A wonderful event focusing on eating and drinking…….

Yesterday I was invited to speak at another ‘different event’, this time focusing on food and drink. Long blog but lots to tell you……

David Barker from the NACC ( National Association of Care Catering) had asked me to speak at their North Region Summer Seminar in Doncaster.

The best bit of news was that my lovely playmate Chris Roberts and equally lovely wife Jayne, were also going to be there. Chris would be opening the event as he’s an Ambassador for NACC. The Agenda looked interesting, with mealtimes, difficulty swallowing and dehydration solutions all on the list.

David had originally agreed to take me and bring me back, but then Sarah, from the Humber Research Team had offered too AND that would mean I would have my very own therapy dog for the day as she planned to bring her dog, Lola………the company of the dog swung it for me…😂🤣😂

The day started off full of promise and morning sunshine….And became even more brilliant when Sarah Trufhitt arrived with Lola……who was my therapy dog for the day and who spent the whole journey on my lap

We arrived at the venue and went over to the RDaSH offices to have an before and after photo as apparently I’d advised them when designing their new treatment room, which was now finished…

After that we walked over to the venue to sign in and was met by my adorable friends Chris and Jayne, who took me to a quiet area as it was chaos in the first room.

We then all walked over to the seminar room where they had a sell out attendance. I finally met Big Ian from York and a perfect piccie opportunity

Lola settled down on her amazing cool mat and went to sleep with her teddy

David opened the NACC seminar. It’s sooo good to see a seminar devoted to food and drink. Jayne and Chris are ambassadors. It’s not just important for people with dementia, but like everything we always say that if you make it right for people with dementia you get it right for so many others.

My lovely friend Chris, gave the opening talk and they showed the list of things he’s involved in which was staggering but not surprising to me.

He spoke of the fear when diagnosed, how ‘dementia’ was a word used in their house to begin with simply due to ignorance and fear. They now use humour in their family. He stressed the importance of supporting the whole family.

“With all the knowledge we gained we began to live our life which in turn gave us back the confidence we needed to live.”

When you get me, you get one for free – Jayne – BOGOF…….😂🤣😂

Dr Nav Ahluwalia then spoke of the RDash research team, here, of which he is the medical director. He spoke of the 2 words that matter in NACC – care and catering. When the care is lost, bad things happen, when people are denied food and water, they die. They can be more essential that medicines and tablets. Because it’s about life.

If it matters to our patients, it matters to us”

So they’re not a specialist in any area because all areas are important to research if they’re important to patients.

He also showed a lovely slide mentioning DEEP and Lola!!! The power of animals to ‘feel’ should never be underestimated

Next up was ‘Tackling Dehydration for people with Dementia’. A young chappie, Lewis Hornby, talked about Jelly Drops.

They’re a life saving source of hydration…..his Gradma Pat was their chief researcher. She became very ill and. It became apparent that she was simply dehydrated, and for the final 6 months for his university course he concentrated on developing something that would help his Grandma. He found removing cutlery and replacing with finger food became the first step as he created a ‘treat’ – a jelly Drop – which enabled people to hydrate themselves. Brightly coloured bite sized water with added ingredients to aid hydration. Grandma passed the initial drops around but immediately wanted them back 😂….wonderful ❤️

They’ve now partnered with the Alzheimers society as part of their Innovation scheme.

I had to have a piccie with them at break time, Lewis on the left.

During break time people came up and chatted to me and Chris while Jayne and Sarah went across the way to get us a drink……

Drink was followed by a PhD student, Salam, from Hull Uni talking about her study on nutrition and interventions. The presentation was a tad academic, but students all have to start somewhere and hopefully as she develops she’ll become better at presentations for a mixed audience. Just because something is academic, doesn’t prevent it from being able to present it in a fun way…..

Chris showed me piccies of their dog and one superb one dressed in a Santa outfit …..❤️😍

It was my turn next and I had 30 mins to tell my story but also to speak about my relationship with food and drink. It was sooo fortunate that an article I’d written about food had been published in the Observer last Sunday. Sadly when I wrote it my issue with tea hadn’t begun……..

Here’s the online shortened version of the article if it’s of interest to you.


Before lunch there was a talk by Flourish on the dementia garden here.they spoke of the history of the walled garden and they now have Flourish café alongside

We all had a chance to look round it and we had many many official photos taken with Lola at the centre – wonderful.

