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Here at Secure Healthcare Solutions, we are aware that, Dementia care is a growing challenge, and the number of individuals with dementia continues to increase as the population ages and people live for longer. It is has become one of the most important health and care issues faced in the UK.

Dementia is a range of conditions which cause damage to the brain. Damage can affect your memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Generally, dementia mainly affects the older generation. In the UK, there is around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, this is projected to increase to 1.6 million by 2040.

209,600 will develop dementia this year, that is one every three minutes.

1 in 6 people have dementia over the age of 80.

With dementia, individuals will be affected in different ways, depending on the impact of the disease.

There are three different stages with Dementia.

Early stage – gradually develops over time and is often ignored, as it is gradual.
Symptoms include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing track of time
  • Getting confused in familiar places

Middle stage – When dementia progresses to the middle stage, the signs and symptoms become clear to recognise.

Symptoms include:

  • Forgetting recent activities and individual’s names
  • Getting confused at home and lost within your home
  • Struggling with communication
  • Requiring support with personal care
  • Behaviour changes such as wandering, repeated questioning and repeating activities

Late stage – The late stage of dementia is much more serious and requires a lot more dependence for care and support.

Symptoms include:

  • Individuals being unaware of the time and place
  • Difficulty recognising friends and family members
  • Increased need for care and support to get around the house
  • Difficulty walking
  • Behaviour changes that can include aggression and anger outbursts

Find out more about Dementia by clicking here

Dementia care
Senior man is sitting alone at the dining table in his home, with a worried expression on his face.

We understand that looking after a loved one with dementia can be difficult, alongside other commitments, we know that family and friends want to remain close to their loved ones, which is why we provide dementia care within a home care setting. Whether you require personal home care for your loved ones for a few hours or for large periods of time, we are here to provide care and support. Our case managers work closely with our healthcare team to devise a care plans to accommodate individual client needs. We provide mental support, care and nutrition support, we are here to help. We have a specialist team of Nurses and Carers on call that deal with dementia care across the West Midlands and Staffordshire.

In summary how we can help

  • We will ensure your loved ones stay safe at home in their own family surroundings
  • We will help them build confidence and encourage them to try everyday tasks
  • We can ensure that individuals are eating nutritious meals to encourage a healthy diet
  • Regularly engage and stimulating individuals with activities to encourage brain activity
  • Supporting loved one’s families to reassure them that they are in the best possible hands
  • Creating and managing bespoke plans tailored to individual needs. Whether you require us to be visit many times a day or a live-in carer to be there all the time, we are here to help.
  • A dedicated care manager, who will be the point of contact for any queries or concerns you may have
  • Dedicated specialist team, with professional training and experience
  • 24hr on-call support
  • Monitoring and managing care plans to ensure the best quality care is provided

If your loved ones require dementia care and support within a home care environment, contact us on 01902 302017 or click here to find out more about dementia care.

What is Homecare
Home care services is when care and support is provided in the comfort of your own home and surroundings. In your home throughout the day, you are use to your own familiar surroundings and are used to interacting with people that you love. There will be a time when extra care and support is required which is why we offer home care in the comfort of your own home. With home care, there is much more flexibility, whether you need extra care and support for a few hours or live-in care. Home care is a financial saving, compared to care provided in care and residential homes.

Here at Secure Healthcare Solutions. We provide quality home care designed to deliver domiciliary care, specialist home care, and complex care to the elderly, adults, and children. We are governed by the CQC, with a rating of good, and we work with service users, families and friends, local authorities, social services, and cases managers to create tailored personal home care plans, so we can provide quality care to ensure our service users have a quality of life.

Our home care services are provided by our trained and qualified care team and we have a trained and qualified in-house healthcare team to ensure we provide quality care.

There are different types of home care, depending on the needs of the individual requiring care.

Personal care
This when extra care and support is required to assist with daily tasks throughout the day, which may be because of an illness or for an elderly individual.

