The incidence of dementia-related hospital admissions is on the rise. With health organisations struggling to provide appropriate levels of home support to those living with dementia, family and friends are increasingly becoming primary caregivers.
Statistics relating to local dementia cases predict a sharp rise over the coming decades, and with NHS funding spread increasingly thin, this will likely result in a rise in the number of family carers across Bath and surrounding areas.
This can prove to be a challenging time. Dementia care is not easy, especially if you are unprepared. However, as our understanding of the illness grows, so too does our ability to care for those living with dementia.
So how can those facing the prospect of first-time care prepare themselves?
Identify Symptoms Early
Dementia can strike at any age, although it primarily affects those over 65 and those who are genetically susceptible. Lookout for these symptoms, especially in those at higher risk:
- Memory loss (including misplacing things)
- Difficulty with simple tasks and problem-solving
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble finding the right words or holding conversation
- Shifts in mood or personality
Delaying Progression and Dementia Onset
Preventative measures are the best way to reduce the impact of dementia symptoms. The right lifestyle can delay the onset of dementia and ensure independence is maintained for as long as possible:
- Activity — Physical activity encourages better brain health by releasing restorative chemicals.
- Diet — The right dementia diet can support stronger brain function and fight degenerative effects.
- Social Engagement — Social activity promotes complex cognitive reactions, which has shown to slow mental decline.
- Brain Development — Mental stimulation, such as reading and playing games, helps to keep the mind sharp and delay dementia onset.
- Health — Stress can accelerate dementia, as can a lack of sleep, by reducing the brain’s ability to fight back. A relaxed environment is very important.
Tips from Bath care workers
Dementia is a progressive illness and, eventually, it is likely that dedicated care will be needed. Once care becomes necessary, be sure to keep these top tips in mind:
- Take The Right Approach
Dementia is a life-changing diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a life to be lived. Those with dementia can still continue to have fulfilling lives. Anxiety often leads those diagnosed to become withdrawn, which means caregivers must support the continuation of a healthy lifestyle. Encourage them to do things they love, and when they can’t anymore, help them find new things they love.
- Look After Yourself
As a caregiver, you will likely feel a strong sense of responsibility. However, you can’t provide care for somebody if you cannot care for yourself. Look after your own health, even if it means taking time away from caring for your loved one. If you are a full-time carer and this is not possible, consider help from care workers, even if it is just for limited time.
- Get Support
Community is a powerful tool. Thousands of other people are going through what you are. They can provide support, advice, guidance and, perhaps most important of all, understanding. Online forums and discussions groups are easy to access, you may also find local groups.
This content was sponsored by Abney & Baker, specialist providers of homecare services in Bath and the surrounding areas.