The Outlook South West book for...
WHAT IS DEMENTIA
It is estimated that there are currently 820,000 people with dementia living in the UK alone and this is set to rise over the next 30 years. As a carer, you are one of over six million people in the UK who provide practical and emotional support for someone close to you. Caring for someone with dementia, can at times be a challenging and demanding experience. Whilst there are often many rewarding times, carers also say that there are times when they might feel angry, upset or lonely. This booklet provides lots of practical information about dementia, its effects and different ways to help reduce levels of anxiety, stimulate memory and aid relaxation. It also contains information for you, the carer, about looking after yourself and ways to cope with some of the emotional changes that you can experience when caring for a loved one. As a carer, learning as much as possible about dementia, its effects and what you can do to support the person you are caring for, can help you to feel more prepared for the future and make the right choices. This booklet has been put together with the help of carers like you and contains lots of practical tips and strategies that carers themselves have used and found helpful. Whatever your experience is, you are not alone and details of useful organisations, local and national support groups, help lines, chat forums and books are available at the end of the booklet.
Introduction What is dementia Coping with change 02 04 12
Understanding behaviours that challenge 17 Communication Medication Caring for the carer Caring for yourself Helping Wellbeing through occupation Relaxation for wellbeing Diet and wellbeing Driving End stage dementia Practical planning for the future Recommended books Contacts 22 26 28 34 36 44 46 51 53 57 59 60
You will also find a separate sheet accompanying this booklet. The back of the book contains a personal life history tool called ‘All about me’, which you can take out and use whenever you need it. 3
WHAT IS DEMENTIA
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of illnesses that cause degeneration of brain cells, leading to what is known as cognitive decline. This means that a person with dementia may have difficulties in short-term memory loss, disorientation, problem solving, reasoning, concentration, perception, communication, emotions and independence. Dementia is progressive in nature, which for most people, means that they will get worse over time. The way the dementia progresses will be different for each person, so no two people will have the same experience of dementia, even if they have the same type and are the same age. “Dementia is not part of the normal ageing process.” It is important to acknowledge that dementia is not part of the normal ageing process. However, the likelihood of developing it does appear to increase with age. 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will die with some form of dementia. The most common types of dementia include: • n Alzheimer’s disease. • n Vascular dementia. • n Dementia with Lewy Bodies. • n Fronto temporal dementia - including Pick’s disease. Other less common types of dementia include: • n Dementia caused by Huntington’s disease. • n Dementia caused by Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD). • n Dementia as part of a neurological (brain) illness, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
Common types of Dementia: Alzheimer’s Disease Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. In the UK it accounts for roughly 60% of all dementias. It is a physical disease affecting the brain. Small clumps of protein, known as plaques and tangles begin to develop around brain cells. Over time this disrupts the normal workings of the brain and eventually leads to the death of brain cells. Short term memory loss and difficulties in...
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