Written by Clare Hannah.
I spent a day at “The Alzheimer's Show” at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London. The show includes a range of talks and workshops and a chance to browse exhibition stands from a range of providers.
There were stands from Care Home Providers, Home Care agencies and Live in Care agencies, all promoting their own brands of course, but also offering to discuss different approaches to dementia care and support for carers.
There were lots of technology providers, from standard telecare, through a range of tracking devices, to using technology in new and exciting ways. The interactive tables that project a moving image that people can interact with were really popular! Sweep away the leaves in one area and actually catch the goldfish in your hand in another!
There were games and ideas for stimulation, gadgets galore, sensory toys, adaptations for cars, reminiscence tools, dementia friendly signage, sensor systems and more. There was a stand showing how whole rooms can be turned into reminiscence centres with appropriate backdrops, pictures and objects (old telephone, pub signs, punch and Judy etc)
There were several solicitor firms, pointing out the benefits of financial planning, will writing and power of attorney. After some discussion one agreed that their firm might hold a one off “clinic” to support clients with will writing. They could offer this free of charge, asking customers to consider a charity donation or legacy donation.
Education and research were supported, by Health Education England, Bournemouth University centre for aging and dementia, Salford Institute for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Research, and the Alzheimer’s Society. There was also information from Re:Cognition Health about clinical trials they are running and how patients can get involved in the testing of new drugs and therapies.
I joined a workshop session from “vocal vitality” who encourage care homes to use singing and music therapy with their clients. It was fun when we all sang “Que Sera Sera” and waved silk scarves! I also listened to a talk on future developments in telecare and tracking technology. I could have spent all day in talks from a huge range of providers, from reminiscence therapy through rare dementia subtypes, personal stories and carer support to academic research and legal issues.
I returned home, tired but inspired, with three bags of information, at least 3 months worth of free pens for the office and lots to reflect upon and include in daily work going forward. Definitely worth a day in London!