Dementia Action Week
16 May 2018
Dementia Action Week
- What is Dementia Action Week?
- Alzheimer's Society UK
- How can you get involved with Dementia Action Week?
- What is Dementia?
- What are the signs of Dementia? /span>
- What are the symptoms of Dementia?
- What are the Stages of Dementia?
- What are the Causes of Dementia?
- Dementia Diagnosis
- Dementia Support
- What are the different types of support available for Dementia?
- Support From Local Authorities
- Legal & Financial Support
- Organisations which support Dementia
What is Dementia Action Week?
Dementia Action Week will take place on 21st May 2018 until 28th May 2018 and the purpose of the campaign is to call on everyone to take action to improve the everyday lives of people affected by dementia. The goal of the campaign is to also help raise awareness and support of dementia so that people know the signs and how to deal with dementia. This is hosted by Alzheimer's Society a UK based charity dedicated to supporting people with dementia.
Alzheimer's society UK are a dedicated UK charity who's mission is to transform the landscape of dementia forever. They believe strongly in finding a cure and striving to create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear of prejudice. You can read more about Alzheimers Society UK
Share your story and spread the word on social media
Dementia is a progressive disorder that affects how your brain works and in particular the ability to remember, think and reason. It is not a disease in itself – but a group of symptoms that may accompany a number of diseases that can affect the brain. Dementia is not a consequence of growing old but the risk of having dementia increases with age. Most people who are affected by dementia are over 65, but it can happen to anyone. Around 600,000-800,000 people have dementia in the UK.
What are the signs of Dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. This may include problems with:
- memory loss
- thinking speed
- mental sharpness and quickness
- difficulties carrying out daily activities
What are the symptoms of Dementia?
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
- struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word/ problems communicating
- being confused about time and place
- mood and personality changes
- misplacing things- forgeting the location of everyday items such as keys, wallets
- loss of initiative
What are the Stages of Dementia?
Mild Cognitive Impairment: characterized by general forgetfulness. This affects many people as they age but it only progresses to dementia for some.
Mild Dementia: people with mild dementia will experience cognitive impairments that occasionally impact their daily life. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, personality changes, getting lost, and difficulty in planning and carrying out tasks.
Moderate Dementia: daily life becomes more challenging, and the individual may need more help. Symptoms are similar to mild dementia but increased. Individuals may need help getting dressed and combing their hair. They may also show significant changes in personality; for instance, becoming suspicious or agitated for no reason. There are also likely to be sleep disturbances.
Severe Dementia: at this stage, symptoms have worsened considerably. There may be a loss of ability to communicate, and the individual might need full-time care. Simple tasks, such as sitting and holding one's head up become impossible. Bladder control may be lost.
What are the causes of dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease – This is the most common cause of dementia. In Alzheimer’s disease, an abnormal protein surrounds brain cells and another protein damages their internal structure. In time, chemical connections between brain cells are lost and cells begin to die.
Vascular dementia – If the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced because of narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, some brain cells become damaged or die. This is what happens in vascular dementia.
Mixed dementia – This is 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 together.
Dementia with Lewy bodies – This type of dementia involves tiny abnormal structures (Lewy bodies) forming inside brain cells. They disrupt the chemistry of the brain and lead to the death of brain cells.
- Frontotemporal dementia (including Pick’s disease) – In frontotemporal dementia, the front and side parts of the brain are damaged. Clumps of abnormal proteins form inside brain cells, causing them to die.
If you're worried about your memory or think you may have dementia, it's a good idea to see your GP. If you're worried about someone else's memory problems, encourage them to make an appointment and perhaps suggest that you go along with them. Getting a diagnosis gives you and your family the best chance to prepare and plan for the future. Your GP will then ask you in detail about your symptoms and conduct further investigations. It is best to have somebody with you a close family member or a close friend so they can help explain to your GP in more detail. Read more about how Dementia will be diagnosed on NHS Choices
What are the different types of support available for Dementia?
- GPs, counsellors and other health professionals (eg dementia specialist nurse, occupational therapist) – these can offer support as well as advise on medical issues.
- Local support groups – these are available in many areas and are a good source of information. You will be able to talk to people in a similar situation and share ideas, tips and strategies about caring. Use our service finder to find local support groups near you, or see ‘Other resources’ for more people you can contact.
- Online discussion forums – these can also be helpful and may offer practical suggestions, or simply a place where you can let off steam after a difficult day. You can access them at any time. You could try Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point, or Carers UK also run a number of forums.
- Information – there is lots of information available on all aspects of caring. This can help if you are struggling with anything from financial issues and activities to depression or eating.
- Adaptations to the home – you may be able to make improvements to your home that make life easier for the person you care for. This in turn could make things easier for you. These adaptations could improve a person’s mobility or help them to maintain their independence.
Support From Local Authorities
Local authorities can provide help for people with dementia and their carers. Both the person with dementia and their carer are entitled to an assessment of their needs (called a ‘needs assessment’ or ‘community care assessment’). The local authority will use this to decide what support you are eligible to receive.
Your local authority may be able to provide:
- information tailored to your needs
- day centres
- support groups
- support from professionals (such as a dementia specialist nurse)
- adaptations to the home
- respite care (sometimes called replacement care).
Legal & Financial Support
Your legal and financial situation may be affected if you are caring for a person with dementia. There are a number of areas to think about, such as those listed below.
- If you are planning to give up work, check whether flexible working, alongside help from the local authority, might allow you to stay in work. Carers have a right to request flexible working and employers have to give a good business reason for refusing the request.
- If you do have to give up work, you may be able to claim Carer’s credit (a National Insurance credit for carers) so that your pension won’t be affected.
- Make sure you and the person you are caring for are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. Age UK can advise on this, or you can visit an advice centre such as the Citizens Advice Bureau to get a full benefits check.
- Think about ways to help manage your financial, health and welfare affairs in the future, and talk about it with the person you care for. This may be through a Lasting power of attorney. If the person with dementia receives benefits and is no longer able to manage this income, you can apply to be an appointee to manage this for them.
- Check your own position in terms of home and finances if the person you are caring for goes into long-term care or dies.
Organisations which support Dementia