living with dementia and used to be fearful and become agitated when having baths.

They started singing songs she knew well when bathing and were surprised when she started to sing and stopped being agitated.

This brought him on to the subject 'Playlist for Life' - This is a list of music and songs unique to each person.

The Alzheimer's Society has asked him to become involved in this project which he has only been doing this for a few weeks.

There is a training session in November in Bristol and he is looking for at least two volunteers to attend. Brian showed a short video which highlighted the positive effect music can have on people living with Dementia. and their response.

He said: "Music is the first and last channel of communication. When played, multiple areas of the brain light up. Music is creative, energises is calming, relaxing, healing, and decreases pain. It also gives a connection between the Carer and the Cared for when enjoyed together. Music affects parts of the brain in a very positive way."

Music Detective Skills:

-First find out what is personal to the person living with Dementia i.e. memory between the ages 10 to 30 years.

-Songs from other peoples playlists.

-Look for clues and track down fragments of songs.

-Try to do this as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Benefits - Alters mood, calming, energising, recall of memories, can ground someone, restore a sense of self, helps the family, and benefits the staff of hospitals and care homes.

What is required to set up your 'Playlist for Life' Help Point?

-Help Books, put up a poster with 'Songs through the Ages' at a Control Post.

-Train individuals to explain the idea. Two people needed to do this.

-Create a help point, to hold all the leaflets about this project.

Winnie thanked Brian for his very interesting talk which was followed with light refreshments.

For further information about any of the above including Honiton Carers Support Group please contact Winnie Cameron at [email protected] or telephone 07974 636926.


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