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Alzheimer's study finds signs years before symptoms

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RESEARCH SHOWING Alzheimer’s-related changes begin to develop 25 years before symptoms such as memory loss manifest themselves has the potential to have a crucial impact on future treatment, an Irish advocacy body has said.The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows a timeline of changes in spinal fluid, brain size, the appearance of brain plaques and other factors that precede the onset of Alzheimer’s in people who are genetically disposed to developing the brain-wasting disease.

Plaques and “tangles” – a build-up of proteins in the brain – gradually damage and eventually destroy nerve cells, causing the characteristic loss of memory, reason and sometimes language.“It’s really the first report that we have in living people of these changes,” said Dr Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, who helped lead the study. Current drugs for Alzheimer’s only treat symptoms and none has yet been able to keep the disease from progressing.

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Are you interested in becoming a carer?

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Have you ever thought of becoming a carer? Want to know what being a carer entails? Why not come along to our recruitment fairs being held in July. Our Comfort Keepers recruitment team are holding recruitment fairs this month in Ashbourne and North Dublin.

The dates and locations for our recruitment fairs are as follows:

Wednesday 18th July - The Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne : 9.30 am - 4.30 pm.

Thursday 19th July - Clarion Hotel ( Dublin Airport) : 9.30 am- 4.30 pm

Friday 20th July - City North Hotel (M1) :9.30 am - 4.30 pm

Make sure to bring along a copy of your C.V - for more information feel free to call us on 01 804 7338

Service with a home focus

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For frail and elderly patients, remaining in an acute hospital setting is not ideal

OLDER PEOPLE are the biggest users of acute hospitals and while the medical, surgical and specialist services available in these hospitals are of utmost importance, the busy environment and the focus on intensive medical and immediate post-operative care isn’t always conducive to full recovery.

In fact, once the acute medical complaint has been dealt with, older people often do much better in a well-organised and caring rehabilitative setting.Still fragile, good care at this stage can improve their quality of life immensely and a rehabilitative setting offers a more holistic treatment programme including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, advice on diet and even home visits.

The Royal Hospital Donnybrook, Dublin is one non-acute hospital which has recently set up a short-term post-acute rehabilitation care unit linked to St Vincent’s Hospital,

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Still no way out for discharged delayed

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Right now, there are about 700 patients lying in beds in acute hospitals nationwide who don’t need to be there. Though fit to move on, they’re not going anywhere – that’s because there is nowhere for them to go.

Walk through the Republic’s hospital emergency departments, meanwhile, to see a different picture. Sick and injured people who, due to a shortage of beds, just can’t get in.

Our hospitals mirror an airport in disarray, with delays and confusion on clearing recovered patients for takeoff. Meanwhile, a constant queue sits in a holding pattern, their fuel running ever lower, as they await permission to land.

Established last June, the Department of Health’s Special Delivery Unit was set up to monitor hospital traffic, to “unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system”. That the monitoring is

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Irish Red Cross Volunteers lend a hand during National Carers Week

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Therapeutic Hand Care Volunteers will provide hand massage at events all over Ireland to support the 6th National Carers Week (June 18th-22nd). These events for Family Carers included pamper days, tea dances, lunches and day trips. Irish Red Cross Therapeutic Hand Care volunteers provided hand massage at many events for family carers who deserve a pampering treat.

Therapeutic Hand Care volunteers are trained to give a hand massage and manicure to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, day care centres and people in their own homes. The relaxing effect of the massage reduces stress and pain and the manicure is often a boost to morale. The treatment is a way to communicate care through touch and the fact that a Hand Care Volunteer spends time with a patient can often be the most valuable aspect of the service.

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Report calls for new models of emergency care

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A NEW blueprint for the development of emergency care in Ireland has recommended that services be delivered through networks of hospital facilities offering different levels of emergency care.It says the proposed networks should be made up of emergency departments in hospitals that operate on a 24-hour basis, as well as new local emergency units and local injury units with more limited opening hours.

