Tags – Dementia
Did you know that, worldwide, over 50 million people are affected by dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases each year?
What is Dementia?
The term ‘dementia’ is a widely notorious one, and whilst Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of it, contributing to 60-70% of cases, many people are actually oblivious to the various other forms of dementia that exist which are equally as dominant, believing that Alzheimer’s disease is paramount.
It is integral for everyone to recognise that dementia is a significant sign of progressive neurodegeneration, that often results in the death of some brain cells as well as tissue loss due to disease or trauma.
And thus, this unfortunately means that the memory, the thinking, and the behaviour of the patient may be substantially impaired.
Other common symptoms which may occur include hallucinations, paranoia, inappropriate behaviour, disorientation to time and familiar places, and neglecting personal safety and hygiene.
Though it is important to recognise that even a patient experiencing many symptoms in conjunction, is able to live a normal life that is full and rewarding.
The first step is to identify the different types of dementia in order to optimise treatment and provide person centred care and support.
Doing this will make a substantial difference to the quality of their lives.
One of the more concealed forms of dementia is known as frontotemporal dementia whereby the areas affected by the neurodegeneration consists of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, as the name suggests, which engenders vital changes to behaviour and personality.
A difference between frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s is that symptoms begin to appear relatively sooner in someone suffering from frontotemporal dementia.
An additional form of dementia can occur in what is known as vascular dementia which is aggravated from a series of small strokes or changes in the brain’s blood supply.
Fortunately, whilst it can severely impact memory and cognitive functioning, by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, vigilantly monitoring blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and being aware of any new conditions or changes in your body, the severity of vascular disease symptoms can be reduced to some extent.
When vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease occurs simultaneously, this is known as mixed dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in ten people aged 65 and older, has Alzheimer’s dementia.
There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and this figure is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
Perhaps this is the reason why the majority are only aware of Alzheimer’s in relation to dementia, in conjunction with the fact that this specific type of dementia gets progressively worse with time and affects memory to the extent where the patient’s daily life is disrupted, in comparison to other forms of it, in which have the ability to be reversed.
A person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will therefore have difficulties following plans, remembering names and places, they’ll often misplace things and may entirely withdraw from work or social activities.
In conclusion, it is vital for everyone, regardless of whether they know someone with dementia, to be aware of the different forms of dementia so that should they ever encounter a dementia patient, the more likely they will be to understand what the patient may be trying to communicate to them, and thus the person can respond to their needs in a considerate and critical manner.
Additionally, the patient is more likely to feel comfortable and reassured if they can sense that a person too is comfortable.
What can you do to increase awareness about dementia?
Step number one is as simple as- educate yourself. Read about the different forms of dementia using the NHS website, speak to doctors, nurses, care workers and any professional body that regularly takes care of dementia patients, in order to optimise your knowledge and understanding of the topic.
If you believe that someone you know is suffering from dementia, encourage them to visit a doctor whereby they can receive a diagnosis and, more importantly, pinpoint the specific type of dementia in order to optimise treatment.
Obtaining an early diagnosis of dementia is critical to prolong independence and ensure that a patient is not restricted from fulfilling a life that makes them content.
In the meantime, even as a relative of a patient with dementia, be sure to make efficient use of the widely available resources and services such as meditation, telephone consultations, and counsellors who are professionally trained to listen and understand your situation, offering you the best advice in accordance to your particular needs.
The Court of Protection can make decisions on behalf of those who lack capacity to make decisions as a result of dementia.
To learn more, get in touch with us today.
In the meantime, check our court of protection solicitor services.
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