28/01/2020 by Rhian Fraser, Registered Manager at FraserCare Bournemouth 0 Comments
FraserCare Guide: What is Dementia?
You’ve probably heard of Dementia in the news, it is now the UK’s biggest killer and costs the economy approximately 23 billion pounds a year, but what is it? Dementia is an umbrella or collective term to describe a collection of degenerative brain diseases for which the effects are irreversible, there is no cure and little treatment. Here, we dive in a little deeper to establish what it is and how you can manage Dementia.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. The likelihood of developing dementia increases with age, with 1 in 14 over the age of 65 and 1 in 3 over the age of 85 being diagnosed with a form of dementia, however dementia is not a normal part of ageing. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.
The most common diseases include Alzheimer’s Dementia, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Korsakoff Dementia and Parkinson’s Related Dementia but there are actually more than 200 different types. The most common dementia in the UK is Alzheimer’s and is often mixed with another type such as Vascular.
Like our fingerprints, each of our brains are unique with unique life histories and experiences and because of this, dementia will affect each person in different ways. Most people living with dementia will suffer from mild symptoms at first and may dismiss them for a time before seeking help. Some people’s dementia symptoms will progress rapidly with others taking years to progress. Symptoms can be unique to the person and grounded in past experiences, for example we have cared for a person whom spent time working as a nurse and believed they are still a nurse and were always attempting to help people with their ailments as they believed strangers they met were their patients.
In general symptoms may include:
- Memory loss – especially problems with memory for recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, and asking questions repetitively
- Increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
- Becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
- Changes in personality and mood
- Loss of mental capacity (the ability to make decisions)
- Not being orientated in time and space (where they are, the date and time)
- Increasingly poor balance
Dementia can be devastating for those living with the disease as well as for friends and families who support them. It is possible to live well with dementia for many years with a good support network. FraserCare can offer support to people living with dementia such as helping with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing, taking medication, shopping and companionship. We are now working with local care homes such as those run by Colton Care and other community projects such as Purple Bricks to encourage people living with dementia to get out and involved with their community.
If you think yourself or a loved one may be living with dementia, it’s important to talk to your GP to get a diagnosis and the right support, resources for useful information include: