Dementia care is increasingly becoming an area that is receiving more focus as the number of people needing dementia care increases. In this section of our site, we try and provide the key piers of information that you need to know in a straightforward way.
The word dementia covers a number of different symptoms that may include things such as memory loss, problem-solving and remembering language. The changes often take place gradually over time and can have a significant impact on somebody’s everyday life.
Making an accurate diagnosis in the early stages is therefore very difficult. Often dementia is diagnosed after keeping a record of the symptoms you are displaying. Here is a great video from the Alzheimer’s Society which tells you all you need to know about dementia.
It is estimated that by the end of 2020 that could be 1 million people in the UK with dementia. You are more likely to get dementia if you are over the age of 65 and the older you get the more chance you have of getting it. Dementia does not discriminate between males and females or different races and it really can affect anyone.
Dementia can result as a result of the range of different diseases. However, there are four main types:
Types of dementia
Early signs to look out for
This is by far the most common cause of dementia and accounts for about 50 to 70% of all dementia cases. This is as a result of chemical connections between brain cells being lost or dying over time.
|An early indication of Alzheimer’s disease is problems with day-to-day memory and making every day decisions.
This is caused by the oxygen supply to the brain being reduced because of a narrowing of blood cells. Symptoms for vascular dementia can occur suddenly following a large stroke or through a series of smaller strokes.
|Symptoms may be similar to those above for Alzheimer’s disease, including general confusion or disorientation. This is sometimes also known as mixed dementia.
|Lewy Body Dementia
This type of dementia involves tiny abnormal structures developing inside brain cells. These are known as Lewy bodies.
|Early symptoms include fluctuating alertness, spatial awareness and judging distances.
This is caused by the front inside parts of the brain becoming damaged over time, when clumps of abnormal proteins form inside nerve cells causing them to die.
|The initial signs are often changes in personality and behaviour, including becoming frustrated or snappy easily.
Whilst dementia is increasingly common, people will experience dementia in their own way. This is because there are a number of different types of dementia, each of which affects people in different ways and therefore the dementia care that they need can differ.
A person with dementia will have problems with thinking or memory loss (sometimes referred to as cognitive symptoms). Examples of the types of problems they will face are:
Dementia is a progressive disease and it is difficult to identify very quickly. Therefore it is important to get regular assessments where you feel you may be displaying some of the symptoms we have outlined. Unfortunately, there is not a single test you can take, but the doctor can undertake an assessment to determine whether you may have dementia and if you have any dementia care needs.
However, if you think you may be suffering from dementia, the first step is to go and see your GP. They will do an initial assessment of you and if they feel it appropriate it, will refer you to a specialist who will then be able to undertake a more comprehensive assessment. The benefit of seeing a specialist is that they will be more experienced in identifying symptoms of dementia and also have the ability to request more detailed tests, for example brain scans.
Dementia is usually then ultimately diagnosed by a specialist doctor, who is often a mental health specialist, a geriatrician, who is a doctor specialising in the health of all older people, or a neurologist, who is a doctor specialising in diseases of the nervous system.
Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, dementia is incurable. However, through research and continued revolution off drugs, there is hope that a cure can be found. In fact, the leading nations of this world have committed to try and find a cure by 2025.
Even though there is no cure, there are treatments that you can receive which will help you live with dementia and to help give you a more comfortable life. If you need any advice on this you can speak to your GP or visit websites by the Alzheimer’s Society or Dementia UK.
If you or a loved one is living with dementia, you can read our article that shares 51 tips to help with daily living. It covers a broad range of issues from keeping fit to dealing with legal and financial affairs.
Fortunately, many care homes today are well set up to deal with residents who need dementia care. In fact, there are some that specifically specialise in providing dementia care. You can use our search facility if you are searching for a residential care home that is able to provide dementia care.
You can read more about the different types of dementia by clicking the boxes below.