Judge ‘lost the will to live’ after dementia diagnosis, inquest hears

A letter found after Sir Nicholas Wall, 71, killed himself at care home stated he had ‘no hope for the future’, says police officer

A former leading family judge killed himself at a care home after he “lost the will to live” following his dementia diagnosis, an inquest has heard.

Sir Nicholas Wall, who became president of the family division in 2010 and retired on health grounds in December 2012, was found hanged in his room at Emily Jackson House care home in Sevenoaks, Kent on 17 February.

Related: NHS faces staggering increase in cost of elderly care, academics warn

Related: ‘Dementia tax’ and social care funding: the Conservative plans explained

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Fund social care through tax – anything else punishes those who need it | Jane Young

The Tories betray wilful ignorance in refusing to acknowledge that some adults need support all their lives – asking them to pay care costs is wrong

Much has been said about the Conservative manifesto pledges on social care and Theresa May’s subsequent U-turn, but one issue that has so far escaped scrutiny is the Tories’ strange assumption that social care is all about older people. This is despite the fact that around a third of those who need social care services are of working age [pdf].

Social care affects all adults who need support because of a disability or long-term health condition. This might include a learning disability, a physical disability or severe and enduring mental ill-health. The failure of the Conservative manifesto to acknowledge any of this gives the impression of a party that is wilfully ignorant of the nature of adult social care and its beneficiaries.

Related: The ‘dementia tax’ mess shows how little May thinks of disabled people | Frances Ryan

Related: Forget money – we need to rethink what social care should look like

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Age shall not weary them nor must we let cares condemn them | Letters

Older people deserve respect and relief from the pressures and fears of declining physical and mental powers, say our readers

I have great respect for Simon Jenkins – he often cuts through the codswallop that often poses as journalism today. Unfortunately, he falls into the trap of Conservative thinking on social care (We all want to live longer, but someone must pay, 1 June). It does seem reasonable that those who have built up assets in their lifetimes should fund their own social care in old age, but this misses the whole point of a progressive system of taxation. Illness, frailty, misfortune can happen to anyone, rich or poor. It’s true the better off tend to live longer, with better health, but that does not mean that individuals cannot be struck down with early-onset dementia, or another devastating condition. Why should those families suffer more than other families whose progenitors were fortunate enough to enjoy perfect health? Progressive taxation, either on wealth or on income, spreads the risk and ensures that the rich and not-quite-so-rich pay their fair share towards the collective health of the nation. An inheritance tax too, properly graduated, should be part of the taxation mix, funding excellent state care for wealthy and poor alike, whatever their individual circumstances.
Hazel Davies
Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside

• Simon Jenkins is right, someone has to pay. But the need for care is a lottery and it falls unfairly on the 10% of those families whose relatives develop dementia, sometimes before they are even considered old. My relative developed Lewy body dementia at the age of 58. If he’d had cancer, he would have been cared for, but his family had to contribute to his nursing home care – after 12 years of his wife providing 24-hour care for free, with a devastating effect on her own life and freedom. Jenkins’s reference to past family situations belies the fact that women were the carers and they are now expected to work outside the home. The amount needed to provide care nationally is not so great in a rich country that we can’t all contribute to care for the sick and vulnerable, whatever their family wealth, just as we do for sick children.
Moira Sykes
Manchester

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Reel life: the biographical films bringing joy to people with dementia

My Life Films combine music, photos, clips and interviews to celebrate the lives of those with dementia – and help carers build better patient relationships

Jo throws her arms up in enjoyment, hugs herself, laughs. She has watched the film of her life many times before, but each time it seems fresh, because Jo has dementia.

“One of the joys of this experience is she’s almost seeing it for the first time each time, and that definitely extends its value,” says her son.

Related: How memory apps can help people with dementia tap into their past | Anna Bawden

Related: Awakenings: Hannah Peel on how she harnessed music’s power to cut through dementia

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‘Nothing has changed!’: May as she announces social care U-turn – video

The prime minister claims nothing has changed after giving a speech that rowed back on the Conservative manifesto plan for social care, introducing the idea of a cap on costs

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As a GP I feel powerless to help elderly people struggling to survive

I can refer people to mental health services and social care but they are overloaded and don’t provide much help

Recently a patient brought home to me how inadequate the help I can provide my elderly patients as a GP can be. Among more than 50 phone calls I fielded one day as one of the GPs dealing with urgent requests, there were two from a patient in her 80s who is the main carer for her husband who has dementia. She also has health issues and he is unaware of the problems they face. The receptionist learned far more about the difficulties they were having from the woman’s phone calls to the surgery and from observing them in the waiting room, than I did from my snatched telephone conversations and the scrawled note left for me. I found out later that the only way she could get to the surgery to bring the sample I requested was by locking her husband in the car outside. I knew that things were difficult, but this was a new low.

Over the last year I have been increasingly involved in the care of a man who is in his 80s and moved into my practice area to be nearer to his family. He enjoys telling me about his past when he gets the opportunity and I recall how his eyes sparkled as he told me that adopting his daughter was the best decision he and his late wife ever made. He knows his dementia is worsening and was the one who recognised the initial symptoms, well before these signs were noticed by others around him. He looks crestfallen as he recounts to me how he sees the frustration and sorrow in his daughter’s eyes when he asks the same question another time. He is annoyed by his failing health and memory and feels he is a burden to those around him. At times he is too proud to ask for help.

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Experience: I rescued a woman from an oncoming train

I didn’t have time to think. I jumped out of my car, ran to the gates and ducked under them as they came down

I first saw her when I was in a drive-through restaurant near where I work in New Jersey in early March. I’d ordered my lunch and was sitting in my car when an elderly woman, who was having trouble walking, slowly crossed in front of me. She was using two canes to support herself and was hunched over. I thought, “This doesn’t seem right.” I considered giving her a ride, but my car was packed with things for work.

