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INFORMATION

About dementia

There’s more to dementia than just being forgetful. Learn more about the symptoms of dementia, the different types of dementia, who may be at risk and the treatment.

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About dementia

Learn more about dementia and the common signs and symptoms.

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Young dementia

Learn about what young dementia means and how to access support.

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Getting a diagnosis

Find out what steps to take to get a diagnosis of dementia.

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Driving with dementia

Learn more about driving after receiving a dementia diagnosis.

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Living with dementia

There are lots of ways to enjoy life  and keep your independence.

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Staying safe

Simple adaptations at home can make living with dementia safer.

Wha is dementia?
What is dementia? 

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain. Each type of dementia stops brain cells (neurones) working properly in specific areas, affecting the persons' ability to remember, think and speak.

The symptoms will depend on which condition is causing the dementia and which parts of the brain are affected. Some of the more common symptoms include:

Problems with memory
  • Having trouble remembering the date and day of the week.

  • Forgetting names of people or things.

  • Struggling to remember things that happened recently, even though you remember things from longer ago.

  • Forgetting where you put something or where things are kept.

  • Repeating things or forgetting what you were saying mid-sentence.

  • Finding it difficult to follow conversations, particularly in groups.

Problems with thinking skills
  • Feeling your thoughts or memories are clouded.

  • Finding it takes you longer to process information.

  • Struggling to follow conversations.

  • Getting yourself in a muddle and being unable to arrange things in the right order.

  • Finding your decision making is affected, for example cooking too much or too little food.

Disorientation
  • Feeling confused or even lost in a familiar place.

  • Being out and forgetting where you were going or how to get there.

  • Getting confused between night and day.

  • Problems with spatial awareness.

Mood and personality changes
  • ​Experiencing mood swings. 

  • Becoming irritable or short-tempered.

  • Losing interest in hobbies and socialising.

Who can get dementia?
Who can get dementia? 

Dementia can affect a person at any age but it’s more common in people over the age of 65.  The older we are, the more likely we are to develop dementia. 944,000 people have dementia in the UK, and 1 in every 6 people over 80 years old have the condition. 

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Reducing risk
Getting a diagnosis
Getting a diagnosis 

If you’re concerned that you’re becoming more forgetful or having difficulty concentrating and keeping organised, it's important to contact your GP, memory clinic or dementia care advisory service as soon as possible. 

The Alzheimers Society have a helpful webpage which describes the differences between normal signs of ageing and dementia. Click here to read. 

What can I do to lower my risk of dementia?

Those that follow a healthier lifestyle have been shown to have a lower risk of dementia. Doing what you can to protect your heart, as well as staying active, can be beneficial. So, it's best to aim to:

  • eat a healthy, balanced diet

  • if you’re a smoker, stop smoking

  • avoid drinking too much alcohol

  • ask your GP to test your blood pressure and cholesterol level, and take advice on reducing these if they’re raised

  • stay physically and mentally active: activities like walking, gardening, singing, art, music, reading, puzzles and learning a new language may help

Living well with dementia
Living well with dementia

A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that life has to grind to a halt. There are lots of things which can allow individuals to continue enjoying life and stay as independent as possible.

Everyone deals with the challenge dementia brings in their own way, but here are some ideas which may be of help:

Around the house
  • Follow a routine. Doing things at the same time each day or week can reassure you and stimulate your memory;

  • Pin notes in prominent places if there are things you need to do regularly, like locking the doors;

  • Carry a notebook to write down daily tasks;

  • Put important things, like glasses or keys, in the same place every time

  • Put regular bills on direct debit, so you don’t forget to pay them;

  • Use a pill organiser box

  • Get a clock that shows the date and day of the week.

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Young dementia
What is young dementia?

Young onset dementia affects adults before the age of 65. Nationally there are estimated to be at least 70,800 younger people with dementia which means 92 in every 100,000 of the population are living with young onset dementia.  According to the Journal of Dementia Care Report*, 7.5% of all people with dementia developed it under the age of 65.  In Berkshire, there are an estimated 679 people living with young onset dementia.

People with young onset dementia often experience a more rapid decline in cognition and quality of life at a time when they may otherwise have expected to be in employment, have an active social life or are raising a family. The same applies to partners and other family members who consequently face social isolation and carer stress.

 

In many cases, carers have to give up work to support their partner and therefore, the ability to provide respite on a daily basis is often pivotal to keeping carers in work. Furthermore, for the person with dementia, lack of appropriate activities can result in an increase in social isolation, apathy, a decline in health and increased risk of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

For more information please visit Younger People With Dementia.

*Carter and Jackson June 2022 Vol 30 No 3

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Driving
Driving after a dementia diagnosis 

For most people, driving is an important part of their life as it provides much-needed independence. Many people are therefore fearful that a diagnosis of dementia will mean that they will lose their licence. However, a diagnosis of dementia does not mean that an individual must stop driving. The important consideration is whether or not that individual can continue to drive safely. Nevertheless, if an individual is diagnosed with dementia, they must inform the DVLA and their insurance company of their diagnosis.

The doctor is obligated to inform the DVLA if they consider a patient is medically unfit to drive and is aware they have not informed the DVLA of their diagnosis.

Staying safe
Staying safe

Technology and simple adaptations to the home can make living with dementia safer. Here are some ideas and organisations that might be helpful;

Assistive technology

​Assistive technology can be used to make living with dementia easier.  Technology can be used to assist with a number of things e.g. helping with daily tasks and improving safety both inside and outside the home.​

Click here to download The Alzheimer’s Society's free factsheet about using technology to help with everyday life. Click here to download Dementia UK's leaflet which addresses making homes safe and comfortable for a person living with dementia. 

Credit for the information on this page: Age UK Living Well with Dementia and NHS Living Well with Dementia 

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ACTIVITIES

Find out what's on near you

Designed for people living with dementia, regular group activities can help you expand your social circle in a friendly, safe environment and have fun!

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