In the UK there are around 850,000 people living with dementia. By 2025, it is expected that this number will reach over 1 million. Caring for those with the condition is crucial. As carers, we can help people to retain independence and enjoy their lives.
What is Dementia?
This condition is not a disease and is instead a combination of different symptoms. At the beginning these can start off slowly, however they often develop to cause significant issues. Symptoms happen because the brain can no longer effectively transform messages into actions.
Some of the most common signs experienced include:
- Being unable to work things out
- Struggling to learn new skills
- Difficulty in remembering things
- Poor orientation
- Inability to adapt to sensory and physical changes
Alongside these, a person may have mood swings and also change their behaviour over time.
A key cause of the condition is thought to be related to some form of damage to the brain. This could be following Alzheimer’s or a series of strokes. Although, there are a number of other causes which may result in dementia.
Not an Elderly Condition
Around 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia. This is why most people assume that it is a condition exclusively for the elderly. In reality, there are more than 42,000 people under 65 currently living the UK with dementia. This accounts for more than 5% of total sufferers in the country.
The chances of developing symptoms do increase with age. However, early-onset dementia affects a substantial number of individuals. The largest difference in the development is that around 10% of people are thought to have inherited the condition rather than developed it.
Helping to Care
Having dementia does not mean a person cannot do the things they enjoy. The most important thing we can do is to care for them. Whether you help with getting the shopping or take the dog out for a walk, every little thing helps.
It is important to remember that over time a person will deteriorate. As it becomes more difficult to care for somebody you love, it is important to care for yourself. There are a number of other groups online and in the community where you can seek support. Using a regular carer or looking for respite care can often be the best option.
A substantial health investment at the moment is research into dementia. Around £15 million has been invested by the Government into the Dementia Discovery Fund. Additionally, another £190 million has been put into the UK Dementia Research Institute.
In the past month, there have been calls for those living with dementia to help fight back against the condition. Care minister Caroline Dinenage said in the Express newspaper:
“Less than four per cent of people in England with a diagnosis are currently involved in studies but we need many, many more to help make the breakthroughs to beat this disease.”
Using Dementia Research, there is a commitment from ministers to boost involvement to 25 per cent. As the diagnosis rate for the condition stands at 67.9 per cent, it is crucial that we do something to work against it.
In the past few years, there has been a dramatic growth in research into dementia. One of the leading figures is Lancaster University who are running their Defying Dementia campaign. As a community supported campaign, the university are paving the way to develop a drug to treat dementia.
With investment and dedicated research, we are starting to see long needed advancements. Professor David Allsop has been working since 2014 to run clinical research into a drug. Although there is still a lot of progress to be made, the development of a drug is outstanding.
Support Your Loved Ones
Whether you’re sitting and talking with a person with dementia or are raising money for research funding, we can all do our part.
At Horizon Care Ltd we are committed to providing care and support for those with dementia.