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WATCH: Playlist for Life

A charity which uses music to help people with dementia has launched a new internet learning programme.

Playlist for Life was founded by broadcaster Sally Magnusson after she saw the benefits music had for her mother.

Staff at Carlingwark House in Castle Douglas - which is part of the national social care charity Community Integrated Care - say the project has been a big success.

Katie Hunter reports:

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Open day for carers of dementia sufferers

Ruskin Unit Credit: Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

People supporting family or friends with dementia are being invited to an open day this afternoon.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is opening up the Ruskin Unit - a centre used to to assess patients with dementia to determine their level of need and the best way that they can be supported.

The open day, which runs from 2pm-4pm, is a chance for anyone affected by dementia to take a look at the unit, meet staff and talk to representatives from a range of organisations – including the Alzheimer’s Society to ask for advice. There will also be a vintage bus on site and a range of activities that will invite people to take a trip down memory lane.

“We are keen for people to realise that coming to the Ruskin Unit is simply part of the dementia journey, we offer that extra support that some people need.

“We work very closely with the community mental health teams that are actively involved with the family or individuals that need extra support, so when a person is admitted to Ruskin the community team still have a presence and remain involved to ensure that care runs smoothly. We all work hard to support the families the very best we can as we acknowledge the vital role family support has in recovery.’’

– Rikki Dawson, ward manager for the Ruskin Unit

The Ruskin Unit is based at the Carleton Clinic, Cumwhinton Drive, Carlisle, CA1 3SX.

Cumbrians asked to get knitting for dementia patients

Credit: PA

Cumbrians are being asked to get out their knitting needles to help patients with dementia.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is launching a scheme where volunteers make a ‘twiddlemuff’, a basic knitted hand muff that has items such as buttons and flowers attached.

It's believed the design offers patients stimulation as they can "twiddle it in their hands", and can stop them harming themselves by taking out their cannula or scratching themselves.

The scheme has proved successful at other hospitals around the country.

Now the Trust is calling on keen knitters to help create a steady supply of twiddlemuffs, or for the less creative, to donate any leftover or odd balls of wool.

“Patients with dementia require distractive techniques as they tend to pull at their cuffs or clothes, or can even harm themselves, scratching at their hands or pulling out cannulas delivering intravenous fluids.

Twiddlemuffs have been proven to be an excellent way of distracting patients with dementia and keeping them calm, thereby allowing us to deliver safe, quality care.”

– Christine Musgrave, Elderly care matron and leader of the scheme

The knitting pattern can be found online.

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Changing attitudes on dementia

We are halfway through Mental Health Awareness Week and today's topic has been dementia.

Around 800,000 people are diagnosed with dementia in the UK. It's a condition which affects the brain, making it harder to remember things or think as clearly as before.

It was thought that dementia was just part of the ageing process, but attitudes are now changing.

In the latest of our special reports this week, Lori Carnochan looks at how families deal with the diagnosis, and why seeking legal advice is just as important as medical advice.

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