Examples of personal care include:

  • Assisting with washing and dressing
  • Support with getting patients in and out of bed
  • Help with going to the toilet
  • Preparing daily meals
  • Talking to the patient and providing the patient company
  • Support with household tasks
  • Helping patients get around the house
  • Administering basic medicines

Companionship care
Companionship care is generally for the older generation who are lonely or at risk of becoming lonely. These individuals are healthy to live in the comfort of their own home, however require some company to not feel lonely to stay happy and mentally strong. Loneliness is a huge issue that impacts a lot of people in life and it is important to have somebody to talk to to build an individual’s confidence, ensure social involvement and avoid or ease depression.

Dementia care
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, there is over 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, which is likely to increase by one million by 2025. There is no cure for dementia yet and looking after a loved one requiring dementia care full time can be difficult for a family member, alongside other commitments. Individuals with dementia are likely to have challenging behavior which is unpredictable throughout the day. For example, individuals with dementia may get confused, have angry outbursts and forget daily tasks on a regular basis. With an individual that has dementia, changing routine and the environment will be challenging which is why home care is much more beneficial than residential care, as loved ones are used to the place they know.

Home Care
Home Care

Live-in care
Live-in care is having the reassurance of 24-hour care when a professional carer lives in the home of the individual provided care and support for. Generally, live-in care will be for individuals that have a long-term condition that requires full-time care and support. It could also be to cover a family carer that is having a break. It is a great avenue for those that need daily care and companionship, which allows you to live in the comfort of your own home, have a routine, and develop a strong relationship with the carers.

Respite home care
Respite home care is a short-term care service. This could be to support somebody who cares for a loved one and it could be daily or weekly to help the family carer that has other commitments. It may be for a short period of time, while the family carer is on holiday or it could be to provide extra help when a patient has been discharged from hospital to help the individual recover, as the individual could struggle with movement, have difficulty performing daily tasks and taking medications or injections while recovering.

Nursing care
Although care workers are trained to do medical tasks and administer a lot of medications and wounds, there will be medical tasks that need to be carried out by a qualified nurse which requires nurses’ training and experience. A nurse could be required to care and support for those that have the effects of a stroke, Huntington’s disease, brain or spinal injury, muscular dystrophy, motor neuron disease, cancer care, surgical procedures, tracheostomy care, stoma care, and catheter care, which requires specialist training. Nurses could also be dressing wounds, treating and managing skin problems, and administering injections and some types of medications.

Whether you or your loved ones require home care full-time or part-time, then we are here to help. Find out more about our home care services by clicking here. Contact the home care team on 01902 302017 to discuss home care needs for yourself or your loved ones.

As you get older it could be that you lose your appetite. There are many reasons for this, whether it is due to medical issues such as dysphagia, stomach and digestion issues, or mental health conditions that make them not hungry. This can be a struggle for a carer or family member who looks after them as they need to eat to get vital nutrients and minerals in their body to ensure they keep their strength up. If you are looking for ways to combat lack of appetite in the elderly, here are some ways that you can help. Whether you are a home carer or looking for a home carer to assist with your personal care at home services, then we are here to help.

Think about food texture

It is important to consider the texture of food when giving it to someone. If they are suffering from difficulty swallowing, sore gums or a dry mouth then you don’t want foods that are going to exacerbate that. It is a good idea to try foods such as soups, stews and smoothies which can help provide them with nutrients without being painful or difficult to eat. You can also liaise with their doctor to see if there is anything they can advise.

Enjoy meals with them

Meals can be much more enjoyable if they are eaten with someone. As a home carer, you might not be able to eat at the same time as your client, but you could stay and keep them company. Sometimes just having a bit of extra company while you eat can be a real encouragement. Alternatively you 

Find flavoured foods

As you get older your taste buds can weaken and this can make food seem much more unappealing. If this is the reason for loss of appetite then it is a good idea to focus on food that stimulates flavour. This includes things such as garlic, chilli and other herbs and spices. Plain food such as rice or pasta can seem extremely flavourless if they are served on their own.personal care lack of appetite

Encourage meals that are smaller but more often

If your loved one or the one you provide personal care for has a lack of appetite then it could be that they benefit more from meals that are little or often. A big meal can seem overwhelming so instead, try to help them to eat a few times a day, with less on their plates. As long as they are getting the right nutrients and vitamins throughout the day it doesn’t matter how many meals this is spread over.

