Launch of our We Need To Talk...about Dementia campaign
- Credit: HUNTS POST
Latest research provided by the NHS shows there are more than 850,000 people in the UK have dementia. Anyone who has had any first-hand experience of the condition, will understand how devastating it can be for the person themselves and for loved ones.
There is, lots of good work being done in our communities to raise awareness about dementia as well as some wonderful projects that support people and their families and carers.
Over the next few weeks, our fourth We Need To Talk feature will focus on dementia. If you have a personal story to tell and would be happy to talk to us, we would love to hear from you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are organising activities that help and support those with the dementia, and their carers and families, please get in touch.
We would also like to hear from any care homes in the area who have activities or policies in place that are really making a difference to residents and patients with dementia.
You can listen to our We Need To Talk podcasts on Grief, Contaminated Blood and Mental Health.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA
The word ‘dementia’ describes a whole raft of symptoms which typically includes memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and sometimes language.
Changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they can be severe and affect their daily life, which may result in changes in mood or behaviour.
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Dementia occurs when the brain is damaged by disease, such as Alzheimer’s or a series of strokes, but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
The specific symptoms that someone with dementia will experience depend on the part of the brain that is damaged. These can include memory – for example, difficulty recalling events that happened recently, concentrating, planning, organising and making decisions.
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Sometimes even everyday tasks, such as cooking a meal, can become difficult and some people struggle with language, which make it difficult to follow a conversation or find the right word for something.
A person with dementia may also often have changes in their mood and may become frustrated or irritable, apathetic or withdrawn, anxious, easily upset or unusually sad. With some types of dementia, the person may see things that are not really there (visual hallucinations) or strongly believe things that are not true (delusions).
Dementia is progressive and symptoms gradually get worse over time. How quickly this happens varies greatly from person to person. As dementia progresses, the person may develop behaviours that seem unusual or out of character.
These behaviours may include asking the same question over and over, pacing, restlessness or becoming agitated. The person with dementia become distressed and this will be frightening and challenging family members and loved-one.
A person with dementia, especially in the later stages, may have physical symptoms such as muscle weakness or weight loss. Changes in sleep pattern and appetite are also common.
If you have been affected by the issues in our report and need dementia support, call the Dementia Connect support line on: 0333 150 3456 to speak with an adviser or go to: www.alzheimers.org.uk.