The report of the national emergency medicine programme, drawn up by representatives of virtually all grades of staff in the emergency medicine service and published by the HSE yesterday, forms part of a series of reviews of specialities across the health sector. Calling for the development of new models of care, it says patients should be assessed, discharged or admitted within six hours of arrival in an emergency department.

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Homecare for elderly must be made a statutory right

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IN OLDER and Bolder, we meet older people all over the country who share a common message with us: “I want to grow old at home.” We hear from people who are afraid of losing limited but highly valued homecare supports.

As one individual told us recently, “My home help comes every day for one hour. I am 96 years old. If I was to lose this service, I would not be able to live alone.” The fact is that we have yet to meet a politician, a civil servant or a public servant who argues against the idea of ageing well at home.

However, this gives cold comfort to older people who observe the reality that cuts to respite services, home help services and daycare services are imposed even as Ministers repeat the mantra that they should be supported to remain in their homes for as long as possible. It is little wonder many older people and their families are

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150,000 could have dementia in 30 years

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By David Richardson

An international conference on dementia has heard that 150,000 people in Ireland could suffer from the illness within 30 years.

Professor Suzanne Cahill of the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin, said that at that present 40,000 people with dementia may need long-term care – double the total number in long-term care now.

Cahill also argued that there was a need to plan for new services to be introduced, not just nursing home care for those with the illness.

The Minister of State for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People Kathleen Lynch, told the conference that the Government will publish a national dementia strategy next year.

Prime Time follow up

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Last night's Prime Time did a follow up on their previous investigation of the Home Care sector. It highlighted an internal HSE report into 2 Home Help Organisations that showed serious lapses in Garda vetting, reference checking and general corporate governance.

Speaking afterwards the Minister, Kathleen Lynch, said that while the Government will legislate for home care regulation it is likely to be closer to 2015 /16 before it comes into place. We are obviously disappointed at this disregard towards vulnerable older people. As an industry we will redouble our efforts to have this regulation expedited.

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Quarter of older people are victims of financial abuse

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One in four older people fell victim to financial abuse last year, figures reveal.

The HSE received 2,302 allegations of elder abuse, a 9% increase on 2010.

The most common type of abuse reported was psychological — it accounted for more than one third of cases reported.

In 20% of cases the alleged abuse was neglect, while in 12% of cases it was physical.

There were 429 cases of self-neglect, with a further six related to organisational abuse.

Sons or daughters were the alleged perpetrators in 44% of cases, followed by a partner, spouse, or other relative at 18%. In almost half of all cases the alleged abuser and victim were living together.

The gardaí were notified about 248 cases of alleged elder abuse last year.

Frank Murphy, chairman of the health authority’s national elder abuse steering committee, said the increase in reported cases showed that people were more aware of the issue.

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106 carers in a year took away dementia patient’s right to dignity, says wife

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A MAN suffering from dementia was given 106 different carers over the course of a year, his wife disclosed yesterday.

Jeanette Maitland said the stream of different faces sent by agencies working for the council's social work department contravened her husband Ken's basic human right to dignity. Mr Maitland died from a dementia-related illness last week and his funeral was held yesterday.

Last night council officials agreed to investigate the concerns raised by the case after campaigners called on local authorities to change the way they deal with dementia sufferers.

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Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing

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The HRB Centre for Primary Care Research Research Briefs in Northern Ireland has carried out research on medication. It has found that medication that is deemed potentially inappropriate ie those that lack evidence based indications, pose a higher risk of adverse effects and that older people are particularly vulnerable.

To read more click here

Thousands of falls in elderly should be prevented: report

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Thousands of deaths among the elderly could be prevented with action to prevent falls, NHS managers have said.

Falls in elderly people is one of the leading causes of death in the over 75s due to complications caused by fractures.