Look into a meal delivery service

It can be a struggle for elderly people to cook food and if they have something such as dementia they might forget to prepare something or not remember how to use the oven. It might also be dangerous for them to do so. If this is the case, it can be a good idea to use a meal delivery service. There are many companies out there where you select meals for the next week the week before, and then they get delivered at mealtimes. These are healthy and nutritious and can cater for dietary needs.

If an elderly relative or someone you care for is suffering from a lack of appetite then these top tips can help to get them back on track. For care at home service that can assist with personal care then please get in touch today.

Looking for a job in personal care or as a home carer? We have a number of vacancies here. Find out how you can help and find your ideal new role today.

If a loved one has dementia it can be a difficult time for all those involved. Family members that were once kind and gentle can become prone to angry outburst and accusations – through no fault of their own. When we think of the main symptoms of dementia we tend to focus on confusion and memory loss, but the personality changes that their loved ones experience can often be some of the worst side effects that come with the condition. When a person you know completely changes the way they act to something out of character it can be a difficult thing to witness and you may be thinking about getting dementia care.

There is currently no cure for dementia, though a lot of research is ongoing. It has been found that those with dementia are more sensitive to emotional contagion which is the ability to mirror another’s feelings. This means that if they see a carer or family member upset or frustrated, they might mirror this. This combined with an inability to express how they are feeling and what they need is what likely leads to these outbursts. While these outbursts aren’t nice for anyone involved, there are a few things you can do to try and help with the anger that they might display and hone it in before it escalates. Here are some top tips for dementia care with anger.

Don’t snap back

While a natural response can be to argue when someone shouts or isn’t very nice to you, this is the worst thing to do. Instead, take a deep breath and reassure your loved one instead that everything is okay. Their reaction is likely to be a knock-off effect from the frustration of not being able to express their needs properly, so try and find other ways to decipher what these needs are.
Dementia care - helping with anger outbursts

Keep a record of their behaviour

Is there a certain time of day that they seem to get more angry or frustrated? Or is it when they are trying to do a certain task or think of something in particular? By keeping a record of it you can see what might be causing these outbursts to happen and prevent them from happening as often in the future. You could write it down in a notebook and look out for any patterns in how they react.

Adjust the environment that they are in

In dementia patients, they can be triggered by over-stimulation so try to make their space as calm and distraction-free as possible. Reduce as much noise as you can and get rid of unnecessary clutter. Put on some relaxing music and offer them a weighted blanket or something that can help them to feel soothed. You could read a book or offer them another form of distraction that should help them. 

Be sure to give yourself time off

If you are a dementia carer for your loved one, it can become draining and take an impact on your mental health. That is where Secure Healthcare Solutions Dementia Care services come in. We have a range of dementia care services near you that can help ease the burden on you and give them an extra level of care too.

Remember to not take it to heart when a loved one gets angry and that they don’t mean it. Just be there for them and seek extra dementia care near you if needed. Find out more about our dementia care services and how we can help here.

If you are looking for a role as a carer or a specialist dementia carer we have a range of job roles available. You can view those here.

When a loved one has dementia, the home can have a big impact on them and how they live their life. When someone has dementia it can be a frightening and confusing experience both for them and their loved ones. They can often experience symptoms such as confusion, memory loss and difficulty learning new things. This means that they might forget how to do things around the house. Or they might forget where things are kept. By making the house more dementia friendly, you can make this process much easier for them.

It is important to remember that not every point might apply to every person and that it is not a good idea to do everything overnight. Big changes can often make their condition worse, so you will want to do things gradually. Take a look through the list and decide what will be best for the individual. We have a range of Dementia care services in Dudley, Walsall, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and surrounding areas so are here to advise if you need any further help. As soon as you think “where can I find dementia care near me?” don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here are some top ways to make your home more dementia-friendly.

