Dementia care and support
What is dementia?
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases. Dementia can affect anyone, whatever their gender, ethnic group, class, educational or professional background. It is progressive, meaning that the symptoms will eventually get worse, and moving away from home can be particularly traumatic, making live-in care an ideal option for providing optimal support.
The word ‘dementia’ is an umbrella term used to describe the many different types of dementia. Experts believe there are over 100 different types, with the most frequently diagnosed types being:
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting multiple brain functions. It is caused when connections between brain cells are lost as a result of proteins building up and forming structures called plaques and tangles.
- Alzheimer’s disease often progresses slowly, and there is a common misconception that the early symptoms are just part of ageing.
- You can find out more here: www.alzheimers.org.uk
- Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, caused by reduced blood flow to the brain due to diseased blood vessels becoming blocked through clots or leaking.
- Vascular dementia is strongly linked to having a stroke – you can find out more about our stroke care here. Often a person with vascular dementia will have TIA’s (Transient Ischemic Attacks) before they are diagnosed with vascular dementia and during their time living with it. TIA’s are sometimes called ‘mini strokes’, but they can be symptom-less for the person or the person may only have very mild symptoms that last for a short time.
- You can find out more here: www.dementiauk.org
Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Around 10-15% of people with dementia have Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), which is a type of dementia caused by a build-up of clumps and proteins in nerve cells in the brain which are known as Lewy bodies. These damage the way the nerve cells work and communicate with each other.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies shares symptoms with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, and can be wrongly diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.
- You can find out more here: www.lewybody.org
- Frontotemporal dementia, sometimes called Picks disease or frontal lobe dementia, is caused when nerve cells in the frontal lobes (behind the forehead) and/or the temporal lobes (on either side of the brain) die and the pathways that connect the lobes change, causing the brain tissue in these lobes to shrink.
- It is a significant cause of dementia in people under 65 years, often being diagnosed between 45 and 65 years of age.
- You can find out more here: www.nhs.uk
- Around 10% of people are diagnosed with mixed dementia, which is when a person is experiencing more than one type of dementia at the same time. Mixed dementia is often a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, although for some people it may involve Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
- You can find out more here: www.alzheimers.org.uk
In addition to the many types of dementia, a person undergoing tests for suspected dementia may be diagnosed with ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’ (MCI). MCI isn’t dementia and may never lead to dementia. It is diagnosed if a person is experiencing a mild deterioration in their cognition which isn’t causing them significant problems in their day-to-day life. The person would usually be kept under review in case their symptoms change.
How can live-in care help?
If a member of your family has been diagnosed with any type of dementia, or MCI, Consultus is fully aware of how this can impact the extended family. Live-in carers offer expert care assistance 24/7 to help people at all stages of dementia.
- provide personal care
- have a good understanding of the different ways in which dementia can manifest itself, including memory problems, changes in personality and mood, communication difficulties, disorientation, problems with perception, loss of initiative, difficulties with sleeping and physical health changes
- are familiar with the challenges faced everyday by the person with dementia and by their family and friends
- recognise that familiarity and continuity are particularly beneficial to people with dementia and so encourage their clients to adopt a daily routine
- support clients to exercise choice, control and independence wherever possible
- can help clients with communication difficulties to be understood through interpreting non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, body language, movements and sounds
- understand how to implement a dementia-friendly environment to make the person’s home as safe and supportive as possible for them
- support their clients to continue to enjoy favourite occupations or activities, and try new ones, to maximise their abilities
- are aware of alternative therapies that can be helpful to alleviate distressing symptoms, including life story work and reminiscence, music, arts and crafts, gardening, sensory therapy and validation
- provide companionship and social interaction, reducing the risks of loneliness and depression
- can support their clients to make healthy lifestyle choices through diet and exercise
- ensure that each client, irrespective of their condition, feels valued, respected and safe, and is able to make the most of their lives.
Wherever possible, we try to arrange for a rotation of regular carers to look after a client with dementia, to minimise disruption and encourage a calming environment. To find out more, call 01732 355 231 to speak to one of our Care Consultants, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.