Monthly Archives: April 2012

Alzheimer’s choir is a ‘lifeline’ to sufferers

Alzheimer’s choir

A choir formed for people with dementia and their families

by Lorna Prichard

Members of the Forget Me Not choir Photo: Credit: ITV News Wales

A choir formed for people with dementia and their families has given John – as well as Julie – a new lease of life.

The Forget Me Not choir in Rhiwbina, Cardiff started life as a project with the Welsh National Opera (WNO). Half the members have Alzheimer’s, and half the members are their parents, friends and carers.

Concern over plan to withdraw housing benefit from under-25s

Government proposal would hit thousands of vulnerable young people, charities and campaign groups warn


Charities and campaign groups have expressed concerns over a government proposal to strip young people of housing benefit. Photograph: Gareth Phillips

Housing charities and campaign groups have been outraged by an idea floated by Downing Street to strip housing benefits from under-25s and make them move in with “mum and dad” as a way to “make work pay” and save the UK from growing welfare expenditure.

The proposal – which was floated by No 10 earlier this week but is yet to be developed into a concrete proposal – was announced just before a speech on Thursday in which David Cameron praised recent changes to the benefits system as “the most radical, long-term reform” in the UK for a generation. A Downing Street source said: “We are always looking at ways to change the welfare system to reward hard work and make work pay.”

The pain and pride of becoming a parent to my father

The pain and pride of becoming a parent to my father: As dementia claims a beloved dad, a daughter’s moving story

By Rebecca Ley

PUBLISHED: 21:02, 4 April 2012 | UPDATED: 21:02, 4 April 2012

Guardian angel: Rebecca as a baby with her father

Last week, a shopping receipt made me cry. The ink was faded, but I could make out the groceries my father used to buy for himself. German biscuits. Ham. Cherry tomatoes. The particular kind of apricot juice I always thought was too sweet.

It’s a banal list, but one that made me catch my breath. For my father Peter, 76, can’t do ordinary things such as going to the supermarket any more. This unexpected reminder of the man he used to be, the decisions he used to make, drove that home.

He has vascular dementia — Alzheimer’s less famous twin. A series of tiny strokes, cloudbursts in his brain, are destroying him. Every week, he gets a little worse. Once a proud Cornishman who strode the cliffs and built granite walls with ease, he now shuffles, and trembles as he eats.

The reason I came across the receipt, tucked into the middle of an old chequebook, is because I look after his finances. Before he became ill, when he and my mother divorced, it was decided that I, the eldest daughter from his second marriage, should have power of attorney if the worst should happen.

Now it has and, as I live more than 300 miles away, managing his affairs has become my way of loving this new version of him. But this ‘dadmin’, as I call it, is difficult; though not as hard as showering and dressing him, or weathering his thunderous moods, I hasten to add. That role falls to his fantastic carers, who have made a difficult situation bearable.

Yet it’s extremely hard all the same. A constant worry hums along in the background of my life, sometimes swelling to absorb whole days. I have gone from having a single bank account and a joint mortgage to managing four properties and nine tenants (Dad used his hard-earned savings to join the buy-to-let boom), employing three people and juggling various ISAs and investments.