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An introduction to dementia

 

It’s normal for us to forget things from time to time, but individuals living with dementia often become increasingly more and more forgetful and struggle to recall recently learnt information in the early stages of dementia. As the condition develops individuals often struggle to recall memories and events, and may get easily confused about their current situation and environment. Indeed, people living with dementia often forget how to do everyday tasks, such as shutting a fridge door or making a cup of tea.

Other common symptoms include an increase in the time it takes to gather their thoughts, difficulty with speech and using words incorrectly. You may also notice a change in their personality or that they have lost interest in their hobbies and socialising. Although these are common signs and symptoms it’s important to note no one’s experience will be exactly the same as anyone else’s.

What is dementia? 

Dementia is not a specific illness but instead is a term used for a variety of conditions and illnesses that have similar signs and symptoms, and causes significant cognitive decline.

Common types of dementia include:

- Alzheimer’s disease

- Vascular Dementia 

- Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) 

- Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

It is also common for an individual to live with two types of dementia, which is often Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia. This is called Mixed Dementia and approximately affects one in 10 people living with dementia.

What causes dementia?

Although the majority of people living with the condition are aged over 65, dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Even in people over the age of 85, only approximately 25% will have some form of dementia.

Whilst ageing is the highest risk factor other associated risk factors include hearing loss, smoking, social isolation, head injury, poor diet, high blood pressure and depression.

Is there a cure for dementia?

There is currently no cure for dementia, but there are drugs that help alleviate some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, which can help to slow the progression of the disease, but also improve quality of life. These drugs do not prevent or cure the disease, but research is being conducted into effective treatments to delay, cure and stop Alzheimer’s disease.

When should I consider a care home?

It is possible for people living with dementia to have enjoyable lives despite the challenges that come with these conditions and illnesses. However as dementia is progressive, symptoms tend to worsen over time and their care needs will increase.

It can be extremely difficult to make a decision to move a loved one into a care home. However, due to the specialised care, your loved one will receive the support they need from trained professionals who can help them to feel relaxed, safe and happy in their surroundings. 

Find a Four Seasons Care Home near you

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