It was a beautiful garden. The scent of the roses were to die for…..

First up after lunch was Big Ian, a man with a huge personality and a  heart of gold to match……..he started off by saying how when he was younger you always took holiday photos of the one you loved…….but so many dads have died with few photos of them as they were often the ones taking the photos……..

He spoke of Liz (my playmate from Minds and Voices, now in a care home) being the first nurse at St Leonards hospital and now she can’t remember being a nurse…..

He showed a lovely film of Mark Addy, of Games of Thrones fame,  reading a poem written by a friend of Ians……..

He showed a short lovely film…..made by people with dementia and family and friends from Landermeads….

“A film made by REAL experts”

One said…….“Please celebrate what I can do, don’t concentrate on what I can’t do”

If you uproot an 80 year old tree you need to be a very good gardener”

I couldn’t find my favourite film of my playmates Liz’s dad but here is “Dementia is a Team Game, who’s in your corner” – the film Ian made with boxer Barry McGuigan

Ian has a wonderful web site where you can view all his  short films, for which he has no budget but films on his phone……I’d recommend them for everyone as a valuable resource….


His piece was sooo good……entertaining, real, and made people think……perfect…..

Jo Bonser followed Ian……from HCS uk. Wanting to help care managers improve their mealtime experiences ……she asked a David Sheard question……”if you experience someone in your care home displaying ‘challenging behaviour’ at the dinner table, do you see it as your problem for not understanding the needs of the person’

She asked us to close our eyes and took us through a story through the eyes of someone with dementia and then asked the audience to comment on the mistakes that had been made and what could be made better.

It was nice that the attendees had picked up on things…….

She showed a place setting and asked what was wrong with it……I simply summed it up by saying it was rubbish………

She was very good and has written Dignified Dining Solution Guide from her experience with her mum. Her mum refused to eat or drink and the end of life team were brought in, so Jo started to look at improving the dining experience for people with dementia. She calls it her ‘little gift to the universe’ as it’s a free resource. Since then she has recently developed ‘the dementia challenge at meal time’ interactive session that she takes to care homes for staff to work through.

Lindsey Collins from Bradford University was up next, a PhD student who is studying a person centred approach to supporting people living with dementia and swallowing difficulties and is also a speech language therapists…

She told all those in the audience from Care Homes to become part of the ENRICH network, who are the research in care homes network…….

She showed 2 wonderful small videos of what a normal person looks like when swallowing and then the difference for those who experience difficulties……fascinating….

Finding out a by what’s important to the individual is so important to understanding their needs as everyone is different. “See the Person”

As a student her presentation was perfect and slides were simple to follow. She was so smiley, so animated and spoke with such passion……wonderful…….

Eileen Harrington, Founder of DonMentia, Chair of Doncaster Dementia Forum ended the day. She chairs the Doncaster Dementia Forum……her husband had dementia. Eileen had no respite and so now she raises money to organise trips out for others.

With the money she raises, she takes people to various places, but Cleethorpes is their favourite. She always makes sure there’s a meal involved. It’s totally free for people to attend. It’s a local charity for local people. Anyone in Doncaster is lucky to have her in their corner….

The organisers of this amazing seminar tried everything they could to make it an easy and good practice and they succeeded……So huge thanks to the lovely David Barker for asking me but also to RDash for hosting the event so well and in such beautiful surroundings.

I had the most wonderful day and me and Lola were exhausted by the end of it…….even though she slept and snored through my talk….🤣😂🤣

P.s…..don’t mention Lola to Billy……🙄

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

9 thoughts on “A wonderful event focusing on eating and drinking…….

  1. Wendy, that sounded like a fantastic info packed day , l will reread and digest properly later! Enjoy your weekend..are you still sampling fruit teas or not?🍵

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing and mind boggling trying to get involved emotional also as my sister has been diagnosed with this disease learning process

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting and am hoping by my following you I can help my sister and anyone else that may be suffering from this . Blessings to you .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, i am an architect and an academic in Beykoz University and I am writing a chapter on “spatial arrangements for Alzheimer’s patients” in a Turkish book on Alzheimer’s Disease. I have quoted some of your experiences in my chapter. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts in your blog. I also want to use pictures of you and Lola and and Billy (the cat) in the book, if you also aggree.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,
    Ceren Kahraman Bereket

    Liked by 1 person

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