Sep 21st

The Dementia Golden Ticket - An Emerging New Model of Care

By Christine B

Where we live in East Sussex, our local CCG has been working hard on developing a pathway of care for people who have dementia, in all it's forms.  This pilot project has been widely acclaimed, and has won awards including the National Primary Care Awards 2016 for "Pathway Innovation of the YearAward", and several other accolades.

The pilot was commissioned by the CCG in response to  a clinical review of dementia services which highlighted delays in receiving a diagnosis, limited access to services and limited choice, poor patient outcomes and the strain on carers.

Having heard so much about the project, I arranged a trip to the "Birthplace" of the Golden Ticket in Buxted, and took with me 7 other members of our local Patient Participation Groups - we arrived in a minibus, very ably driven by my husband, and we arrived on time despite getting lost due to my own stupidity!

We were blown away by what we heard and saw.  We had a talk from one of the GP surgery members (a Paramedic), who is leading on the project, and he told us that the Golden Ticket is transforming care for people with dementia, as they are being treated with a holisitic mix of services to address health and wellbeing in every aspect of their lives and that of their carers.  

Once diagnosis is confirmed, the person with dementia received their "Golden Ticket", which includes direct point of contact with the practice nurse; social activities including a "Memory" Cafe (which are open to all, including carers, giving the opportunity to chat and take part in activities), access to a "Dementia Guide" who is the main point of contact for support and advice and guidance not only for the person involved, but for the whole family.  Amongst things they do is to set up Advanced Care Plans.

"Blip" clinics are held for those moments of crisis and people are seen very quickly.

We were then taken in small groups to the Memory Cafe, which in this case is hosted in the local Pub!  It was a vibrant community - nobody looked or felt out of place or "different" - it was just a group of people enjoying a cuppa and activities - when we left the very noisy group, they were having a "musical" quiz (guessing the 2nd line of a song and then singing it).  Amongst one of the regulars was a little boy of about 3 years of age, who apparently had been a member since he was 4 months old!!

A happy and inspirational visit it was for us all 

Jun 27th

In reply to today's news about waiting times for the NHS

By Maureen J

A Tale of Two Doctors

Two patients limp into two different doctors’ offices with the same complaint:

Both have trouble walking and may require hip surgery.

The first patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.

The second patient sees his family doctor after waiting three weeks for an appointment. He waits another eight weeks to see a specialist, when he gets an x-ray, which is not reviewed for another week. Finally he has his surgery scheduled for six months from that time, pending decisions regarding his age and remaining value to society.

Why the different treatment for the two patients?



The FIRST is a Golden Retriever taken to a vet. The SECOND is a Senior Citizen.

May 15th

Dementia Awareness Week

By Mary B

It seems that every week is an awareness week for something........


However this particular subject - dementia - is of particular concern to me, as I lead a local initiative to make our town dementia friendly. I know many of us have experience of this terrible affliction through family members.


Alzheimer's Society want us all to become more aware of the following facts and figures: 


       225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one person every three minutes 

     Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK live with a form of dementia. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia.     This will soar to two million people by 2051 

     Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia 

     Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them 

     Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 

     Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting  

   Anyone looking for confidential advice, information and support, can call Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22. You can also email enquiries to or visit

Alzheimer's Society report ‘Building Dementia Friendly Communities: A priority for everyone’ can be found here:



Feb 25th

Hands on for Reiki, Anyone? from Julie B

By Mary B

Hands on for Reiki, Anyone?

Everyone wants optimum health and well being these days. Many people turn to alternative medicine and holistic remedies.
One wonderful alternative is Reiki - a kind of hand's on healing method which has been around from the end of the 19th Century.
It was started by Dr Mikao Usui, priest of a small university in Kyoto, Japan, and brought to the west by several Reiki disciples who'd studied under Usui's tuition.
Reiki transfers healing energy to the participant with the use of certain symbols and mantra's and hand positions on or around the body. The word 'Reiki' (pronounced ray-key) means Universal Life Energy and it flows from the highest level to the Chakra's of your body and soul, working from within.
Reiki is:


