You probably heard quite a bit about dementia or have a loved one that suffers from this disease but still not be completely sure what it is, what causes dementia or what a diagnosis could mean for you or a loved one. Here’s all the basic information you need to know:
– The general term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that occur when brain cells stops working properly. The main symptom of dementia is memory loss but there are many other symptoms too, including communication and language problems and changes in personality.
– A progressive condition which means it gets worse in time though it usually progresses quite slowly – over years – rather than months depending on which form of dementia you have been diagnosed with and what caused it.
Diagnosed via various tests which can be carried out by a doctor or dementia specialist working in a memory clinic or hospital. Although there is no cure for dementia – yet – there are many ways to help slow down the progress of the condition including drug treatments, natural and psychological therapies and creative activities which can provide lots of enjoyment and stimulation.
Dementia is NOT…
– A normal part of ageing – occasional lapses in memory might be part of the ageing process but dementia is more serious than this. It is a condition which damages the brain.
– The same as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia but it isn’t the only one. In fact there are around 200 different types of dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia (sometimes called Pick’s disease), or a combination of more than one form called ‘mixed dementia’.
– A condition which only affects old people – younger people can get dementia too (although it is quite rare). When someone under 65 is diagnosed with a form of dementia it’s called early-onset or young-onset which can sometimes be hereditary.
– A mental illness – dementia is caused by damage to the brain, the damage can often be seen on brain scans, so it isn’t ‘in the mind.’ However, a diagnosis of dementia can also cause depression which, in turn, can lead to further memory problems.
How can we help…
Living with dementia is challenging for the person affected and their support network. By working closely with all involved, we can assist the person to maintain their independence for as long as possible: helping with all aspects of day to day living and supporting them through the physical and cognitive changes that take place as the condition progresses.
We adopt a holistic approach to providing dementia services: continually improving the knowledge and skills within our organisation, working closely with healthcare professionals and experts in the field and working with the local community to improve facilities for, and understanding of, people affected by dementia across Bedfordshire.
All of our care workers receive dementia awareness and sensitivity training as part of the induction for newcomers. We follow this up with regular refresher training. We also encourage further study and training to national standards – all staff studying QCF are entered on the dementia training pathway.
We are flexible and responsive. We’re always willing to try new approaches and new services to enhance and improve the care that we provide.
We provide care and support at all levels: from general help with day to day tasks, through support with stimulating activities and exercise to supported people with complex conditions.
We’re aware that many people living with dementia prefer to stay at home in comfortable surroundings and we work with them to keep them active and engaged where they feel safe.