When we lose our memory through old age or dementia, we are no longer able to access the stories of our life, the experiences that shaped us. At this point, the music that helped to define us once again becomes one of the most important things - indeed perhaps, the most important thing we have.
For the last three years Japan has been holding workshops to learn about how best to support people with dementia. It's their part of the version of England's 'Dementia Friends' programme where information sessions help everyone be understanding to those with dementia living alongside them. In Japan over 4million people have attended these sessions over the last eight years.
Having a conversation may not seem like a luxury, but there is a point when it can become too late to talk, and you just never know if or when that point may come. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority never had a full and frank discussion with their loved ones about dementia, their wishes for care and their future planning.
Like so many sufferers, Joan and Gracie are both under 24-hour care after endangering their lives and putting their families through agonizing worry. From leaving taps running and stove fire burning to wandering to the shops wearing pyjamas and sitting at the bus stop at midnight waiting hours on end for the bus.
When we think about our wellbeing, we think of avoiding major diseases, being financially comfortable, enjoying our daily lives and achieving our goals. Often we never stop to consider those invisible yet vital qualities of support, understanding and love that are provided by the people we keep close to us.
In all the coverage following Margaret Thatcher's death, very few headlines have been made by the fact that she had dementia. Many refer to her 'failing health' and 'deterioration', and report the stroke that caused her passing, but it seems that mentioning the word dementia when you are talking about a former prime minister is rather taboo.
The Mid Staffs crisis is testament to the appalling problems which besiege the NHS organization or shall we say NHS disorganization and I believe are down to the fact that the whole thing is a haphazard configuration of dilapidated sites - the operations of which can never be properly mapped nor measured and thus efficiently managed.
Worldwide there are 35 million people with dementia - these numbers are set to double in the next 20 years. A shocking statistic, but it is a reality.
I recently attended a government-related healthcare function where I was confronted with an award-winning company owner who boasted that he'd been abl...
Over the next 20 years the number of over-65s living with cancer will more than double, from around 1.3 million in 2010 to close to 3 million by 2030. Today, around one in eight over-65s will have received a cancer diagnosis; by 2030, this will be more like one in five.
I was just 12 years old when my father began to exhibit the symptoms of what we discovered 10 years later was vascular dementia. My twenties weren't about university life, all-night parties and angst with boyfriends, they were about supporting my dad to have the best life he could, just as he had supported me as a child.
Dementia care has dominated the news agenda in recent weeks with talk of an oncoming 'dementia crisis'. Debates are ongoing around how to deliver the best standards of care to the growing numbers of people living with dementia.
Christmas can also be the time when early signs of dementia first become apparent. Here at Alzheimer's Society, we often see a spike in the number of calls our Helpline receives just after Christmas, so we really do appreciate how difficult a time of year this can be.
The machine, beeping steadily away in the background, reassuringly spells life. Suddenly it goes haywire. Something's wrong. The patient needs urgent...
The part of the brain that dementia damages is the bit that gives us access to our memories, not the memories themselves. Most memories are stored as images. Images can give access to emotional memories.
I have been working with people with dementia for over 20 years now, most recently in my role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Dementia Care, at University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW).