Pathways news

Reflections at the end of the year

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Clearly one of my New Year’s resolutions must be to update this Blog more regularly! When I had my first Trustees meeting we agreed not to set any targets for the year as such and thought we would see how the year panned out. It has gone really well with me delivering 7 talks to different groups – already we have two more booked for next year and one PTA interested in booking us which could lead to many new contacts.

I have had the pleasure of speaking to the Women’s Catholic League Richmond, Mael Gael Community Centre Southall, the Mother’s Union Guildford, Age UK’s outreach team in Westbourne Park, the staff of the Tower of London (private tour of the crown jewels afterwards was a real bonus!), Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Cafe Hammersmith and Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Cafe Greenford (where my daughter made an impromptu appearance when the babysitter couldn’t make it – an early introduction to the joys of Lasting Powers of Attorney can only be a good thing…). I have also spoken to various people on the phone and via email.

Not only have the Trustees kept me motivated and encouraged but I must also thank the women of the Athena Network Twickenham who often keep me sane! They also offer brilliant advice, not least the woman who told me to change my original tagline which was ‘Training in dementia and the law’. I will never forget what she said: ‘Listen, no-one likes training, people fear the law and dementia is depressing’ So I changed the tagline to something a bit more positive!

For 2013 I hope that the training course I attended and the advice of Richmond CVS will help me to procure grants and sponsorship to increase our advertising capacity and perhaps, one day, pay me a salary. Either way, I am sure I will meet many more amazing people with dementia, their carers and professionals and am looking forward to it,


Talk for 100 people at Mael Gael, Norwood Green

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Last week I visited the Mael Gael community centre in Norwood Green near Ealing. 100 people attended, mostly Punjabi speaking so the services of a translator were required to help me convey an overview of dementia and the legal aspects of caring for someone with the illness. Although I have heard the majority of questions asked in one form or another, there is often a new query and this time someone asked whether the family home could remain forever in the family if the children stayed there after their parents had gone into care. I said a charge would be placed against the property and when the children moved out and the house sold, the local authority would take their money back. However, this lady was insistent that the family home would remain occupied by future generations. I had to concede that if that was the case then technically the house might never be used to repay the care home fees!

We also spent some time clarifying the role of the attorney appointed by a power of attorney form as opposed to the executor of a Will – the first only acts when the person is alive, the second only acts when they are dead.

After the talk I had the most beautiful curry for lunch and then was shown around the amazing Mael Gael centre – 7 acres of land and projectssuch as the free IT courses and a tranquil carers’ garden.

Whitton Holistic Exhibition

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Two weeks ago I gave a talk at the Whitton Holistic and Well Being Exhibition where I met some great people – Raj Garcha from the Mael Gael community group in Norwood Green who has booked me for a talk on July 25th, Yasmin from Ethika Productions who is considering making a film about dementia, and Leigh and Togo from ‘Me Organic’ who are keen to get a team of cyclists together to undertake a sponsored bike ride to raise money for us!

Talks this month

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This month I’ve reached 33 people through talks on dementia – I visited the Catholic Women’s League in Richmond on April 19th and gave a talk for Alex Hollands’ fundraising event at Molesely Boat Club on April 26th. At both events good questions were raised about dementia, for example – where is the proof that surrounding people with furniture from the 1040s and 1950s (practice in some care homes) is beneficial for people with dementia? Do ‘brain training’ games really work? And why have I set up a new dementia charity when there is already Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society? Re the latter question, Pathways has been set up because I am keen to visit employees in their workplaces and deliver lunchtime seminars about dementia and planning ahead – something that neither Dementia UK nor the Alzheimer’s Society are doing. I am also available to give talks anywhere in the country on the legal implications of living with dementia (paying for care, managing finances, making advance decisions etc). Again Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society staff are generally focussed on other areas of support (day centres, dementia cafes, helplines…) And finally, when I left my role as Legal and Welfare Officer at the Society in December 2009 the helpline I ran in the afternoons for calls about the law and welfare benefits was closed. I can answer those kinds of queries by email now through this email address:

If you would like the answers to the above or any other questions please get in touch; if you know of any businesses dedicated to carers in the workplace or any community groups that need a speaker I’d love to hear from you!

Kind regards,