1. Ensure there is good lighting
It is important to ensure that the home is well lit. This will enable you to see clearly where you are going and if there are any potential trip hazards. Daylight and good internal lighting will help to eradicate any shadows or dark areas that can make the floor confusing. It can also help you to roughly keep track of the time of day. You can set up smart devices that will turn lights on at a certain time of day so that they automatically come on if the room is starting to get dark.

2. Eliminate any unnecessary noise
Unnecessary noise can be stressful and confusing, particularly if the individual has hearing aids. You can reduce noise by getting fabric items such as cushions, carpet and curtains. These can help to absorb sounds such as that of walking on laminate flooring. It is also a good idea to turn the radio or television off when it is not in use. For dementia care at home, this is a simple yet effective way to help.

3. Remove any potential hazards Top ways to make your home more dementia friendly
It is important to remove any potential hazards that the individual could be affected by. Remove any rugs that could be a tripping hazard, particularly those at the tops of stairs or in rooms that aren’t as well lit. It could also be a good idea to lock away any hazardous products such as those used for cleaning. People with dementia could get confused, you don’t want them to find and either consume them or get them on their skin which could cause irritation or injury.

4. Put up signs around the house
To help with dementia care at home, put signs up labelling what certain rooms are for. For example, you could put a sign up on the toilet door with the word toilet and an image of a toilet. This could help with them trying to remember what room is for what function in the home.

This will prevent them from becoming distressed at not being able to find what they are looking for. You could also put up signs for things such as the kettle or microwave and instructions on using them. Putting timers next to devices can also be a good way of helping them not forget about things such as putting the kettle on.

5. Display photos of loved ones and happy memories
Items such as photos of family members or loved ones can help with dementia care at home. It can help them to feel comforted and keep their loved ones in their mind. It is a good idea to put a photo of the recipient next to their phone number. Pin this up in case they can’t remember who to call. Make items such as puzzles, books, photographs and essential phone numbers easy to find and put them in multiple places around the home.

If you are looking for dementia care in Dudley, Walsall, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and beyond, Secure Healthcare Solutions are here to help. Our dementia care services ensure that your loved one is looked after at home. We will make them feel as relaxed and happy as possible. For more information about our dementia care at home and dementia care services, please take a look here or get in touch with us today.

There are more than one million people in the traditional care system. They live full-time in care homes and nursing homes. Some pay for their care, others receive help from their local authority. But there are other options to these more traditional forms of care.

Moving in with a carer

In recent years, councils have become increasingly involved in shared-lives schemes – paying individuals to provide care, including personal care, in their own home. Providers are regulated and used to provide short breaks for family carers as well as full-time arrangements. More than 13,000 people benefit from shared lives, including those with learning disabilities and mental health problems as well as older people. Of the 150 schemes in the country, two-thirds are run by councils, with the rest provided by the voluntary sector.

Home share and befriending

The price of property has prompted growing interest in home-share arrangements – someone who can provide help moving in with an older person who has space free in their house. The carer provides only basic support such as shopping, cleaning or gardening, not personal care, in return for accommodation that is free or for a small rent. There are now about 20 home-share schemes in the UK, helping several hundred older people.

Another popular idea in a similar vein – older people are linked up, usually by a charity, with a volunteer who provides companionship and some low-level support, such as shopping and trips out.

Home Care or Care at Home

Living independently at home is something most of us would like to do for as long as possible. When that time comes to make the decision to ask for extra support to continue to live independently as much as possible, our home care services are tailored for exactly that. Home care  can be arranged on an hourly, daily, weekly basis or a much longer plan to suit your needs.

Home care supports activities of daily living . At home care services allow adults to receive day-to-day help with the personal care they need, preserving their dignity and maintaining a good quality of life. Assistance with activities of daily living can include bathing, grooming, and medication reminders

Costs aside, one-to-one home care offers a number of substantial benefits over residential nursing home care, both for the care recipient and for their family. One-to-one home care provides innumerable benefits, including: The maintenance of your independence and freedom to live life as you choose.

