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Hobbies – keeping dementia at bay?

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In today’s world we are always busy, working, being at societies beck and call or just always having to manage life but we need to remember to put ourselves first. This life is ours to enjoy and embrace with all its intricacies and twists and turns. There will be many times you are sad depressed or even utterly in the depths of despair but doing something that gives you joy and is creative no matter the outcome can be hugely beneficial and transport you to a happy place for a while where problems and stress don’t follow. 

Hobbies can enhance your life, allow you to destress whilst still being mentally active and promote better health even lowering the risk of having high blood pressure. It can reduce the risk of depression and dementia. It enriches our lives. It is something fun with the opportunity to learn new skills. Todays technology opens a world of websites devoted to hobbies and interests. To suit every taste and interest. Why not try something new? The world is full of wonderful, exciting activities that we can explore and adopt as our own. Humans are all unique and, therefore, our interests and hobbies  should be vast and random but finding a hobby that we truly enjoy and are passionate about, we become fascinated and immersed in a whole new world that captivates us and brings immense pleasure.

There are so many  reasons why a hobby enriches a life, it can make you more interesting. Providing experiences and skills to share. Stress is relieved as you are absorbed in a task that fulfills and takes your mind off problems. You relax and lose yourself in an activity that doesn’t require you to think about work or complicated lives. The skills you will learn and develop will require patience which in turn is a valuable skill in life. Confidence and self esteem can flourish along with your new found skills enriching your life and eradicating boredom, ennui and lethargy. 

You add a layer to your personality and will draw people towards you. We all want to be around people who are interesting with a sense of curiosity, with stories to tell. You nwill feel more inspired when you have a rich and active life  and you will inspire others as well. This year with the Covid pandemic we have been confined to home in a way we are not used to and many people have turned to learning a new skill or developing a hobby previously denied to us in this mad busy and frantic world. New perspectives , challenges and opinions or ideas come with the knowledge you gain as you delve deeper into some hobbies through research or reading. 

The great man himself , Winston Churchill, said  

To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.’

He was known as a passionate artist amongst other talents. 

Personally I had to smile when researching quotes on hobbies when I came across this little gem and had I been more of a floozy  or not happily married I’d  like to have adopted!

‘Men are my hobby, if I ever got married I’d have to give it up.’  ( Mae West)

In today’s busy  society we may feel we do not have the time for a hobby however According to Parkinson’s law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  so where you may feel your evening should be spent working or completing chores you will get them done quickly if you have a pleasurable idea of your hobby to look forward to therefore seeming  to create more time by encouraging efficiency.

 

I know that my wonderful parents in law have always loved their respective hobbies , but  since the death of their son, my wonderful husband, I think it has been  deeply immersing themselves in these hobbies that has created a way to cope and lose themselves in the pleasure of creating. My father in law  Roger says it gives meaning to your being he spends many hours expanding his knowledge of colours etc to paint the intricate detailed and beautifully authentic models he constructs. My mother in law Yvonne knits furiously  all the time deriving great pleasure from gifting the most beautiful jumpers shawls and cardigans, nothing is beyond her and over the years there have been such unique and quirky requests that she has never failed to deliver, She feels the need to be useful and both gives and receives pleasure from her creative arts , I think retirement has kept her busier than ever with  her adopting my ready made  family into her life so graciously complete with lots of little ones asking for  creations of  fabulous personal jumpers with no request being too intricate or denied. 

 

So, what to choose as your new hobby? Maybe a desire to learn a new skill like learning to crochet, paint or learn a musical instrument.  Photography, a drone or biking ? Perhaps when the world settles back into a semblance of normality you will want to join a group, a choir,drama club  or book club. There are so many options out there that you might never have even considered…browse the net, talk to friends and find something you love… I found writing ! 

 

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Health

Robotic cats used in a retirement home in England

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A nursing home with dementia patients in Essex has used robotic cats to keep its residents calm and content. The result was so positive that an additional 200 robotic cats and 100 robotic dogs were purchased to provide support for people with dementia.

Battery-powered robotic cats purr, meow, and move when stroked and hugged. Dementia patients often become agitated, anxious and angry, and a pet usually helps them calm down. But I am not always able to manage a soul in flesh and blood.

Research has shown that an effective, drug-free way to soothe a patient with dementia is to give them a soft toy they can interact with. During this Covid-19 emergency, when people were unable to visit their relatives, robotic cats helped the 100 residents of the nursing home.

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Food

Health : Going Bananas about Bananas!

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I’m going bananas about bananas! The use of idioms would be perplexing to students of the English language, who could not deduce from the words used that I am very excited, or at least enthusiastic about bananas as a food. Who would not be when they realise that wrapped within a protective skin that mainly keeps out pesticides, even if not grown organically, there is both a perfect health and convenience food? 
While some people may not like their taste or texture, the banana is among the world’s most popular fruit.  It can satisfy a sweet tooth, while at the same time being low in calories. One medium sized banana has a hundred and five calories, containing fibre, minerals and antioxidants that are good for the digestion, kidney and heart function. 
 
 I remember a neighbour, whose daily regime after a coronary bypass operation, consisted of a long walk plus  – you’ve guessed it a banana!  The reason for this was that bananas are a great dietary source of potassium. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) contains 9% of the RDI.
A diet containing adequate levels of potassium can help lower blood pressure.  Bananas also contain magnesium, which is also important for heart health.
A single medium sized banana also contains Vitamin B6 33% of the RDI, Vitamin C 11% of the RDI, Copper 10% of the RDI and Manganese 14% of the RDI. Think how much these supplements are going to cost in the health shop and you will see what a good deal you are getting with a natural fruit! There are only 0.4 grams of fat in a banana, so it can also be considered a weight loss food.
 
Bananas should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels as they contain pectin. However, people with type 2 diabetes should probably avoid eating a lot of very ripe bananas, as they monitor their sugar levels.  As in all circumstances people should take medical advice if concerned about their diet. 

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Herbal Medicine

Rosemary oil and memory; does it really help?

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Traditionally rosemary is said to be good for boosting memory, so many recommend smelling rosemary when studying.

In recent years the news has been circulating on the internet that even rosemary increases memory by 75% but can we really believe it?

Essential oils and plants have some benefits in many cases and when used judiciously but we should not blindly believe in all the potential miracle cures. For example, essential oils can be helpful and many use them to relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy, but we will never advise anyone to use essential oils or herbs to treat a malignant tumor or heart problem.

Let’s go back to memory… recently the snopes.com site, a site that has been trying to understand for years whether certain news is true or false, has tried to dispel the myth of rosemary and memory. The article is long  but in a nutshell it tells us that the news came from the newspaper The Daily Mail, not particularly famous for the accuracy of the scientific news it publishes.

The original article was about a study that proved that rosemary increases memory by 75%. The study was really done but it tried to prove if a particular chemical component of rosemary oil increased memory.

In any case, there is no evidence that it is rosemary oil, a chemical component of it or simply the fact that the aromas can remind us of things related to the smell itself. In short, we have no conclusive evidence that rosemary oil does not improve memory but certainly there is no evidence that it improves it and we can certainly discard the hypothesis that it increases it by 75%.

If you think that smelling rosemary oil helps you to study, go ahead and do it, but don’t take everything you read on the internet at face value. Often it isn’t true.

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