  • Safe
  • Natural
  • Centering
  • Balancing
  • Harmonising
  • Stress Relieving
  • Heals at all levels.
A person may need several sessions depending on their problem. Most practitioners give their client's an hour for a full Reiki treatment. Sometimes, it is beneficial to only give half an hour and go direct to the problem, or ailment. To relax completely an hour is needed for this 'magic energy' to work, alongside soothing music, and I would use, if possible, a comforting blanket!
Sometimes Reiki will find other problems in the body and the client may feel pain in another part of their being, but that means that the Reiki is working - if not where it's meant to!
I have given healing to bad backs and arms and it has worked - on only one session. But sometimes, as mentioned, it can take longer.
If you love your body and want it to stop hurting Reiki can be the answer; it relieves stress and tension, can treat acute problems as it balances the body and chakra's as a whole thing. It supports personal growth, giving intuition, creativity and focus.
It is effective on animals as well, and can be used on yourself as well as others. It can help build energy and vitality. Reiki works at the causal level and helps 'unblock' any blockages, and it flows through your clothing without any need to undress. The receiver usually feels a deep warmth and relaxation.
I had one man with a very painful shoulder which couldn't be raised. After 20 minutes of reiki, (to which he remarked on the warmth from my hand), I asked him if he could try and raise his arm a little - his arm went straight up to the ceiling!
That is only one example. I used reiki on a pet gerbil of ours and it perked up no end, running around it's cage, free of pain. It did die some months later, as it had a lump in its chest, we discovered later, but I like to think I was instrumental in helping ease it's pain and distress in a peaceful way.
Using a certain symbol distant healing can be sent to someone through time and space - if you have that person's name. Ideally, it is best if they know the time of this healing for they can make themselves comfortable to receive it.
Through the seven chakras of the body Reiki can cover the upper brain, right eye and pineal gland, as well as the lower brain, left eye, nose, spine, ears and pituitary gland, throat, thyroid gland, upper lungs and arms and digestive track, heart, lungs, circulation and thymus gland, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas and solar plexus, reproductive organs, urogenital system, kidneys, gonads and legs, andrenal glands, bladder, genitals and spine. Reiki covers it all!
Each Chakra corresponds to certain hands on therapy when placed lightly on the body. This is not a massage technique, rather a unique energy transference from one trained being to another, and it can be used with other complimentary medicines. There are several hand positions that aid the healing process and each position can take up to ten minutes, which makes Reiki so gentle, refreshing and relaxing!
By Julie B.
Dec 8th

Happy Hygge!

By Mary B



Winter can be a tough time of year for everyone. The days get shorter and the nights get longer and colder.

This can drain you and leave you longing for summer, flicking back through your holiday photos or planning your next getaway. 


That’s why the Danish concept of Hygge, a form of self-care specifically in the winter months, has recently become popular in the UK. Hygge (pronounced “hooga” in case you were wondering) is one of those Nordic words which doesn’t have an exact literal translation in English. It actually comes from a Norwegian word which means “wellbeing” but has since been adapted by the Danes for a more specific context.


Hygge is designed to help you deal with the winter by seeking comfort, warmth and cosiness. Hygge revolves around being warm, cosy and happy, particularly with life’s simple pleasures. In essence, swapping the harsher edges of the colder months for roaring fires, mugs of gluhwein or cocoa, big jumpers and other such classic winter treats. 


Hygge is sitting beside a roaring fire, Hygge is being surrounded by your loved ones, Hygge is the domestic contentment you can only get from lounging on the sofa with a cup of tea. Hygge could come from spending time with family and friends at home, or getting wrapped up and heading to a Christmas market. It’s just about winter wellbeing.


When you put it all together like this, Hygge is probably the reason why Danish people are reported to be the happiest in the world.


In Denmark the traditional Christmas meal is very hearty and consists of any of a range of meats, plus potatoes, gravy and vegetables. For dessert everyone has a rice pudding, one of which has an almond inside. Whoever gets the rice pudding with the almond inside is given a very special “almond gift” to celebrate Christmas.


Hearty meals are a perfect way to enjoy winter, not only are you indoors while you’re cooking up a storm, but you get the satisfaction of dining out on the meal you have created afterwards. What could be more Hygge than that!?



With thanks to DFDS and Steph Fox.


Nov 4th

Views on the NHS

By Maureen J

Too many people and not enough money to go round. It has been like this for a very long time. Money will always be found for war, but there’s never enough for peace. Growing old is a curse that all must come to – if they survive long enough. Being valued for what you have contributed throughout your lifetime is no longer relevant. If you’re old – you’re a nuisance as soon as you need those regular visits to the GP or hospital.

About ten years ago there was a vibrant older people’s movement holding enthusiastic annual rallies at Blackpool that engendered little or no coverage by the national media. Neither the much publicised Joan Bakewell, Tony Blair’s appointed Older People’s Champion, nor Ruth Marks, the Older People’s Champion appointed by the newly devolved Welsh Assembly Government, considered it worth making the effort to do more than send representatives rather than appear in person when invited to attend.

As for the NHS, it’s been a gradual descent for a once great concept into the current chaos since Barbara Castle was Health Minister and started tinkering with a system that was working reasonably well. Sadly, successive ‘Health Ministers’ have considered it their duty to add their own five-pennyworth of tinkering ever since – until we are now faced with a mire of bureaucratic paperwork, mismanagement, and wasted money that probably began with the catastrophic mistake of getting rid of matrons, deputy matrons, almoners and the chairman of the board of governors who oversaw the day to day running of every hospital and then replacing them with a plethora of clerks, secretaries, receptionists, administrators, managers and chief executives; all of whom have to be paid – some with exorbitant salaries – instead of providing the necessary number of nurses and doctors so vital to an effective service.

Nurses used to be trained in their own hospitals – and were excellent at their job – they had to be or matron would have descended on them like a battle-ship in full sail. Nowadays, too many new nurses have degrees first, then start nursing. They are adept at pressing the right computer buttons, but appear to be sparing with the actual caring-for-patients that might involve menial tasks like washing and tending to the very personal, but basic side of nursing as we knew it. This might of course be because numbers are too few, or because those with degrees consider themselves too well qualified for such demeaning tasks; either way, patients suffer – with often fatal results.

Oct 22nd

Why Warmth Matters - at all times

By Mary B

Why warmth matters

I don't normally share this sort of information on DropBy as it is only of relevance in Surrey. However, after reading about a member's mother who has been poorly, I thought it might be helpful to post this news item.....     I am sure most counties will be running similar programmes, even if they are not funded by Scottish Power!

"Thanks to funding from Scottish Power, Surrey Community Action is launching a new ‘Warmth Matters’ project, which will give practical advice and support to families on tight budgets to help make their homes warmer and healthier.

The project aims to help people living in fuel poverty, particularly young families, by providing free impartial advice and practical ideas to keep their homes warm and healthy and save them money.

Fuel poverty is the result of high fuel prices, low incomes and high fuel bills due to energy inefficient homes. Families and older people who are on low incomes and who live in older properties which are hard to insulate often have to choose between heating their home or paying for food.

Living in a cold house can cause a variety of health problems. Being cold for long periods can increase blood pressure, putting people at risk of a heart attack, stroke or hypothermia.  For people with chronic illness being cold can make conditions worse, particularly breathing or cardiovascular problems. There is also evidence that children who live in colder homes find it harder to concentrate at school. Living in a cold home can also cause mental health issues as well as making it harder to recover from illness and hospital treatments.

Claire Dawson from the ‘Warmth Matters’ project is running free group sessions at centres across Surrey to help people find the best fuel deals, get their homes warm even on a tight budget and help keep families as healthy as possible over the winter. There will also be opportunities after the group session to meet Claire to discuss individual concerns such as bills, grants and any specific problems about heating.

For more information or to book a Warmth Matters advice session for a group of your beneficiaries please contact Claire Dawson via email or on 01483 566072." 



Sep 16th

Five Alzheimer’s Resource every Caregiver Needs to Know

By Mary B

A guest blog from Max Gottlieb at Senior Planning based in the USA.


Although the exact number is unknown, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that nearly eleven million Americans are providing care for a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They also estimate that this voluntary group contributes around eighteen billion hours of care per year, totaling $220 billion of unpaid labor. That doesn’t even include the foregone wages they could be making if they weren’t caregiving. All of these numbers are expected to rise with the coming tide of baby boomers.


With no cure and no real means of prevention yet, Alzheimer’s will continue to place a heavy load not only on those who are directly suffering, but on friends and relatives as well. Anyone who is familiar with Alzheimer’s knows that caregiving is not even the hardest part. Caregivers are forced to see those they love become entirely different people, sometimes losing their very essence. Although this sounds extremely bleak, there are many people going through the same thing, and as a result, there are resources available. Below are five resources that every caregiver should be aware of:


1. AgingCare describes itself as “your partner in caregiving.” This site is for caregivers of all types. It ranges from people dealing with diabetes, to Parkinson’s, to Alzheimer’s. It’s a rich resource that can answer most caregiving questions, whether the questions are financial or emotional in nature.


2. This is the homepage of the United Kingdom’s Alzheimer’s Society. It has tons of helpful articles as well as ways to get involved with finding a cure. It also has very active forums which allow anyone who is affected by dementia to participate, whether you’re a friend, caregiver, or suffering from it yourself.


