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Talking about dementia for World Alzheimer’s Month
What is dementia?
Dementia is the term used when an individual experiences a continuous decline in brain function in relation to a specific group of symptoms. Basic cognitive skills, like memory loss, thinking speed, mental sharpness, language, understanding, judgement, mood, movement and the ability to perform routine tasks may worsen in an unnatural way not associated with normal aging.
There are various types of dementia which are brought on by different diseases and in total around 50 million people worldwide are affected. Out of the estimated 850,000 cases in the UK, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, with vascular dementia coming in second place. People aged over 65 are most at risk, but young onset dementia (also referred to as early onset dementia) also affects tens of thousands of people under 65 in the UK.
There is currently no cure for dementia but receiving an early diagnosis and acting quickly can sometimes combat and slow its progress. By getting the right treatment and proper support, many individuals are able to carry on living active and fulfilling lifestyles.
What are its impacts?
In short, everything is impacted. Being diagnosed with dementia is lifechanging. Knowing you’re going to lose your sense of self or independence can provoke feelings of anger, frustration, confusion and loneliness. On top of the initial stress, there’s the difficult conversations that follow with family and friends regarding planning for the future.
Most of us take memory for granted and we rely heavily on being able to focus and think clearly without even realising it. Normal tasks like getting dressed, cooking, shopping, going outside and talking can become a challenge if we forget what stage we’re at or get distracted. Over time, confidence can drop, depression and anxiety can develop and communicating may become hard. At this point, getting a carer or additional help can make life more comfortable.
Relationships with others may also change for several reasons. Perhaps they find it difficult to come to terms with the condition or just don’t know how to react. There’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the subject that can make some people speak in an unnecessarily simple fashion which may come across as condescending. This is one small, but important detail that can be improved through education to help people who suffer from memory loss feel less alienated.
World Alzheimer’s Month
Every year the Alzheimer’s Society dedicates the month of September to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. This time, they are creating a global conversation about how dementia impacts people and are challenging the stigma that surrounds being diagnosed.
There are several stages to dementia starting with having no impairment or very mild symptoms. In severe cases the disorder can cause forgetting loved ones’ names, requiring help eating and using the toilet, and changes to personality and emotions. It can progress even further to the stage where the individual has trouble speaking, walking and must spend most of their time in bed.
Some communities have had little exposure to dealing with dementia, but it can affect anybody. And it can be equally as devastating for the family and friends of those affected individuals. Talking with someone about the condition, whether you have it or know someone who has it, can help normalise it. For many people, this opportunity can be helpful and therapeutic.
Support and educational resources for dementia are available through the Alzheimer’s Society website. You can read stories from people who have been on both sides of the condition and how they’ve coped, get a better understanding of the symptoms and impacts, or learn about different treatments and how to live an active lifestyle. There is also advice aimed at carers, including how to care under different living circumstances and how to look after yourself.
This year especially due to the COVID-19 crisis, people with dementia are feeling increasingly isolated. Another way you can help is to become a Dementia Friend. By joining this initiative, you’ll learn all about the condition and venture out into the community to provide extra support.
Your responsibilities can range from big to small and you can choose how much time you dedicate to the cause. Visiting people with dementia, doing tasks with them, volunteering, campaigning and raising awareness are some of the ways you can get involved.
We’re proud to have a Dementia Friend as part of the CareDocs team in the form of software trainer Karen. You can read more about Karen’s story here as part of our Meet the Team series.
CareDocs was developed with the resident at its heart. It should go without saying that no matter the situation, people who require care should be treated with dignity and respect. Our platform gives them a voice by helping provide tailored, individualised care – even to those who can’t speak for themselves.
Person-centred care is a key method of treating individuals living with dementia, which can be easily accomplished using the CareDocs system. By simply completing our comprehensive care Assessment, you can generate an in-depth, personalised planning process to support individuals in all aspects of daily routines and help them lead full and happy lives.
Using our powerful reporting tools, you’ll have access to a daily overview of the individual’s well-being. Areas of concern are highlighted to enable the appropriate actions or interventions to be taken, assisting in safeguarding the person from harm or abuse.
To find out more, please contact us today on 0330 055 3333 or email SalesGroup@caredocs.co.uk
World Alzheimer’s Month:
Living with dementia guide:
NHS – dementia:
- 5 tips to increase care staff retention April 6, 2021
- The new CareDocs website has launched! March 25, 2021
- Our approach to the COVID-19 crisis and our features January 12, 2021