Denmark’s first dementia village

Mike the Psych's Blog

Denmark has opened a village equipped with a music library, restaurants and shops reserved for dementia sufferers.

Svendborg Demensby on the island of Funen is the first of its kind in Denmark and is modelled on similar villages in Italy, Canada and the Netherlands.

The village of 125 homes was developed on the site of an old brewery which had already been used as a care centre for the elderly. The idea is to give residents the feel of living in a small town and is expected to give dementia sufferers a safer environment and a more fulfilling life in comparison with ordinary sheltered housing. It’s a pilot scheme with plans to open similar projects in Aalborg, Odense and Herning.

The Danish Alzheimer’s Association cautiously welcomed the initiative but voiced worries about the villagers being cut off from the outside world. “It concerns us when special dementia villages are being…

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Paying professionals to name your baby

mom_holding_baby_girl_1600_wht_3455Now that looks like a cushy job.

Naming Consultancy services in Europe and America are offering anxious parents help in the delicate task of naming children.

One such company, New York-based My Name for Life, says its job is to “hand-pick names that match a family’s priorities” and runs a hotline on which parents can confide their hopes for their babies.

Most parents go to her because they can’t agree on a name or “want an American one that can be pronounced easily overseas” (like Ted, Bobby, Donald?). Sherri Suzanne, the company’s founder can spend 30 hours doing research and her charges start at several hundred dollars.

In Switzerland a company called Erfolgswelle (Success Wave) is reported to charge $29,000 for each child it names. Its founder Marc Hauser says that parents should consider a child’s name like a company brand name and it can take hundreds of hours of work to select the right one.

It makes you wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow took such advice when she named her children Apple and Moses and what about the Zappa children? Michael Jackson named his son Blanket (must have been a comfort to him) and let’s not forget Saint K, North West and Bear Winslet.

Skylar (derived from the Dutch surname Schuyler) is now more popular than Mary and can also be used for a boy’s name. Names change as people want to emulate their heroes. Their kids might take a different view when they grow up of course!

In France, Denmark and New Zealand there are laws restricting  what parents can call their children. New Zealand has rejected names like Regal, Christ and Queen. Iceland is pretty strict too.

France is now making it easier for people to change their first names. Until now it has been a long and complicated process convincing a judge that your  request for a name change has a “legitimate motive” and that your given name, your etat civil, causes hardship.

One group likely to take advantage of the easier process are young adults who want to get rid of lower-class names like Kevin – named after Costner or Keegan who were popular in the 1990s.

Research at the Paris Sorbonne University found that Kevins were 30% less likely to be recruited than men with more traditional names like Arthur.

Men and women with muslim names are also likely to take advantage to overcome the discrimination that candidates with migrant names experience 80% of the time.

The opposite will also apply with people converting to Islam able to adopt a muslim name.

And some people will want to adopt a younger-sounding name according to sociologist Baptiste Coulmont who specialises in names. “There’s a rejuvenation by first names …. you abandon Catherine and become Lea

Does all this really matter? Well yes.

US Research on the effect your name has on people in terms of trustworthiness, playfulness, intelligence and ambition, found that men ought to be named Stephen, Christopher, Kenneth, or Thomas and girls should be named Elizabeth, Mary, Anne, Jessica or Jennifer.

Another American study showed that CVs with white-sounding names did better than ones with black-sounding ones (or even stupid, bizarre ones).

And for politicians manes are so important. So its bad news for Donald and Hillary. Not only are they the most widely disliked presidential nominees for over 40 years but have names no-one wants to give to their kids anymore.

Donald was one of the most common names over the last century and was the 13th most popular when Mr Trump was born in 1946. The name fell out of the top 100 in1991, the year that Mr Trump was divorced by his wife,and has now slumped to 441st place, its lowest standing since 1900.

Hillary has fared even worse with only 136 babies so named last year and din’t even make the top 1,000 girls’ names. Still either of them will have more poplar names than the current President; there were only eight Baracks last year.

Noah and Emma are currently the most popular names in America for the second year running with Mason, Ethan, Ava, and Harper also popular.

In England Eleanors are more likely to get to Oxbridge than Jades. In England we can call our kids what we want as long it’s not offensive e.g. calling a girl Cyanide (when does bad taste become offensive?).

The most popular names in England and Wales in 2015 were Oliver, Jack, and Harry for boys, and Amelia, Olivia, and Isla for girls.

See the full ONS list here

See earlier post on children’s names here

If you want to be happier – ditch Facebook!

stick_figure_liking_it_500_wht_9170Research from The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen in Denmark (one of the happiest countries in the world) has found that giving up your Facebook account boosts happiness and reduces anger and loneliness.

Life satisfaction rose significantly in the space of a week when participants were unable to read the updates of their friends. The institute was surprised by the changes in such a short time and wants to raise awareness on the influence of social media on feelings of fulfilment.

Facebook and other social media sites are “a constant flow of edited lives which distort our view of reality” it said in its report The Facebook Experiment.

They recruited over a thousand people in Denmark and asked half of them to avoid Facebook for a week. Participants were asked to rate their life satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10 before and after the experiment.

Those who continued to use Facebook (the control group) scored an average of 7.67 before and 7.75 afterwards.

Those who gave up Facebook scored 7.56 before and 8.12 afterwards. They also reported an increase in “real world social activity” and were less angry and less lonely than those who had continued to use Facebook. 88% of them declared themselves happy compared to 81% pf Facebook regulars and 84% said they were enjoying life compared to 75% of Facebook regulars.

The head of the Institute, Meik Wiking, said “We have known for some time that social comparisons matter when it comes to life satisfaction. So we thought, let’s see whether we can detect a Facebook effect because of this constant bombardment of great news happening to other people. Every time you look someone is getting married or has a great job in New York or having a holiday in Tahiti. How does this affect our perception of reality and how we value our own lives?”

The research found that the Facebook effect had roughly half the impact on life satisfaction as attributed to the disparity in income between the richest and poorest 10% of the population.

Wiking urged Facebook users to share more of their failures and disappointments. “We hope the experiment helped to highlight the negative impact of being bombarded with a distorted reality”

Facebook has been used previously for social research. In 2013 a paper was produced about emotional contagion (see summary below). In essence a sample of almost 700,000 Facebook users were fed either or negative news.

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

There was an issue about lack of informed consent as Facebook users weren’t told about it (but Zuckerberg doesn’t care about your privacy).

And this idea of “friends” on Facebook is stretching the meaning of the word in an increasingly narcissistic society where what others think of you is, sadly, more important than what you think of yourself (See So many Friends….)

Where would you have a better life?

Where would you have a better life? If you want to know which country to live in to enjoy life more go to the OECD better life index.

They  have identified 11 key factors such as health, education, earnings, and sense of community. You can decide how important these are to you.

After I’d scored my choices and pushed the buttons it turned out Australia would be my ideal place to live, followed by the Nordic countries, with Turkey at the bottom of my list. The UK came 13th! Australia … Read More

via Mike the Psych’s Blog with permission