Retirement villages

Unlike in a care home, retirement-village residents usually buy an apartment on the site, although in some schemes they can part-buy or even rent the property. Residents bring their own furniture, decorate as they wish, and are free to have friends and family come to stay. Most villages allow pets to come too. They can also pay for care and support services, which are on-site, as and when they need them.

The properties have been designed to keep the individual living independently as long as possible and so can be kitted out with alarms, fall sensors and easily accessible showers. Such complexes are popular in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, but have yet to completely take off in the UK. There are fewer than 30,000 units in the UK – Australia has six times more – with the highest concentration in the affluent South East.

Sheltered housing

There are many different types of sheltered-housing schemes. Some will have a warden, living on or off the premises, and all provide 24-hour emergency help through an alarm system. Rented accommodation is usually self-contained, but there are often communal areas, such as the lounge, laundry room and garden.

Many schemes run social events for residents. For those needing more support, extra-care sheltered housing may be available where residents can have personal care and meals provided. Most schemes are run by councils or housing associations, and there are often waiting lists for places.

Adapt your home

Equipment can be provided by councils or brought privately to make it easier for older people to live in their house for longer.Traditional aids such as stair lifts and grab rails are still popular, but technology has opened up a whole host of other options, from flood detectors to sensors that raise the alarm when the individual does not move around their property normally.

Councils and the NHS are also investing in ” telehealth ” and ” telecare ” technology, including devices to remind people to take medication and ways for carers and health staff to remotely monitor things such as blood pressure.

Relying on family and friends

By far the most popular option is family and friends. An estimated 1.5 million older people rely on them for their care needs.The care provided can be pretty substantial. A third of carers provide more than 100 hours a week of care, with many of the carers older people themselves. Sometimes this is supplemented by formal help from councils, but surveys suggest that is decreasing.

However, the pressure is having an impact on the health and wellbeing of those providing the care. Six in 10 older carers who provide 50 or more hours of care a week say their health is not good.

If you wish to learn more about how we can support you, please contact us and let one of our advisers come to see you and your family for a more detailed plan on how we can support you.

Despite promising results in an earlier trial, people taking the experimental drug intepirdine in the Phase III MINDSET trial did not see any substantial benefits in memory and thinking compared to those who took a placebo. These disappointing results feel like yet another setback, but Dr Clare Walton our Research Communications Manager explains why we should still be optimistic.

A drug to manage the symptoms of dementia

Intepirdine was being tested as an add-on to existing Alzheimer’s medications. It wasn’t expected to slow down the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s, but based on earlier studies, researchers were hopeful that it would go further than the existing drugs to help people cope with the symptoms of dementia.

Given that we haven’t seen a drug approved for any form of dementia since 2002, new approaches to treat the symptoms and to slow the disease are both urgently needed.

Over 1000 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease took part in the trial. They took either the experimental drug or a placebo every day for 6 months, on top of a stable daily dose of donepezil, the most common treatment for Alzheimer’s.

At the end of the study, there were no significant differences in memory and thinking abilities between those who took the drug and those who took the placebo. There were also no improvements in how well people were able to complete their daily activities such as dressing, cooking and using public transport.

The conclusion – that intepirdine does not work as a new drug for people with Alzheimer’s.

Broadening the focus of drug discovery

It’s true that drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease has been riddled with negative results, but this latest failure isn’t a reason to lose hope. Up until now, most Alzheimer’s drug research has focused on a very narrow range of targets. Drugs in development have either focused on the build-up of amyloid plaques, or have tried to change the imbalance of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. This is what intepirdine does.

Although we know both of these mechanisms are important in Alzheimer’s, we also know of several other pathways that go wrong and contribute to disease progression. Alzheimer’s Society has recently committed £50m as a founding funder of the UK Dementia Research Institute, which will fund over 400 scientists to investigate the underlying causes of all forms of dementia. By exploring a much wider range of disease mechanisms, their research aims to unlock the doors to many alternative treatment approaches.

