A London trundle to a conference for the British Society for Gerodontology……

A long blog, sorry, but I learnt soooo much…

 So after Wednesday’s local event in the morning, I headed for London. Emma Wolverson kindly gave me a lift to Hull station which saved Cathryn going out again.

I managed to catch the train before mine as it had been delayed 🙄…..which turned out to be very lucky as my booked one was mega late and wouldn’t have got me to Doncaster on time……

One again, the train staff, even though they were Northern rail on the first train, recognised my lanyard, and helped me on with my case without me saying anything. She then asked if I needed any help with my connection……⭐️

The journey was a lovely one….I’d asked everyone on Twitter to keep their fingers crossed for a smooth one after Monday’s nightmare……..🙈

Once I got to Doncaster she came to help again and I ambled into the waiting area. There I struck up conversation with a woman who was going to Dubai to see her daughter for the first time in ages. I then sat and listened to her lovely story which passed the time before my train…….

I’d been asked by Mili Doshi to present at the “Ageing well with good oral health” conference being run by the British Society of Gerodontology of which she’s the President. It’s a lovely different one and this year I said at the beginning that most events had to be different so I talk to new people.

It was being held at the Royal Society between Pall Mall and Horse Guards Parade. They’d offered to find me a hotel near there but I felt more comfortable in my usual premier inn near kings cross……so that’s where I’ve started typing this.

The morning arrived and I trundled my way on the tube to Piccadilly Circus, forgetting it would be crush hour…..🙄….I stood on the tube with my back to the hoardes in my own little world until my stop came and then ambled down towards The Mall…..past all the lovely decked Christmassy shops yet to open but getting a piccie of me in a bauble…if you look carefully… 😂

My app took me straight to the venue and Ros immediately met me in reception and got me a cuppa or two and a table and chair to sit, watch the world and chat to people that came along……..as I always get there at the start so I can sit and get used to the surroundings without any panic……

I did wonder whether to smile in this room full of perfect smiles but then sometimes you’ve just got to be happy with what you’ve got…….and mine certainly aren’t perfect 😂🤣😂

The conference was in very grand setting of the Royal Society and the ‘Marble Room’ became the registration room…….it’s always weird not knowing anyone as usually you come across someone you know but this was a roomful of dentists so the only dentist I know is my one 🙄

Everyone was very friendly and the agenda looked interesting too.


I was only staying until after lunch as I then had to make my way to Luton for another event on Friday……

We all went into the main hall and Mili, the President opened the conference. They’d had to close to numbers 2 weeks ago, such was the popularity of the conference and they’ve never had that. There must have been between 150 -250 people….

First speakers were Tom Clayton and Peter Briggs who were speaking about the challenges ahead for older people and older teeth. Sharing data on what it might mean for Health Education England around training and education needs with an eye for the future and what it will mean for the world of dentistry.

Tom showed some really interesting data about the baby boom between 1957 and the advent of the abortion laws and the availability of the Pill , hence the now ageing population….they also showed a map of England and where the ageing population will increase. The remarkable data was around Cumbria where the ageing population wasn’t increasing ….sooooooo fascinating – wish I’d been quick enough to take piccies of all the slides.

For the most, there will be fewer children as fewer children will be born, so for dentists, children wont be a problem but by 2041 there will be 80% more people over 65 in London and Nationally 50% more…..😳 The infographics they showed changed as the years increased…….great slides……

So in some areas there will be a smaller working age population to deal with the increasing ageing population…..it’s not because there are necessarily more older people but the fact that we’re living longer………

We’re nowhere near prepared for this volume of ageing population so we must do something now…..

So then Peter went onto talk about the workforce in dentistry……dentistry has changed from people having false dentures to people having a ‘mouthful of natural teeth’…….

Someone later in life finds it hard to adapt to dentures so now they talk about paliative dental care……but patients have to be informed. He gave a summary slide at the end asking is dentistry prepared for this and prevention has to be key…..

For dentists qualifying now, they will face a very different group of patients than everyone in the room…………

They gave an amazing breakdown of deprivation …..and highlighted the impact of this on workforce. You obviously get less private practice in deprived areas but more need in deprived areas..

What a brilliant way to start a conference….so different for me, I learnt so much and they could have taught many presenters how to present in an interesting way…….

