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  1. How to Support Relatives with Dementia at Christmas

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    Article by Maizie Mears-Owen Everyone wants Christmas to be magical but if your family includes someone living with dementia, that can present challenges which add to your stress levels. Maizie Mears-Owen, Care UK’s head of dementia services, offers advice on how support relatives with dementia at Christmas so that everyone can relax and feel loved and included in the festivities: Before the big day, get everyone together and have fun over the arts and crafts table. Christmas cards are easy to make and the shops have plenty of traditional paper chain kits which are the perfect way to engage an older person in the Christmas preparations. Why not gently lead loved ones living with dementia into the festive season and increase their wellbeing using a technique I have devised called the...
  2. The difficulty of having ageing parents

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      Watching your parents growing older is never an easy task. But have you ever stopped to think about how your parents themselves feel – especially if left to care for the other? Seeing the health, capabilities and senses of the man or woman you love deteriorating right before your eyes can cause a huge amount of strain: emotionally, physically and financially. Illnesses like dementia can change a person completely, while a decline in physical health can cause frustration and a complete change of lifestyle. If your parents are getting on a bit, with one healthy and one suffering from declining health, the healthy parent may well have told you that they are coping just fine. However, stop and think about the changes that need to be made. Watching the person they’ve committed...
  3. How does divorce affect family relations, in particular seeing your grandchildren?

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    Article by Ceri Wheeldon English life has never truly been the pastoral idyll some people would have us believe, but even so, life in England is moving further and further away from what it once was. Whether this is a good or bad thing is subjective, but there are certainly symptoms of this process that we can analyse. One example is the increasing utility of divorce proceedings across a broad spectrum of English life, including much later in life which historically has been very uncommon. This has been attributed a label: ‘Silver Separators‘.   Divorce affects people regardless of their age. There are a number of reasons why it is becoming more common, even as people get older. Largely, this can be placed with the fact that people are living for...
  4. Whats the best way to communicate with teenage grandchildren?

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    Article by By Dr Lynda Shaw Teenagers are notoriously difficult to communicate with, with parents often receiving no more than a couple of grunts to let them know that they are OK.  But grandparents can have a very special relationship with their grandchildren and play an integral role in the lives, so what is the best way to make the most of this and communicate effectively? Teenagers are less self-absorbed than we give them credit for and a lot of the time they are interested in hearing what their grandparents have to say, but it is up to the grandparent to make it relevant and interesting to the teenager. That’s not to say you need to know what’s number one in the music charts but you...
  5. Parenting teens. What is a normal teenager?

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      Article by Stephanie King HOW WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER In her second column, Stephanie King looks at what you expect from a ‘normal’ teenager. What Is Normal Teen Behaviour? Normal does not exist because it relies heavily upon perception, but perception varies from person-to-person depending on likes and dislikes, personal tolerances, upbringing, objective viewpoint, as well as what is or is not playing out. Let’s take another look from an overview angle. Life ticks past in seconds, minutes, hours and days. Before we know it, large chunks of time have passed. Not everything we do stems from conscious behaviour, indeed much more occurs automatically than we feed our conscious attention to. How we respond and interact with one another often falls right into this trap. From a very early age children learn to respond to life...
  6. Is the right family member the caregiver? Geography and gender are deciding factors.

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    Article by Jan King Nearest but not Necessarily Dearest A study of older mothers in the Boston Massachusetts area, recently published in The Gerontologist, shows that traditional expectations of who will care for elderly mothers haven’t changed much since the early years of the last century. Then, as now, daughters are expected to step into the breach when things go wrong. In my own family, my mother’s aunt, the youngest daughter, stayed at home to care for her ageing parents and never married. She became, by all accounts, a bitter old woman, and no wonder. But there’s a subtle yet important difference between then and now. Elderly mothers know perfectly well who they would prefer to care for them, but they don’t always get their way. These days, thanks to distance and the fact...
  7. What’s more upsetting, your children moving out or moving back in?

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    Article by Fab after Fifty You work hard to raise good kids who will be able to make it on their own once they arrive in the real world. And although it can be a heart breaking day when they finally leave the nest, it’s also a moment to feel proud and look forward to the next stage in your time as a parent. You get to see your kids forge careers and become independent adults; maybe one day you’ll even have grandchildren to enjoy. So it can be a bit of an unexpected surprise when one or more of your kids returns home long term. But the fact is this is happening more and more. And it’s not because we’re not preparing them for the world or because they...
  8. What shall we do today Grandma?

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    Article by Lynne Gray It’s that time of year with grandparents step in to help with grandchildren over the long summer holidays. Lynne shares her experience of spending her special time with her grandson: I recently read a report in The Independent on things to do with your children/grandchildren during the school holidays.  The report was called ‘The 10 Best days out in the city’ and showcased different activities in different cities.  The costs to enter these attractions, ranged from free to adult £30, children aged 10+ £24 for Go Ape in Trent Park.  I know these places have to pay their way, but £108 for 2 adults and 2 children for a day out is ridiculous. My grandson, Finlay, is 6 and these school summer holidays, he’ll be...
  9. Care homes can be a positive experience says Dr Lynda Shaw

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    Article by Dr Lynda Shaw Recent problems reported in the press about poor standards of care in care homes is causing families to overly worry about choosing care homes for their loved ones, according to age specialist and psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw. I believe the positives of entering a care home far outweigh rogue stories about the unacceptable and sometimes appalling care some unfortunate individuals have received in care homes. The horrors of the lack of care or poor standards by rogue care home workers are often isolated incidents that unfortunately happen in all aspects of our society. What is horrifying about them is that it is affecting some of the most vulnerable people in the country.  However, a degree of understanding that these are unique...
  10. The Pain of being Separated from Grandchildren

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    Article by Kate Long It was 2008 and I was sitting in the green room of a radio station, waiting to be interviewed about my books, when I heard her: a softly-spoken fiftysomething telling the DJ about how desperately she missed her granddaughter. The little girl’s parents had gone through an acrimonious divorce, and as part of the fallout, one set of grandparents had been entirely cut off. All of a sudden, the child on whom this lady had lavished years of love and care was gone from her life. Worse, as the law stood then, there was nothing she could do about it. It was a story which affected me very much. Long after the interview I found myself imagining that little girl, her world...
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