Dementia Research Institute graphic
Plans for the UK Dementia Research Institute

 

Researchers within the UK Dementia Research Institute, and indeed across our £30m research portfolio, are looking into a number of exciting leads. These include: the critical role that cells and chemicals of the immune system play in dementia; the way in which connections between brain cells are disrupted early in the disease; what changes in the complex relationship between blood vessels and brain cells as dementia takes hold; and more exploratory work such as the role of sleep and gut bacteria in predisposing people to dementia.

Working across these diverse research areas and casting our net more widely should dramatically increase our chances of finding new drugs that really work.

Dr Doug Brown, our Director of Research and Development, said: ‘The UK Dementia Research Institute is a ground-breaking initiative that could not have arrived at a better time. As the number of people living with dementia in the UK is set to reach 1 million by 2021, the stakes are too high to fail.’

Time is of the essence

Of course for people living with dementia now, time is still the most important issue. With another drug failure comes the disappointment that it will be a few years before we see the next promising drug trial deliver its results. While we wait, we need to look at ways to shortcut the drug development process – which is the focus of our Drug Discovery programme. It tests whether drugs already in use for other health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or high blood pressure, can work for people with dementia too, potentially reducing development time in half.

We’re also investing heavily into care research that looks at non-pharmacological ways to help people with dementia manage their symptoms and to be supported to live in their communities as well as possible for as long as possible.

 

People with dementia and their carers talk about the everyday challenges they face in living well with dementia. … Although help from health and care services is vitally important, making it possible for people affected by dementia to live well will require help from people and organisations across society.

Dementia Friendly Communities is a programme which facilitates the creation of dementia-friendly communities across the UK. Everyone, from governments and health boards to the local corner shop and hairdresser, share part of the responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.

What is a dementia-friendly community?

We need to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included, and that they can confidently contribute to community life.

Everyone, from governments and health boards, to the local corner shop and hairdresser, have a responsibilty to make sure people with dementia feel active, engaged and valued.

We need sustained national leadership and grassroots action on dementia to create a dementia-friendly Britain. At Alzheimer’s Society, we’ve set up a defined process for communities and businesses to gain recognition for their work in becoming dementia friendly.

How to become a recognised dementia-friendly community

Recognition processes enables communities to be publicly recognised for their work towards becoming dementia-friendly. It was built around seven criteria. These criteria were developed around what is important to people affected by dementia and their carers, and consists of an online development programme and annual reporting requirements.

Look at the documents for the seven criterias to learn more about what is expected of communities registering for recognition

Dementia Friendly Business Pilot

As well as looking at how people with dementia live in their local communities, we’re leading work on helping businesses support dementia friendly communities. Piloted by industry leaders including British Gas and Sainsbury’s, this work will define and implement how employers can best support their employees, customers or clients who are living with dementia. This is providing the best practice examples, with the view to rolling out a framework for achieving this on a national level.

The brains of SuperAgers (those 80 years old and older whose memories are as sharp as healthy people in their 50s and 60s) shrink much slower than their age-matched peers, resulting in a greater resistance to ‘typical’ memory loss and dementia, a new path-breaking study that shows.

 

This is a MRI scan of a SuperAger’s brain. The portion between the yellow and red lines is the cortex, which contains neurons. SuperAgers’ cortices shrunk over two times slower than average-age peers’ in a recent Northwestern Medicine study, which may contribute to their superior memory performance.

Credit: Northwestern University

The highly engaged and delightful conversationalist, who reads, volunteers and routinely researches questions on the Internet, is part of a new path-breaking Northwestern Medicine study that shows that SuperAgers’ brains shrink much slower than their age-matched peers, resulting in a greater resistance to “typical” memory loss and dementia.

Over the course of the 18-month study, normal agers lost volume in the cortex twice as fast as SuperAgers, a rare group of people aged 80 and above whose memories are as sharp as those of healthy persons decades younger.