3. The Alzheimer’s Association in the United States runs this site and it has forums dedicated to caregivers or those suffering from dementia. The community is very active and incredibly friendly.


4. This site was founded by a woman named Joan Gershman whose husband died in June 2015 after a twelve-year battle with the disease. Self described as “a place of comfort for spouses who are trying to cope with the Alzheimer’s/dementia of their husband/wife,” this site specifically focuses on the issues of dealing with the disease as spouse. Since these issues are unique, this is an incredibly helpful website in finding likeminded people who are going through the same thing.


5. HealthUnlocked is one of the largest social networks for people with health concerns. It supplies answers to all of your health questions, latest news, and support from people in similar situations. Since it’s not specifically devoted to Alzheimer’s, it’s beneficial for those who want to discuss the disease in the context of other health issues that may be present. Caregivers will find support and answers to any questions they may have.


September is world Alzheimer’s Month, but for those dealing with the disease, the concern exists year round. With Alzheimer’s prevalence, those dealing with it need not feel isolated or alone. There are many resources available beyond the five I mentioned so if you have any favorites don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments.


Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors or the disabled and specializes in long-term care; including memory care, at-home care services, and applying for state and federal benefits.

Jul 24th


By Phyl G
Elders may not feel thirst as keenly. 
Scientists warn that the ability to be aware of and respond to thirst is slowly blunted as we age. As a result, older people do not feel thirst as readily as younger people do. This increases the chances of them consuming less water and consequently suffering dehydration.
One sign of proper hydration is the color of the urine—it should be clear or a pale yellow.
 Copied and pasted this from an article I was reading
Phyl G
Jun 14th

When is it time to get your first mobility scooter?

By Mary B

After your children move away and you return to life without them, things can start to feel quiet. You’re suddenly left with long stretches of time, and without some of the responsibilities that might have kept you busy in recent decades.

It’s in these long stretches of time that you might sit down and begin to take stock, of how you’ve changes since you first became ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’.

The parenting years are a whirlwind. They do take their toll physically and mentally, but once they’ve over they feel like they were almost a break from reality. Before and after your children, you’ll feel like the same person but will have aged quite significantly. In the space between, you were an on-the-go parent managing temper tantrums, school runs and graduation days. Until you stop, a mobility scooter probably isn’t even on your radar.

Are mobility scooters just for the disabled and the most elderly?

With all of your new free time, you might find a new lease of life. Suddenly you’re free, once again, to enjoy your own hobbies and interests. It’s a nice place to be, once you properly embrace it. But you might find that things that you used to do are no longer possible like they were – a long day of shopping might take its toll on your joints, and walks in the countryside could simply leave you aching and out of breath.

A mobility scooter isn’t something to put off until you consider yourself to be ‘elderly’. Instead of seeing it as an enemy, look at it as a friend and companion. If a mobility scooter would help you to enjoy more independence right now, or if it would reduce the amount of pain that you’re in, then what have you got to lose? You could even purchase a folding mobility scooter which packs neatly away for storage, so that it need not take up too much space in your home.

You’ve raised children. You might even be the one that gave birth to them, and whilst the years of raising them have seemed to race by, the fact is that decades will have passed and that you will be a different person.

As an empty nester, you deserve to enjoy all of those activities that you stopped finding time for when you were tending to grazed knees, chaperoning on school trips and offering a shoulder to cry on during the years of young romance. A mobility scooter shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle, but an aid.

When is the right time?

Most people choose their first mobility scooter when they realise that their natural mobility, or at least their lack of it, is beginning to affect their lifestyle. They might start planning trips around how far they can walk, or may begin to feel worried about the need to take a stroll to the shop. Alternatively, for some people, the trigger is a holiday away from home where getting around independently becomes particularly important – it’s in situations like these that people might consider a folding mobility scooter that can be packed into the car boot or taken onto a plane.

Remember that you don’t need to use a mobility scooter full time. In fact, it’s recommended that you keep up an active lifestyle as much as possible, to avoid any further deterioration. You can choose just to use your new mobility scooter on your longest days out, or when you expect to have things to carry and would benefit from the help of somewhere to sit and a handy shopping basket for your belongings.

Getting a mobility scooter isn’t a final decision that stops you from ever walking again. It’s just a decision to get something new that you can choose to use occasionally. If you don’t know that a mobility scooter is right for you, and if you’re worried that you’d be wasting your money on something that you might not use, then why not start by borrowing or hiring one instead? That way you can see if it will fit into your lifestyle, and if it will make things better for you, before you commit to the investment.



This is a guest blog on behalf of Mobilty Smart 

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