Next up was Mark IDE a Consultant in Periodontology and spoke about the relationship to the Health and Care of older patients……all speakers mentioned that the last oral health survey was in 2009……so new dental health surveys are urgently needed…

80% of adults over 55 had evidence of gum disease but this was back in 2009….but if people are living longer and keeping their own teeth, they will have been exposed to more plaque on their teeth for longer…….

His data showed that if you get oral health education and social care in general  right before people get old, you can maintain more as the patient ages….but there isn’t much literature on how to look after this age group.

Implants into older people would once have been ok, but now people are living longer they should now be thinking ‘What do I do if this fails’ …….the important point being made, is teeth can be saved, they don’t have to automatically be replaced or removed, which was the common solution before……..

Conferences are the same the world over and this speaker ran over and lost me towards the end ……..but an interesting fact was If you have severe periodontitis there was a significant increase in cognitive decline …..

Before break was Natalie Bradley a special Care Dentist……she was talking about DNR and advanced decisions….and it was interactive via a website …they’re never told how to talk to patients about advanced decisions and death……only 27% of the audience routinely asked if their patients had a DNR ( Do Not Rescusitate) in place and roughly the same number had had any training on speaking about DNR…..

Of all the questions asked, I would say have a conversation before treatment…….there are lots of general rules for them to follow before sedation……

Fascinating to see their answers appearing on screen as they clicked on the website… 👍

A DNR only applies to CPR…….and other situations should be treated as normal…..unless other forms exist or conversations have been had beforehand…..

She showed a slide with information for Advanced Decisions where they could all find more information….

She finally finished by talking about the new ReSPECT forms that are being rolled out and I have one as amazingly East Riding has these already…..

Patients have the right to make their own decision and we must respect their wishes”……someone in the audience said, In the south west they call it AND….’Allowing Natural Death’ which seems to make it easier to talk about….interesting…..

After break was a talk around ansesthetics and the older population and those with dementia…by Afolake Bewaji, Consultant Anaesthetist…..    “How old is too Old?”

Quite rightly she said that every individual is different on how anaesthetic affects the organs in individuals…… They try to prevent a general anaesthetic now as people with dementia can get worse after a general anaesthetic …….after that I understand the words, just not in the order they came in…..🙈 a tad above me…..but I’m sure it was very interesting as my ears kept hearing good sentences…..

Up before me was Jane Peterson talking about being a dental hygienist in a Care Home…It started off well but then Jane mentioned why she stopped doing that role……staff in care homes were a problem and when people were in paliative care they thought patients didn’t need their teeth brushed……🙈 but she then said how people with dementia could be aggressive and I wanted to stand up and shout……”people are aggressive for a reason….maybe they are in pain”….😢…….

My turn before lunch…and I spoke about this that and everything, including what dentists can do to help, how their environment should be considered and many other things including:

We will forget the detail as soon as we’ve left your surgery but we will never forget how you made us feel. We may not remember you but something inside us will tell us whether we like you, whether you were kind last time or whether you made us feel rubbish. So make a lasting impression on your patients but make it a good one. If you get it right for people with dementia you get it right for so many others.”

They were very kind in their applause and many came up and chatted during lunch and bought my book….It was lovely talking to a different audience and one came up afterwards and said…..

I’ve worked with many people with dementia and thought I knew lots, but I learnt more today than I ever thought possible”

Wonderful and so worth the trundle……now offf to Luton for the final event of the week…😴😴😴


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.

10 thoughts on “A London trundle to a conference for the British Society for Gerodontology……

  1. To stay in contact with doctors is a ‘NO’ for my father…😑…only when there is no other way out.A very difficult topic…the doctors are – thank god- very helpful in such moments. I am glad that they are instructed in dementia, so he mostly leave with a good impression.Thanks for your Tips, 👌😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find your blogs endlessly informative and fascinating. I was on the train from Carnforth to Harrogate at the weekend. Almost all the stations across the pennines had banners saying they were trying to be dementia friendly. I think a lot of this is thanks to the work you are doing with so many organisations. Thank you Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating report on a topic not often talked about, at least in my experience. I’m glad your talk went well, and I’m sure you opened quite a few sets of eyes and ears there. I continue to be amazed at how much you achieve!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Crush hour! Will use that! And again the insights your blog gives! I don’t think the “we will remember the way you made us feel, and we will know if we like you but we might not remember you”. Important for everyone. As you say get it right for us you will get it right for so many others.

    Liked by 1 person

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