“Increasing age is often accompanied by ‘typical’ cognitive decline or, in some cases, more severe cognitive decline called dementia,” said first author Amanda Cook, a clinical neuropsychology doctoral student in the laboratory of Emily Rogalski and Sandra Weintraub. “SuperAgers suggest that age-related cognitive decline is not inevitable.”The study was published in JAMA. Senior author Emily Rogalski will present the findings at the 2017 Cognitive Aging Summit in Bethesda, Maryland, April 6.SuperAger research at Northwestern is flipping the traditional approach to Alzheimer’s research of focusing on brains that are underperforming to instead focusing on outperforming brains.

” It’s Dementia Awareness Week and we are standing united with @alzheimerssoc against dementia

#DAW2017 #UniteAgainstDementia ” 

Dementia currently affects around 850,000 people in the UK, with a staggering one in 14 people over the age of 65 living with the condition. To coincide with Dementia Awareness Week, running from 14-20 May, get to know the symptoms and causes of the health condition, along with the treatments and how it can possibly be prevented.

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.

“Everyone, from banks and supermarkets to the local corner shop and hairdresser, share responsibility

for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.”

What causes dementia?

There are a number of diseases that result in dementia, with the most common cause being Alzheimer’s disease. This is where an abnormal protein surrounds brain cells and another protein damages their internal structure. Over time the chemical connections between brain cells are lost and cells begin to die.

Another common type of dementia is vascular dementia; this occurs when the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced because of narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, leading to brain cells becoming damaged or dying. The symptoms can occur suddenly, following a stroke, or develop over time after a series of small strokes.

What are the symptoms of dementia?

The different types of dementia can affect people in different ways, especially in the early stages. However many of the problems will be cognitive, and a person with dementia will often have problems with some of the following:

Day-to-day memory: Including difficulty remembering events that happened recently.

Concentrating, planning or organising: This could include having difficulty making decisions, solving problems or carrying out tasks.

Language: A person may have trouble following a conversation or finding the right word for what they want to say.

Orientation: They may lose track of the day or date, or become confused about where they are.

Visuospatial skills: This could include problems judging distances and seeing objects in three dimensions.

A person with dementia will also often have changes to their mood. They may become frustrated, irritable, easily upset or unusually sad. The symptoms will gradually get worse over time as dementia is progressive, however how quickly this happens varies from person to person.

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How is dementia diagnosed?

There is no single test for dementia; a diagnosis is based on a combination of factors, including…

Case history: The doctor will talk to the person and someone who knows them well about how their problems developed and how it is affecting their daily life.

Physical examination and tests: Blood tests and other physical examinations will help doctors to rule out any other possible causes for the person’s symptoms.

Mental ability tests: Some tests may be carried out by a doctor or psychologist to assess a patient’s memory and thinking.

A scan of the brain: This can help to confirm a diagnosis and assess which type of dementia a patient has.

Read more about diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the treatment for dementia?

There is currently no cure for dementia, however there is ongoing research into how to help symptoms or to slow down their progression. Non-drug treatments available include advice, support and therapies for dementia patients. Talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive rehabilitation may help some patients, while people with dementia are also encouraged to stay as active as possible – both mentally and physically.

There are some medications available to dementia patients including memantine, a drug that may be offered in the moderate or severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease to help with attention and daily living. Meanwhile people with vascular dementia are likely to be offered drugs to treat the underlying medical conditions that cause dementia, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart problems.

How can dementia be prevented?

While there is no proven way of preventing dementia, following a healthy and active lifestyle could reduce the risk of developing the condition. This includes maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet, staying active and avoiding excessive alcohol and smoking, which can lead to narrowing of the arteries. It has also been suggested that staying mentally and socially active into later life may reduce a person’s risk of dementia.

Caring for a loved one with dementia ? 

For more information on dementia visit alzheimers.org.uk. If you think that you or anyone you know may have dementia it is important to visit your GP or talk to one of our care professionals at secure healthcare solutions .

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