Rabbit Out Of The Hat aka DVD Out Of The Drawer


Where Are We Now? Fun In Dementia Mum Land

In February my 89 year old Dad died suddenly after a few days of illness. He went into hospital on a Sunday. By Monday morning he was diagnosed with leukemia. By midday he had died of a bleed to the brain. After a lifetime of good health it was characteristic that he took a ‘no faffing’ approach to leaving us.

He was the main carer for his wife, my Mum who has dementia. They both always resisted our help though it was becoming evident that standards were slipping and their home was getting grubby. Dad also wasn’t a natural carer despite half a lifetime teaching first aid (you know how it goes. Up there with hairdressers with appalling hair, unhealthy doctors and teachers unwilling to learn new skills).

So it was a bit of a shock as to how much was not being done for


Mum. I can’t blame Dad. He was 89. He learned to cook, to a fashion, at age 85 but on the whole he left Mum alone for hours and didn’t really check her state of cleanliness. Nobody is perfect. We all do the best we can. In addition I may not have realised quite how much Mum had declined in recent months.

So, since February my old non-life was suspended and I became her carer. It’s been a steep learning curve. We were left a mess financially. We have no lasting power of attorney. We haven’t even started processing Dad’s will (and despite decades telling us that all details were in his wardrobe and  who the solicitor was, both turned out to not be up to date information).

Add to this a very violent disagreement with my sibling over caring for Mum and as many carers have found, the complete evaporation of family and partner support in caring for an aged parent with care needs. Add my own battles with mental health issues and worries that despite doing better than I would have imagine, it is very early days and I could be quacking like a duck by Christmas.

It’s a reversal of roles. I am the sudden responsible adult whist the former responsible adult is like a confused, frightened child who has no idea who I am or my relationship to her. Tears, tantrums, humour, pathos and a broken, underfunded care system.

It’s all been like an ongoing soap opera. As life often is.

And it’s ongoing.

So forgive me if I think outloud here in future.

Image by Otto Nasser under this creative commons licence

Moles The Secret Of Longevity?

The number of moles on your skin could be linked to your own potential for longevity a study has found. In comparing 1,800 twins it was found that where a twin had a greater number of skin moles that they had a correspondingly longer telomeres, a marker of biological ageing found in all cells.

The researchers at Twin Research Unit at King’s College in London found that those with more than 100 moles have a biological age that is 6 or 7 years younger than people with less than 25 moles due to the link to the length of their telomeres.

Moles are growths on the skin, usually dark, that develop from melanocytes, pigment-producing cells.

The study leader is quoted as saying:

“The results… show for the first time that moley people who have a slightly increased risk of melanoma, on the other hand have the benefit of a reduced rate of ageing…This could imply susceptibility to fewer age-related diseases such as heart disease or osteoporosis. Further studies are need to confirm this.”


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Betting on your 100th birthday

Alec at 100Ten years ago Alec Holden from Epsom in Surrey placed a bet with William Hill the bookmakers who gave him odds of 250/1 of him reaching his 100th birthday. Alec placed the bet on the 10th December 1997 and has now collected a cheque for £25,000 on the occasion of his centenary on the 24th April. Alec has two sons aged 60 and 70 respectively.

His secret for longevity?
Apparently it’s porridge for breakfast and “remembering to keep breathing”.

This is the third such payout that the bookmakers has made regarding this category of bet and they have said that they may well push those kind of odds up to age 110 in future.

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Betting on your 100th birthday « Stuffem-Up the hill backwards