Well coordinated care between the NHS and social care, emergency services and GPs could prevent 30 per cent of falls, according to a report by the NHS Confederation.

There are 89,000 cases hip fracture in Britain, one of the highest rates in Europe, most of which are sustained during a fall.

The charity Age UK has estimated 7,000 lives could be saved in the over 65s each year if widespread exercise programmes were implemented to prevent hip fractures from falls.

The report highlights that the Department of Health has estimated that a falls prevention strategy could reduce the number of falls by 15 to 30 per cent. The report said Government policies for the last 20 years have focused on prevention, health promotion and integration as the way to tackle falls.

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10 Minutes with Helen Butler from Comfort Keepers Cork

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In The Cork Independent this week Comfort Keepers' Helen Butler is profiled. See the article below.

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Helen Butler is the Client Care Manager for Comfort Keepers in Cork

Name of your business?

Comfort Keepers Home Care

Location?

Melbourne Business Park, Model Farm Road, Cork

Client base?

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Meet the Comfort Keepers Recruitment Team in Wexford this Weekend

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Meet the Comfort Keepers Recruitment team in Wexford this weekend.

We at Comfort Keepers were delighted to announce our expansion and the opening of our new office in New Ross with 30 carer jobs for wexford and 545 jobs nationwide. Due to our expansion, Comfort Keepers will be attending the Wexford Employment and Advice Fair in search of jobseekers this weekend.

The Employment and Advice Fair, takes place in the Wexford Opera House and will be open on Friday 20th April from 3pm to 8pm, and Saturday 21st April from 12 noon to 5pm.The event is aimed at Irish and EU workers looking for jobs locally.

Speaking about the Fair, Minister Burton said: “I am delighted that over 400 jobs will be available at the Fair from local, national and international companies. Zurich Insurance PLC, Datapac Ltd, Quest Software, Aldi and Comfort Keepers are just some of the companies attending and recruiting for job vacancies in Ireland particularly in the Wexford area. There will also be a CV clinic as well as agencies offering advice in a variety of areas such as business start-up, taxation, training and education.”

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Minister reveals intermediate care plan for elderly

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THE MINISTER for Health has said the Government is to spend €28 million to establish a new intermediate care tier, to assess and treat older people while ensuring that they do not enter into long-term care earlier than is necessary.

Speaking at the opening of a new 200-bed mental health and care facility for older people in the Highfield Healthcare facility in Whitehall in Dublin yesterday, Mr Reilly said it was important that elderly people were not moved into long-term care unnecessarily.

“It’s to ensure that when frail elderly patients are admitted to hospital that they go to an appropriate ward where their acute medical needs can be met and where an assessment can begin in terms of their longer term needs,” Mr Reilly said.

“When they’ve been there for a number of weeks, if no decision has been arrived at, they will move on then to an intermediate care facility where they will have access to rehabilitation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and a fuller assessment done and then ultimately go home or be admitted to a long-care health facility,” he said.

“We have in the region of €28 million to put towards this,” he said, adding that €13 million would come from the Fair Deal Scheme while €15 million would come from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

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Loneliness is the biggest problem faced by older people according to a new study

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Loneliness is the biggest individual problem faced by older people living alone, according to a new report, “Older people - experiences and issues” published by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP).

It is particularly acute in rural areas with a reduced level of human contact as a result of declining public services, such as the closure of post offices and reductions in other local services including transport.

This report on the experiences and issues of older people in Ireland also covers their attitudes to growing old, the younger generation, family links, income support, crime, housing, religion and employment.

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Yoga can help Alzheimer carers cope

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Yoga can help Alzheimer's carers to cope better and improve their quality of life, according to new research.

Researchers in the US suggest that using yoga to engage in very brief, simple daily meditation can lead to improved brain power and lower levels of depression for caregivers.

The study, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), looked at 49 caregivers from 45-91 years old who were taking care of their relatives with dementia.

