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Health 420 views Aug 06, 2019
Dementia statistics and the best care options

Dementia is a symptom of a number of illnesses characterised by a degradation in brain function. Here are some other facts and figures about the condition.

 

Research by the live-in care hub shows that dementia is now more feared than cancer. The study found that 34% of all adults fear suffering from the condition in later life, although more than half (52%) are now more comfortable talking about the condition than they were ten years ago.

 

With the total number of people with dementia set to rise by 38% over the next 15 years it’s vitally important that you talk to your family now, rather than later, about your wishes should dementia strike – especially if there is a family history of the condition.

 

What is dementia?

Dementia is a symptom, not an illness. It can be caused by various illnesses, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common and thus well-known. Other forms include vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

 

The precise direction dementia takes depends on the underlying cause but symptoms may include:

 

  • failure to recognise familiar people or situations
  • disorientation
  • mood changes
  • hallucinations, delusions or “living in the past”
  • reduced ability to care for oneself
  • language loss, difficulty following a conversation or television programme
  • memory loss, especially very short term memory

 

Caring for someone with dementia

By 2037 the number of carers will have to have risen to 9 million to cope with rising numbers of sufferers. Currently more than 520,000 people have dementia caused by Alzheimers alone, and around 850,000 people have some form of dementia.

 

Sufferers of dementia respond well to highly individualised care. One sufferer may be perfectly capable of performing daily tasks – but be unable to look after themselves because their short term memory is so badly affected they cannot finish a task once started. Another may have difficulty with spatial awareness, making moving around their home difficult.

 

Familiarity can be important to people with dementia, and moving to a care home can be extremely unsettling.  Live in care or homecare services provided by a specialist carer trained in dementia care can be extremely beneficial, allowing the elderly person to maintain a high degree of independence. Keeping active and socialising can be extremely beneficial to people with dementia but it can be difficult for sufferers to do so without support from their family or a live-in carer.

Not just a part of ageing

Dementia is a specific type of brain damage and not an inevitable part of the ageing process. In fact, around 42,000 people are diagnosed with it before the age of 65. As the disease progresses you will lose your ability to think rationally so it is important to discuss your future with your family as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think there is a problem you should talk to your loved ones so that financial planning can start to support your care in the future. Ensuring that your family is aware of your wishes as regards where you live and who cares for you while you still have full mental capacity will improve your quality of care in the future.