What is Dementia care
Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — similar to heart disease — which covers a variety and range of specific medical conditions, which include Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the umbrella term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes cause the decline in thinking skills, which is also known as cognitive abilities (behaviours), severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings and relationships.
Who gets dementia?
There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. This is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. Dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65 (one in 14 people in this age group have dementia) and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age. However, dementia can affect younger people too. There are currently more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with dementia.
Symptoms of dementia?
Every person is unique, there-fore their experiences of dementia especially at early stages will be different from others. Some of the cognitive symptoms (linked with thinking or memory) are quite common for someone who lives with dementia. They may experience difficulty with the following:
As dementia is a progressive disesase, the symptoms will get worse with time. The speed in which the dementia progresses will vary from person to person. The person might develop certain behaviours which may seem unusual or out of character such as pacing or agitation or even wandering.
Six in 10 people with dementia will wander. A person with Alzheimer's may not remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented, even in familiar places.
Wandering among people with dementia is dangerous, but there are strategies and services to help prevent it. These changes in behaviour may cause distress to family or friends.In the later stages of dementia, a person may develop physical symptoms such as muscle weakness, weight loss, changes in sleep pattern or appetite.
Signs of dementia can vary greatly more examples include:
Common forms of dementia
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form and may contribute to 60–70% of cases. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by an abnormal protein which surrounds brain cells and another protein that damages their internal structure. In time, chemical connections between brain cells are lost and cells begin to die. The reduced connections between brain cells affect day-to-day memory, difficulties in finding the right words, solving problems, making decisions, or perceiving things in three dimensions.
Vascular dementia occurs if the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced because of narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. It causes some brain cells become damaged or die. The symptoms can occur suddenly (after a large stroke) or they can develop over time as a result of a series of small strokes. The symptoms of vascular dementia vary and may be similar to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Many people have difficulties with problem-solving or planning, concentrating and thinking quickly. They may also experience short periods when they get very confused.
Mixed dementia describes when someone has more than one type of dementia, and a mixture of the symptoms of those types. It is common for someone to have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies this type of dementia is caused by tiny abnormal structures (Lewy bodies) forming inside brain cells. They disrupt the chemistry of the brain and lead to the death of brain cells. Early symptoms can include alertness that varies over the course of the day, hallucinations, and difficulties judging distances. A person’s day-to-day memory is usually affected less than in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia with Lewy bodies is closely related to Parkinson’s disease and often has some of the same symptoms, including difficulty with movement.
Frontotemporal dementia (including Pick’s disease) – in this type of dementia, the front and side parts of the brain are damaged. Clumps of abnormal proteins form inside brain cells, causing them to die. Initially, changes in personality and behaviour may be the most obvious signs. Depending on which areas of the brain are damaged, the person may have difficulties with fluent speech or forget the meaning of words.
While the symptoms of the above mentioned dementia types vary in the early stages, in the later stages of an illness the symptoms are becoming quite similar. In the later stages of dementia, the person will need more and more support to carry out everyday tasks. Many people with dementia live well for years after their diagnosis. There is a lot of information, advice and support available for the person with dementia and their support network (family, friends, carers) can help them live well with dementia.
Many conditions are progressive, which means that the signs of dementia start out slowly and gradually get worse. If you or someone you know is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don't ignore them. See a doctor soon to determine the cause. Professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition.
How we can help you?
A change of routine and/or environment can be very strange, scary and daunting for someone who’s living with dementia. This is why more and more families than ever are now turning to home care rather than residential care, so their loved one can stay in the place they know and love instead of nursing/care homes.
Dementia care staff
We have a dedicated Dementia Champion on the team, our managers and carers have all undertaken extensive training and assessment as well as regular refreshers to ensure they have the all the skills to provide outstanding dementia care. We work closely with the local authority as well as private clients and we aim for the highest standard and level of care for those with a diagnosis of dementia.