2) Social Care Services-Dementia

Dementia

At Cara Community Services we recognize that our increasingly aging population means that services needed for our elders will become more pronounced over the next few decades. This is at a time when both statutory and voluntary sector resources will become more stretched and the need to use limited resources efficiently and effectively more urgent.

Our experience in this area encompasses diverse daycare , supported housing and residential facilities. We have developed a range of services which assist existing  organizations provide cost effective responses or assist in the design and management of new services. Our central concern is to be `person centred` with a good understanding of the condition and services required.

Prevalence and incidence rates of dementia in the UK-Dementia is a broad umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders and some people may present with a combination of types. It is predominantly seen where people are likely to live into very old age. The Alzheimer’s Society (2015) reports there are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. Of these, approximately, 40,000 are people with young onset dementia, which affects people under the age of 65. As a person ages, so does the risk. It is estimated that dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million people and is still significantly underdiagnosed.

Symptoms of dementia can include Memory problems – new information is difficult to retain for a person with dementia. People with dementia can get lost in familiar places and may experience confusion with names. We all forget a name or face once in a while but when noticed on a more frequent basis it is advisable to seek medical advice. Cognitive ability – people may experience difficulty orientating in time and place, for example, getting up in the middle of the night to go to work. Concentration may be difficult to sustain and these symptoms may be noticed in activities such as shopping. The ability to reason may also be affected. For many people they get a sense of restlessness and prefer to keep moving than sitting still. Communication – problems with communicating may be noticed as people repeat themselves and reading and writing may become challenging. They may experience changes in personality and behaviour, mood swings, anxiety and depression. People with dementia may lose interest in engaging with others socially. Self-confidence will be affected. Dementia can be a combination of one or all of the above symptoms, which have been occurring for a period of time and are progressively getting worse.

Types of dementia

Alzheimer’s disease –Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in the UK and symptoms affect five main areas – memory, cognitive ability, insight, language and spatial awareness. Symptoms may include: poor memory function, particularly in relation to time; inability to recall recent events; general forgetfulness, inability to recall messages or repeating oneself. Typically, memory problems are concealed by an increased dependency on routine and familiar environments. Cognitive ability may be impaired in a number of ways including, poor organisational skills, and an inability to perform every day and familiar tasks; impaired decision making and affected conversation – conversation can appear slow or muddled- and difficulty following a television programme may be noticed. Decision making is also affected and poor judgements may be made.

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses difficulties may also impact on number problems – miscalculation is common and the ability to manage financial affairs impaired. Alzheimer’s disease tends to develop quite slowly over time. People experience increasing confusion and become disorientated, they encounter difficulty in performing everyday tasks like dressing.

Vascular dementia-This is the second most common type of dementia and also sometimes known as multi-infarct dementia (MID), as the result of small strokes . It often follows a more stepwise deterioration followed by a period of relative recovery. This differs from the progression of Alzheimer’s disease which is more gradual. Memory may not be as affected by vascular dementia as with Alzheimer’s, but language and communication can be more affected. It is possible to have a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia-This is a gradually progressive condition which predominantly affects behaviour and personality. It is sometimes called frontal lobe or Pick’s disease. This form of dementia is more commonly, but not exclusively, found in younger people, between ages 45 and 65. It is a relatively uncommon form of dementia and can be difficult to diagnose. It can cause disinhibition and inappropriate behaviour, particularly in public. Eating patterns can also be affected, with people suddenly ‘bingeing’ on food. This form of dementia may be confused with depression, psychosis or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies– This cognitive impairment can fluctuate and movements are particularly affected, with poor motor control. A person might shuffle as they walk and be more prone to falls. Tremors may be noticed, similar to those experienced by people who have Parkinson’s disease. Hallucinations are often present in those with this type of dementia. Memory is often less affected than with other types of dementia, but a person might experience sudden bouts of confusion which can change on an hourly basis. Swallowing can also be affected as can sleep patterns. People tend to fall asleep easily during the day and disrupted sleep at night. As with all dementias, Lewy Bodies is progressive and symptoms will worsen over time.

Young onset dementia– The diagnosis is often unexpected and the resulting loss of income is difficult to manage. Children may be younger and also take on caring roles.

Reduce the risk of developing dementia. There are several risk factors age being the greatest. Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and men are more likely to develop vascular dementia. We can mitigate risks by developing a healthy lifestyle. Giving up smoking, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and reducing alcohol intake are all ways in which we can adopt a healthy lifestyle. Keeping socially active, reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure also have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Support available

There are a wide range of private and voluntary sector/charitable services available which encompass both the individual concerned and their carer`s needs .The GP can organise an assessment of the person with dementia and their carer’s needs often called a ‘community care assessment’, ‘care assessment’ or a ‘needs assessment’. The local council will let you know what services it has to meet your needs and whether they will charge you for accessing them or not. These are often restricted to thoes with the higest needs or in final stages of dementia.

Given the scale of the problem there is a continous need for improving and expanding existing services and creating new options to meet different levels of need within diverse communities. Here is where Cara Community Services can help with designing and delivering or simply supporting your ne group or existing organisation achieve the best response with limited resources. 

At Cara Community Services we would be happy to help- so why not call us today ?  It costs nothing to talk to us. Our conversations are in the strictest confidence and covered by both our confidentiality agreement & Terms of Business as displayed on this website.

Please call John Brennan on 01803852270 or email john@caracommunity.co.uk.

Disclaimer
Please note we accept no responsibility for anyone relying upon the above (which is subject to change).To do so is entirely at your own risk .The above is simply given as a guide to current understanding of dementia . We recommend that readers obtain further professional advice & assistence as required.