The participants were divided into two groups: a meditation group was taught a brief, 12-minute yogic practice that included an ancient chanting meditation, Kirtan Kriya, which was performed every day at the same time for eight weeks.

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On the floor of a friendly factory

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IT IS A freezing Monday morning on the outskirts of Athy, in Co Kildare. About half a dozen men are already gathered in a unit of an industrial estate. The other units are quiet. This is the local “men’s shed”.

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association is a countrywide movement of around 40 “sheds” or clubs where men meet, often to work on DIY projects. Based on an

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Comfort Keepers to Create 545 Jobs

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Irish Owned Comfort Keepers Home Care to create 545 new jobs nationwide

"We are delighted that our focus on the provision of quality home care has led to the continued expansion of Comfort Keepers.” “It is also huge boost of confidence for us as an Irish owned family run business to be able to create this level of employment nationwide over the next 12 months”, Bob Power – Managing Director of Comfort Keepers Home Care

Comfort Keepers Home Care is delighted today to announce the opening of 2 new offices and training centres and the creation of 545 new jobs in 15 counties. These offices and training centres will be opened within the next month with the immediate creation of 6 full time jobs and 200 part time jobs.

An additional 19 fulltime and 320 part time jobs will then be created over the next 9 months existing offices.

Never lose hope, Colm, says the man who was diagnosed 35 years ago

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He is Ireland's Stephen Hawking, a man who has lived longer with motor neurone disease than anyone else in the country -- yet he has never taken one tablet for his condition.

When Andy McGovern's knife and fork started falling from his hands in 1977, doctors told him he would be dead within five years.

More than 35 years later, he is living life to the full. The disease took away the use of his arms and hands, but, in a rare case of remission, it did not spread any further.

Since then, the 78-year-old Leitrim man has written a book with his toe, climbed Croagh Patrick twice without a stick, and learned to enjoy his favourite tipple through a straw.

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'I use Braille to do my school work'

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MY EDUCATION WEEK: MICHAEL O'CONNOR (15): A second-year student in Holy Family Community School, Rathcoole. He was born with a condition called Peter's Anomaly, a degenerative eye disorder

SATURDAY

Had my piano lesson today. I don’t use Braille for music yet – I just learn the pieces on each hand by ear and then I practise, practise, practise. I’m on grade five now and it’s one of my favourite things to do. I often just play stuff that I’m listening to on my iPod at the time – Calvin Harris, Rihanna, Tinie Tempah, that sort of thing.

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Call for 'elder councils' to help communities

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COMMUNITIES WOULD benefit from the creation of “elder councils” which could draw on the many and diverse “capabilities and contribution” of senior citizens, according to a new report.

Senior citizens are also often “well capable” of sustaining their communities when younger people have to leave, one of the report’s authors, Prof Eamon O’Shea of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, noted. “It’s a misconception to assume that communities are doomed in these cases, in that older people have so much to offer,” Prof O’Shea said.

“There are key improvements which can be made, and which don’t have to cost money, to ensure there is adequate support for ageing populations,” he noted.

Minister of State for Older People Kathleen Lynch and the North’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill, welcomed the research at a conference hosted by NUI Galway yesterday. The study, said to be the first of its kind on the island, involved over 100 interviews in 10 rural communities across the 32 counties.

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Lack of sleep leads to memory decline

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PEOPLE who suffer from disrupted sleep may have memory problems in later life, new research suggests.

Scientists have linked poor sleep with a build up of amyloid plaques -- sticky clumps of protein that build up in the brain which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers tested the sleep patterns of 100 people aged 45 to 80, and found that 25pc of the participants had evidence of amyloid plaques, which can appear years before the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease begin.

People who woke up more than five times each hour, or those who spent less than 85pc of their time in bed sleeping, were more likely to have amyloid plaque build-up.

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Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper on Home Care 2012

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LEGAL ASPECTS OF CARERS

LEGAL ASPECTS OF CARERS click here to read...

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