Dementia Care, Support & Awareness
Posted 08 Feb 2017
Recognising that a friend or relative may need dementia care or support can be a daunting task. Each person and situation is unique and there are many different types of dementia with some more common than others.
Dementia & Dementia Care
Dementia is a phrase used to describe a group of symptoms that may include memory loss, changes in behaviour, difficulties with thinking or use of language. Its important to remember that Dementia is a disease and not a natural part of ageing. Of course its possible that as we pass the age of 65, we can become forgetful but there’s usually a cause such as stresses or illness. Dementia however is a different type of forgetfulness and you should always seek to get a medical opinion as soon as you can to get the right kind of help and support for you.
What should I look for or what are noticeable signs of Dementia?
As a general checklist, Dementia can include the following signs.
- Forgetting important dates or events
- Finding difficulty in basic tasks, such as following a recipe or keeping track of bills
- Forgetting the rules of a card game or how to get to a familiar location
- Losing track of the date and time, or where you are and how you got there
- Having trouble recalling words for specific objects
- Difficulty with spatial reasoning, such as parking or visual problems with following a newspaper article
- Misplacing things and inability to retrace steps
- Buying things you do not need
- Social withdrawal
Changes in mood, such as confusion, depression, and anxiety
Talking to someone you think has signs of dementia
Raising the issue of memory loss and the possibility of dementia can be a difficult thing to do. Someone who is experiencing these symptoms may be confused, worried. It’s possible that either they or their partner may be in denial.
To get someone talking when you’re worried about their memory, the Alzheimer’s Society suggests that you:
- have the conversation in a familiar, non-threatening environment
- explain why talking is important and say you’re worried because you care
- use examples to make things clearer: it’s important not to create a sense of “blame” – for example, instead of telling someone they couldn’t make a cup of tea, you could suggest that they seem to find it difficult to make a cup of tea
- have an open conversation, and be honest and direct – for example, ask how they’re feeling about their memory
- make a positive plan of action together
You can read more top tips for talking about dementia on the Alzheimer’s Society website.
Should I get help now or wait and see?
This is a question may people will ask themselves, often as they aren’t trained professionals and just aren’t sure. The simple truth is, if this is genuinely Dementia, the sooner a diagnosis can be made and the sooner the correct support and guidance can be put in place. This will make planning for the future much easier.
If you can’t persuade your loved one to go to their GP, you should go yourself and discuss your worries. If possible, you can ask the GP to make a home visit, or at very least to give them a call to arrange a general check up at which time there can be an assessment made in regard to Dementia
And if it is Dementia? What next?
Its possible that the Dementia can be treated with medication or is related to prescribed medicines, vitamin deficiencies and urinary infections. A GP will be the first point in which to rule this out.
After that comes helping a patient enjoy as normal a life as possible, usually for as long as possible in their own home and there are many options available when Choosing a care provider
Is there help available for carers or if I want to become a carer?
Caring for someone with dementia can be stressful, isolating, exhausting and time-intensive. There is help out there, however and we provide dementia care to suit the needs of the individual.
The Alzheimers Society is a great place to start, as is AgeUK Thankfully there are support groups in all sizes in most areas and contacting your local GP surgery or your local authority can also give you great guidance.
The key is to get information and seek support as soon as you can to make any progression into Dementia as smooth and easy as possible for everyone. For more information on dementia and our dementia care services please call us on 01252 319315 or email us directly