I’m a wine salesman and spend most of my days driving between restaurants. Because I’m in the car so much and have been involved in a couple of accidents that weren’t my fault, I’ve got a dash camera. It records what happens in front of me.

Related: Experience: I found my stolen dog

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David Baddiel: Yes, I make fun of Dad’s dementia – and he’d be delighted if he knew why

It’s not ‘low’ to point out that when Theresa May says the same thing over and over again she sounds as if she has dementia. It’s a joke Dad would appreciate

A couple of days ago, having seen the prime minister say the phrase strong and stable about 75 times in the space of a five-minute interview, I tweeted this:

I must say Theresa May is very good at saying the same thing again and again #strongandstable. So is my dad. Who has dementia.

@Baddiel Low use of your dad there… Corbyn is wayyyyy more whacked out than your old fella.

A. Don’t tell me not to make jokes about my own father.
B. I make loads of jokes about Corbyn. Read my TL.
C. Fuck off. https://t.co/7sQnpt2yXv

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Mountains of the mind: ‘I’ve become part of the landscape and it’s become part of me’

Sion Jair walks the Lake District fells every day, sometimes twice a day. He navigates without GPS, and knows nearly every rock and slope, a skill he hopes will keep his dementia at bay – and one he is keen to pass on before it’s too late

We begin in darkness and head up towards the light. It is that time just before the dawn when it’s neither day nor night. Down near Lake Coniston, I can hear an owl and a curlew calling, both claiming the hour for themselves. “I like to come this early,” says Sion. “There’s no one else around. I can’t handle crowds. I get confused.”

It’s 4.30am and I am with Sion Jair, 67, and his partner, Wendy Kolbe, 63, and we are heading up the Old Man of Coniston, an 803-metre Lake District fell noted for its sharp ascent and great panoramas of southern lakeland. Or at least we hope so: there are some clouds massing in the east.

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Should link between dementia and artificial sweeteners be taken with a pinch of salt?

How people’s capacity for forgetfulness and lies may have impacted on research tying stroke and dementia to diet drinks

They were supposed to be the healthy alternative to their sugar-rich siblings. But now lovers of diet colas and other low-calorie drinks have been hit by news that will radically undermine those credentials: a counterintuitive study suggesting a link to stroke and dementia.

The study in the journal Stroke may cause a rethink among those worried about obesity, diabetes or a possible early heart attack from sugar-rich drinks who have been considering making a change. It comes to the alarming conclusion that people polishing off one can a day of artificially sweetened drink are nearly three times as likely to have a stroke or develop dementia.

Related: Stroke and dementia risk linked to artificial sweeteners, study suggests

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Call for minister to quit over damning report on Adelaide nursing home

SA opposition leader says if Leesa Vlahos doesn’t resign she must be sacked after revelation of dementia patient abuse

Pressure is growing on South Australia’s mental health minister to quit over a damning report on the standard of care at a state-run nursing home for dementia patients.

The opposition leader, Steven Marshall, says Leesa Vlahos must go and if she refuses to resign the premier, Jay Weatherill, must sack her.

Related: Stroke and dementia risk linked to artificial sweeteners, study suggests

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Stroke and dementia risk linked to artificial sweeteners, study suggests

Drinking a can of diet soft drink a day associated with almost three times higher risk, say researchers – but critics warn against causal connection

Consuming a can a day of low- or no-sugar soft drink is associated with a much higher risk of having a stroke or developing dementia, researchers claim.

Their findings have prompted renewed questions about whether drinks flavoured with artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of serious illness, as heavily sugared drinks have already been shown to do.

Related: How Britain plans to lead the global science race to treat dementia

Related: No evidence sugar-free soft drinks aid weight loss – study

Related: Half of fizzy drinks have more sugar in one can than adult daily limit

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Terry Jones: ‘I’ve got dementia. My frontal lobe has absconded’

The Monty Python star talks about learning to live with his illness

Terry Jones first exhibited signs that all was not well with his health in July 2014. He and his close friend Michael Palin were performing with the rest of the surviving Monty Python’s Flying Circus troupe in a show of sketches and songs, Monty Python live (mostly) at the O2 in London.

“Terry was always very good at remembering lines,” recalled Palin last week. “But this time he had real problems, and in the end he had to use a teleprompter. That was a first for him. I realised then that something more serious than memory lapses was affecting him.”

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Dementia sufferers to receive devices to block nuisance calls

About 1,500 elderly and vulnerable people will get gadgets in first wave of funding for scheme announced by Theresa May

The UK government is to fund high-tech call-blocking devices to protect dementia sufferers and vulnerable people from nuisance phone calls, although only around 1,500 people will be given the gadgets under the initial funding.

The £500,000 project will install trueCall devices in the homes of elderly and vulnerable people identified by doctors. The machines block all recorded messages, silent calls and calls from numbers not pre-identified by the homeowner, which the government says will offer particular protection for dementia sufferers.

Related: Living near heavy traffic increases risk of dementia, say scientists

Related: Plagued by nuisance calls? It’s time to ring some strategic changes

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Alzheimer’s: ultrasound safely delivers drugs to damaged brains of mice

Scientists at Queensland Brain Institute find noninvasive technique slows progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice

Australian researchers say they have made a promising step in the future treatment of Alzheimer’s disease after discovering ultrasound can effectively and safely deliver drugs to the damaged brain.

Scientists at the Queensland Brain Institute found the noninvasive technique successfully penetrated the blood-brain barrier to deliver a therapeutic antibody to the brain. This then slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice, according to a study published in the journal Brain.

Related: New Alzheimer’s test can predict age when disease will appear

Related: Dementia’s cost to Australia doubles in five years to almost $15bn

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