Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s Society

Friends of Dame Barbara Windsor to run London Marathon for Dementia Revolution

Close friends of iconic actor and national treasure Barbara Windsor have unveiled themselves as an all-star team known as ‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ that will run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ on the running track

To the delight of the well-loved screen star, the team will be running for the Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign created by dementia charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK for the event’s Charity of the Year.

In a video released by the team, the star-studded group of actors who worked with Dame Barbara on popular soap EastEnders, met for a preparatory training session with Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, the leader of the inspirational team.

The group donned Dementia Revolution running gear for a spirited stretching and sprints session with professional trainer and coach Martin Yelling, before sharing their motivations for taking on the incredible challenge in support of close friend Barbara, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

Those bravely pulling on their running shoes are Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter, who all forged firm friendships with Barbara during their time on the soap.

United in support of the star, the group have joined the Dementia Revolution campaign in a bid to raise much-needed awareness of dementia and to raise £100,000 to power ground-breaking research into the cruel disease.

Barbara Windsor herself previously expressed her support for the Dementia Revolution in October 2018, when husband Scott announced that he would be running the marathon on 28 April, coincidentally his 56th birthday, in a video that received thousands of views.

Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society with almost a million people living with the condition in the UK – it is now the country’s leading cause of death, ahead of heart disease. There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure the diseases that cause dementia, but scientists are working tirelessly to beat the condition.

The Dementia Revolution sees Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK working together to overthrow old attitudes towards dementia and raise millions of pounds for the most ambitious dementia research initiative the UK has ever seen – the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), powering ground-breaking research to find better treatments and a cure.

Speaking about the creation of Barbara’s Revolutionaries, Scott said: “From the bottom of my heart I really admire all of the team for taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution – it is such an amazing show of their love and friendship towards Barbara.

“It’s one thing to be friends with someone, but when people say that they’re going to give up their spare time and much needed days off and instead dedicate them to a cause that means so much, then that really is extraordinary – to both Barbara and me it’s so incredibly special.”

Dame Barbara Windsor added: “It means so much to me to see some of my closest friends coming together to support this cause. And I know it will mean a lot to everyone else living with dementia.”

Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is absolutely fantastic that so many close friends of Dame Barbara Windsor have come together to form Barbara’s Revolutionaries and are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution. It’s a display of true friendship in support of a cause that is so vital.”

Click here to sponsor Barbara’s Revolutionaries.

Research reveals postcode lottery of care

Responses to a Freedom of Information request to local authorities have revealed a worrying postcode lottery of care, Royal London has revealed.

Royal London logoThe insurance company contacted 150 local authorities, of which 125 responded. The replies show a huge variation in both the amount councils will pay towards care home costs, and the extent to which people have to ‘haggle’ with their local authority to get a good deal.  Elderly people who enter care in a ‘crisis’ situation and do not have family members to advocate on their behalf could lose out when it comes to negotiating care fee packages, according to Royal London.

The research identified three different approaches taken by local authorities to funding care:

  • Authorities which have a fixed ceiling for care home funding which they will not exceed, regardless of actual care costs
  • Authorities which have a published ceiling but which regularly exceed it on a case-by-case basis
  • Authorities which say they have no set fee limit but negotiate each placement on a case by case basis

Commenting on the findings, Dominic Carter, Alzheimer’s Society Senior Policy Officer, said:  “The unacceptable postcode lottery of care that people face nationwide has been exacerbated by a lamentable lack of funding from Government. Local authorities have been left with precious little resource to provide the care people with dementia need.

“Because people with dementia have such complex needs, places in care homes are on average seven to ten per cent more expensive – but the rates local authorities pay hardly ever recognise this additional cost. On top of this, the report today highlights how much local authority funding differs across the country, heaping even more financial pressure on families in unlucky postcodes.

“The Government says it is committed to reforming social care, but we need to see enough funding to provide good quality, affordable care for everyone with dementia, no matter where they live.”

Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, added: “We have uncovered a disturbing patchwork of support for people needing residential care, which varies hugely depending on where you live.  The most worrying variation is the extent to which residents are expected to haggle with the council in some parts of the country.

“Whilst responding to individual needs and circumstances sounds like a good thing, it is very likely that older people who have vocal family members to support them will be able to strike a better deal. Local authorities must be very careful to ensure that they do not take advantage of the poor bargaining power of vulnerable elderly people, leading them to accept the cheapest care provision rather than the most suitable”.

Sir Geoff Hurst unites with Alzheimer’s Society at Memory Walk

England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst is joining forces with Alzheimer’s Society to tackle dementia in support of his fellow 1966 World Cup heroes who are living with the condition.

Sir Geoff HurstSir Geoff has pledged his backing for Memory Walk, Alzheimer’s Society’s flagship fundraising event which is taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland this autumn, in honour of former team-mates Martin Peters, Ray Wilson and Nobby Stiles and their families.

The former England and West Ham striker has teamed up with the UK’s leading dementia charity to appeal for people to take part in the 34 flagship walks – including the first night walks in London, Liverpool and Cardiff – which will raise vital funds to improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.

The 75-year-old, who famously scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final victory over West Germany, is also gearing up for his local Memory Walk which will take place at Cheltenham’s Pittville Park, on Sunday, October 8 (11am).

He will be officially opening the event before embarking on a three-kilometre walk alongside hundreds of families who will be among up to 110,000 walkers striving to help raise £9 million  for people affected by dementia.

Sir Geoff, who recently led the Alzheimer’s Society United Against Dementia campaign with fellow England icon Gordon Banks, said:  “The fight against dementia is a cause that is very close to my heart and I wanted to do my bit to support people affected by the condition like Martin, Ray and Nobby by raising funds through events such as Memory Walk.

We were always there for each other when we were England team-mates and I will always be there for them and their families now as they live with dementia.”

Sir Geoff added: “I have done my own little practice walk and I’m raring to go on what I am sure will be a very emotional occasion. It will mean a lot to me because even though none of my family members are living with dementia, people like Ray, Nobby and, especially Martin, are like family to me. I am keen to help because we had a special relationship that will always remain special because of what we achieved as a group of people.”

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes said: “Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks are going from strength to strength each year – which is just as well because with dementia set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer, we must unite more than ever to show dementia we are no walkover.

“While dementia can devastate lives without help, every pound raised by Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.”

Alzheimer’s Society is urgently calling on people to unite against dementia – register now at memorywalk.org.uk to find a walk near you.

Celebrities urge public to unite against dementia

Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the public to set aside their differences – from age to tastes and social standing to political allegiances – and unite in the fight against dementia, as it’s set to become the 21st century’s biggest killer.

Jo Brand and James Cracknell

Celebrities and sports stars including Jo Brand, James Cracknell, Meera Syal, Robbie Savage and Uriah Rennie are backing the biggest ever campaign from Alzheimer’s Society calling on people to come together to defeat dementia. The campaign is also being supported by Richard & Judy, Carey Mulligan, Hugh Dennis and Sally Lindsay.

The charity launched the campaign on 24th April with a TV advertisement voiced by acclaimed actor Bill Nighy at its heart.

Directed by Oscar and BAFTA-nominated Daniel Barber (Harry Brown, The Tonto Woman) and set to an original score by Will Gregory of Goldfrapp, the ad plays upon issues that can cause divisions in society including age, gender identity and whether people voted in or out in the recent EU referudum. It shows opposing pairs coming together to unite against dementia.

In support of the campaign, two of the UK’s biggest commercial TV channels ITV and Channel 4 united to premiere the campaign ad – the first time the two have worked together on an advertising premiere for a charity.

Someone develops dementia every three minutes and there’s currently no cure – but the charity says people with dementia tell them that they face dementia alone.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We’re determined to bring everyone’s attention to the massive injustice faced by people with dementia and their carers, with too many denied the support they need.

“Alzheimer’s Society hears day in, day out about people with dementia and their carers struggling. Some people tell us about the impossible choices they have to make, from the carer having to choose between a knee operation and caring for her Mum, to a man with young onset dementia who had to give-up work and ask his daughter to pay the mortgage.

“We urgently need people to unite with us to improve care, offer help and understanding to those affected and find a cure. Together, we can bring about change.”

Ex-Wales international footballer Robbie Savage lost his dad, Colin, to younger onset dementia – which affects more than 40,000 people in the UK under 65 – when he was only 64, after being diagnosed at 58.

Robbie added: “People think dementia is an old person’s condition but it isn’t. My dad was struck down in his prime. Dementia can affect anyone anywhere.

“It was so painful to witness my hero and best friend gradually slip away. In the end he couldn’t speak, swallow or recognise me at all. To see him like that was devastating for the whole family. That’s why it’s so important for me to get involved with this campaign.”

Research conducted by the charity and Ipsos MORI reveals a great deal of fear exists around dementia – just under half (44%) of people fear dementia more than any other health condition. It also reveals a deeply concerning lack of public understanding about the biggest health crisis facing society. Only a fifth (22%) of people know that dementia is a condition that results in death while 28% wrongly believe there is a cure.

Jo Brand, ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society, told us: “It’s deeply worrying that every three minutes someone develops this devastating condition. What’s almost as worrying is despite not being able to prevent it, cure it or even slow it down, the funding of dementia research is far too low. We need everyone to unite against dementia and change this now.”

James Cracknell, who is joining forces with Jo Brand to support the campaign, added: “It’s now time for us to come together and unite against dementia with Alzheimer’s Society. We owe it to our children…this is important!”

Alzheimer’s Society is the leading dementia charity. Unite now at alzheimers.org.uk.

Study suggests Mediterranean diet may have lasting effects on brain health

Alzheimer's Society logoA new study shows that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not follow the diet as closely.

The study was published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers gathered information on the eating habits of 967 Scottish people around the age of 70 who did not have dementia. Of those people, 562 had an MRI brain scan around age 73 to measure overall brain volume,  grey matter volume and thickness of the outer layer of the brain. From that group, 401 people then returned for a second MRI at age 76. These measurements were compared to how closely participants followed the Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean diet includes large amounts of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans and cereal grains such as wheat and rice, moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine, and limited red meat and poultry.

Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence to indicate that eating a healthy diet that’s rich in oily fish, fresh veg and nuts is good for your brain and can help to maintain your memory as you get older. Our brains shrink by 1-2% per year in old age and this study suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet could also potentially help to slow down this shrinking process.

“While the evidence suggests a Mediterranean diet can help keep your brain healthy as you age, we can’t yet say that it prevents dementia. What’s good for you heart is also good for your head and a healthy lifestyle that features regular exercise, a balanced diet and not smoking can help to lower your chances of dementia.”

To find out more about Alzheimer’s disease and the work of the Alzheimer’s Society, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk.

Alzheimer’s Society launches the UK’s first ever Cupcake Day

Alzheimer’s Society surveyed 2,000 people to find out what their ultimate dream cupcake would be – people could choose their flavour in three categories: cake, filling and topping. The top flavours voted for were chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

Paul Hollywood, BBC’s Great British Bake Off judge and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, wasn’t surprised to find out that the UK are chocolate fanatics, though he revealed his own passion for zesty flavours.

As he held the UK’s ultimate dream cupcake created by woman&home,  Paul said: “This chocolatey cupcake looks delicious! Lemon and lime are my favourite flavours so for my signature Cupcake Day bake, I’d create a lemon drizzle cupcake with a lemon curd filling and a lemon crust to top it off.

‘I’ve seen the pain that dementia has brought to friends of mine and I want to do all that I can to raise awareness of how people can help. Everyone should get baking for Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day – just try and sell some and not to eat them all yourself – every cupcake counts!’

Everyone is encouraged to bake, sell or buy cupcakes at events up and down the country. From organising a sale at a school to hosting a get-together at the weekend, it’s easy to get involved. Every cupcake sold will help Alzheimer’s Society find a cure for dementia, fund vital services and campaign for the rights of people with dementia. £60 would pay for a dementia research-focused blood test, £20 would pay for someone to attend an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Café for a month.

Hollywood is the latest celebrity to join Alzheimer’s Society’s cupcake crusade, also supported by actresses Ruth Jones and Donna Air, comedian Jo Brand and chef Lorraine Pascale. Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day in association with woman&home is a nationwide fundraising event to help raise funds in aid of the UK’s leading research and support charity.

Jane Curran, Food Director at woman&home who created the ultimate dream cupcake, says: “Given the vote for chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, I’ve created a very chocolatey brownie cupcake recipe to inspire all bakers to create something truly mouthwatering for Cupcake Day and help them raise money to defeat dementia. Not a soggy bottom in sight!”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society says: “850,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. Whether you bake, sell or simply buy as many cupcakes as you can, join the cupcake crusade to raise money and help us defeat dementia. Every cupcake counts.”

Find out more and get your free cupcake kit here.