What is Dementia and How Does it Affect You?

It’s normal for stress, tiredness and certain illnesses or medicine to affect your memory. However, if you’re becoming increasingly forgetful or show other signs of memory loss as you get older, it’s wise to talk to your doctor about dementia.

Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be overwhelming. After all, it’s not just about memory loss—this syndrome also affects the way you speak, think, feel and behave. Find out more about dementia and how it may impact you and your family as it progresses.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a single disease. Instead, it’s a group of related illnesses associated with progressively declining brain function. You may be familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 per cent of cases. Vascular dementia, caused by blocked blood vessels and microscopic bleeding in the brain, is the second most common form.

There are many other types of dementia and many different causes, but they all tie back to abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger declining thinking skills until the decline becomes severe enough to impede everyday life. Some causes of dementia are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies, whilst others are likely to continue progressing with age. It’s even possible to experience multiple types of dementia at once, which is known as mixed dementia.

Care for Dementia Patients at Country Court

Care for Dementia Patients at Country Court

Dementia is sometimes incorrectly referred to as being “senile.” This reflects the widespread misconception that serious mental decline always occurs as you get older. However, dementia is not a natural part of ageing and should be taken seriously.

Research shows that more than 850,000 people in the UK have dementia as of mid-2020. This means that one in every 14 people over age 65 experiences this form of mental decline. Because people are living longer, the prevalence of dementia is increasing. It’s estimated that over one million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025.

The Different Stages of Dementia

The symptoms of dementia usually worsen gradually over time. Each person may progress through the stages of dementia differently, depending on what area of the brain is affected.

  • No impairment: No symptoms are evident, but a test may reveal problems.
  • Very mild decline: Slight behavioural changes begin to appear.
  • Mild decline: More thinking and reasoning difficulties become apparent.
  • Moderate decline: Short-term memory loss and money-handling issues are very noticeable.
  • Moderately severe decline: Forgetfulness extends to familiar people and things, and assistance with daily tasks becomes necessary.
  • Severe decline: Changes to personality and emotions occur, along with difficulty eating and using the restroom independently.
  • Very severe decline: Difficulty communicating, lack of mobility and poor bladder control may justify around-the-clock care.

How Dementia Affects the Individual

Because the causes and types vary, dementia looks slightly different for everyone. Here’s how dementia may affect you:

  • You regularly forget recent events, names and faces.
  • You have to ask the same questions repeatedly.
  • You lose interest in your favourite activities.
  • You have difficulty managing your behaviour or emotions.
  • You dislike social situations and aren’t interested in building relationships or socialising.
  • You start seeing or hearing things others do not.
  • You have difficulty planning or organising.
  • You become confused in unfamiliar environments.
  • You struggle to find the right words.
  • You have difficulty handling money or working with numbers

How Dementia Affects the Family

When someone is diagnosed with dementia, the whole family may be affected. Here are some of the challenges family members of dementia patients may face:

  • Trust issues: Because people with dementia often lose the ability to remember events, or they don’t fully understand what’s happening around them, it can seem as though they’re being dishonest or wilfully ignoring problems.
  • Fear for health and safety: Living independently with dementia is a challenge. Family members may start to worry about their loved one’s ability to care for themselves.
  • Increased involvement: People with dementia often start relying on friends and family for help completing daily activities, making decisions, and keeping track of dates and events.
  • Decisions involving dementia care: As the condition progresses, it may become necessary to move a person with dementia into a care home. The person’s adult children are usually the ones who make this decision.

Moving a loved one into a care home is a big change. Country Court Care is here to help you and your family embark on this new chapter of life. Many of our residents have dementia, so our team happily provides person-centred dementia care in environments catered to individuals with memory problems. Our motto is “Our family, caring for yours,” which we exhibit daily in our care homes. For more information about dementia care at Country Court, please contact us at 01733 571 951 today.

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