What is Dementia?
Dementia is a disorder which progressively affects the ability of the brain and how it works. It particularly affects a person’s ability to think, remember and reason. Dementia is characterised by a number of symptoms that may be acquired alongside other conditions that affect a person’s brain. Examples of these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Despite what many might believe, dementia is not a normal consequence of aging. The strength of the symptoms can range from very mild forgetfulness, to much greater symptoms that severely affect everyday life. In many of these cases, sufferers or their family members make the decision to place them in a Dementia specialist residential care home.
Recognising the symptoms
The symptoms that are typical of dementia usually come on gradually and worsen over time. Symptoms can vary from person to person and are also affected by the condition that is causing them. Therefore, dementia care homes need to provide personalised care according to each person’s specific requirements and symptoms.
Common symptoms include:
- Losing short term memory
- Personality/mood changes
- Forgetting things regularly
- Unable to follow simple instructions or conversations as easily as before
- Difficulty making decisions
It is common that both the dementia sufferer and friends/family ignore these symptoms or put them down to old age for quite some time. If you are worried about your own or someone else’s memory, we encourage you to visit your GP who can provide further assistance.
Although causes/factors such as age and genetics are not under our control, there are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to potentially lower your risk.
We would recommend:
- Exercising regularly
- Giving up smoking
- Eat a varied and healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables
- Take part in plenty of outside interests that exercise your body and mind
- Check your blood pressure and cholesterol with your GP regularly
Diagnosis and Treatment
Underlying causes, including physical illness, can often cause memory problems such as Dementia. Your GP will often start by simply chatting to you about everyday life and your symptoms. They may then request to speak to your close family members, helping them when making an informal assessment.
Following a recognised memory test, you will then be referred to a consultant. This consultant may need to carry out a range of further test such as a brain scan to help with diagnosis. There is great difficulty in diagnosing dementia and which type a person has, particularly when the symptoms have just begun. Guidance has been provided by the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the types of treatment, medication and other therapies used for the treatment of Dementia.
Here at Old Alresford Cottage, we are specialists in Dementia care. Our staff are trained to an exceptionally high level to care for those suffering with the symptoms of Dementia and have experience in recognising these symptoms. We provide respite/day care as well as long term residential care for those suffering with Dementia. If you have any concerns or questions about the care of a loved one, our team will be happy to provide any support or information.