In light of Dementia Awareness Week, we have been thinking about dementia in the modern world and what it means for us.
Dementia has now replaced cancer as the more prevalent life limiting condition, but there is still a lack of understanding and awareness, leaving many facing it alone. When we talk about dementia many of us become frightened as we fear for the worst, but we want to encourage people to broaden their understanding and knowledge.
So what is dementia?
The word ‘dementia’ is an umbrella term that describes a set of symptoms which can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Initially, changes to a person may be small but they can also progress and eventually affect daily life. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases such as, but not limited to, Alzheimer’s or a series of strokes.
Types of dementia
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, initially starting with day-to-day memory problems and then progressing onto other symptoms including difficulty finding the right words, solving problems or making decisions. It occurs when an abnormal protein surrounds brain cells and another protein damages their internal structure.
- Vascular dementia is a type of dementia which forms when the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced due to the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. This would usually occur suddenly, following one large stroke or can develop over time because of a series of small strokes. With this type of dementia, many people will have difficulties with problem-solving or planning, thinking quickly, concentrating and may also have short periods where they get confused.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies involves tiny abnormal protein structures forming inside the brain cells which disrupt the chemistry of the brain and lead to the death of brain cells. Symptoms can include alertness that varies over the course of a day, hallucinations and difficulties judging distances whilst their day-to-day memory is slightly less affected. This form of dementia is closely related to Parkinson’s disease and often has some of the same symptoms including difficulty with movement.
- Frontotemporal dementia damages the front and side parts of the brain with clumps of abnormal proteins forming and causing the brain cells to die. Changes in personality and behaviour are some of the initial signs but the person may also have difficulty with fluent speech or forgetfulness with word meanings.
Dementia is not a natural part of the ageing process and it is important to remember that support is available. At Morris Care we treat dementia slightly differently to others, focusing on the individual and not a set of symptoms. Our bespoke Cedar Philosophy combines a person’s medical and nursing needs with their wellbeing and personal needs to establish a tailored and dedicated care plan.
The theme of Dementia Awareness Week 2017 is ‘Unite against dementia’ which is encouraging people to forget about their own personal differences and come together to raise awareness, share experiences, offer help and understanding, improve care and ultimately find a cure.
For more information about Dementia Awareness Week, click here.
For more information about our Cedar Philosophy and dementia care click here.