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Tips & Learning

Here you can find some key information on a variety of Dementia related topics.

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

If you're becoming increasingly muddled or frogetful, it is a good idea to talk to your GP. Memory can be affected by many things, including; stress, ill health, tiredness or certain medications. Here are a few possible early warning signs of dementia:

  • Day-to-Day memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating, planning or organising
  • Language problems, for example, struggling to find the right word
  • Difficulty judging distances or spaces
  • Confusion about the day, time, place or people
  • Withdrawal fom work or social activities

Reducing the risk of dementia

Dementia is a global issue and is on the rise. Public Health England have produced information on midlife approaches to reduce your dementia risk

What is good for the heart is good for the brain

By doing the following you can reduce your risk of dementia or delay the onset:

  • Stop smoking
  • Be more physically active
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Improve your diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle

Keep your brain active and challenged

A recent review found that those with high levels of mental activity were 46% less likely to develop dementia than those with a low mental activity.

  • Do puzzles, take up a new hobby or pastime
  • Learn a new language
  • Enrol in evening class or course online

 

Health and Wellbeing

Loneliness has a major impact on physical and mental health

Being socially active can benefit you by:

  • Improving your mood
  • Relieving stress
  • Reducing the risk of depression
  • Helping you to gain new ideas and perspectives 

Why is getting a diagnosis so important?

  • You can plan for the future and then be in control of what plans you put in place
  • It explains what's been happening
  • You can be given treatments to reduce your symptoms
  • You can access support and advice which will benefit you
  • It will also help your friends and family to get practical advice and support for future changes and challenges.

Keeping UTIs at bay

A urinary tract infection (UTIs) contributes to many older adults attending hospital, but if you spot the signs early, most infections can be easily treated at home by your GP practice staff.

Look out for some or all of the following symptoms;

  • Pain or a burning sensation when passing urine
  • A need to pass urine more often than usual or with increased urgency
  • Pain or tenderness in the lower back or tummy
  • Blood in the urine
  • Generally feeling unwell

If you have nausea, vomiting or a high temperature (over 38°), you should ask for an urgent appointment with your GP.

Look out for:

  • Severe confusion, not recognising where they are or who people around them are
  • Agitation, becoming restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Rubbing their lower tummy or back
  • More frequent trips to the toilet

You can’t always prevent UTIs but there are some things which may help reduce the risk:

  • Wipe yourself front to back when you’ve been to the toilet
  • Try to drink the daily recommended amount of fluids (1.5-2 litres for an adult)
  • Don’t hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go and try to empty your bladder fully
  • Shower rather than bath, and don’t use perfumed soaps or gels
  • Wear loose cotton clothing, not tight synthetic (nylon) underwear

If you’re worried and can’t speak to your GP or just don’t know what to do next call the NHS111 advice line.

Nutrition

 Not eating enough can lead to weight loss, fatigue, a higher risk of infection and less muscle strength increasing the risk of falls.

  • Keep drinks nearby and where people can see them easily. If they are up and about a lot use a bottle or carton that they can carry with them. Make sure their cup or glass is not too heavy or difficult to hold or lift.
  • Offer a variety of drinks, hot and cold, soup, water, fruit juice, tea, smoothies. All fluids count
  • Encourage foods that can help increase fluids at snack and meal times, gravy, jelly and ice cream are all high in fluid

Advance care planning

 More than 2,000 people living with dementia in Bedford Borough are being urged to make use of a one-to-one support project.

Dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK, with someone developing the disease every three minutes. Yet too many are facing the condition alone without adequate support.

Alzheimer’s Society aims to change this in Bedford Borough by offering people living with dementia and carers direct support with advance care planning.

The “My Future Plans” project is led by Sam Marshall, Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Support Worker in Bedford Borough.

She said: “Many people recently diagnosed with dementia can feel overwhelmed or sometimes go into denial about their condition.  My Future Plans project enables people recently diagnosed and their families, to start to have a supported discussion on issues that might not have crossed their minds.

“Conversations around an individual’s likes and dislikes, such as a preference of care, especially towards the end of life, making a will or a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare and/or property and financial affairs, may be included in the service.

“It can all be very daunting and it’s not easy for people to talk about.  I take it step by step and explain the benefits of thinking about your future care and documenting your wishes early.”

Dementia devastates lives; it slowly strips people of their memories, relationships and identities ultimately leading to death.  Unfortunately, dementia is a disease we can’t cure, prevent.

Sam said: “For people diagnosed with dementia it is even more important to make these decisions early, before the condition progresses and capacity reduces.  By considering advance care planning you are taking control of your future care and reassuring loved ones when decisions have to be made.  We assume our family know our wishes but this is still a taboo subject for many.

“We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you are going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for support, help and advice.”

Alzheimer’s Society’s My Future Plans project also offers free training to health and social care professionals, helping to understand more about dementia and advance care planning.

To find out more about the project in Bedford Borough, contact Sam Marshall on 01234 327380 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.