Dementia is a term used to describe a set of symptoms that affect the brains’ ability to remember. There are many forms of dementia, the most common types of dementia being Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia. Most people with dementia require specialist dementia care, which can be costly.
Data shows that there are currently around 850,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK. With 7.1% of these people aged 65 or over. It is predicted that these numbers will rise over the next few years, reaching over 1,000,000 dementia diagnoses by 2050.
We have put together an infographic all about dementia and dementia care to help you understand the process better.
Most common early signs of dementia and symptoms
Most of the time, dementia diseases can be easy to detect. Here are a few early signs of dementia to look out for and information about how they differentiate from what many people experience with old age.
Memory loss is one of the most common side effects across all types of dementia, especially in Alzheimer’s disease. Although memory loss is common in older age, more concerning memory loss includes forgetting names of close family and friends, recent activities, destinations and passtimes.
Behavioural and personality changes
Most dementia symptoms include behavioural or personality changes, causing the individual affected more mood swings or to become more withdrawn from social activities.
Another common dementia symptom is misplacing or losing items. Symptoms are generally more of a concern if they happen frequently, or if the individual misplaces things that are then found in obscure places where they wouldn’t normally store things.
Confusion about time and place
Confusion is common in vascular dementia. Confusion about time and place is a common side effect of dementia. Usually, the illness will cause the person to think they are in a different year, or that someone who passed away years ago is still alive. They may also believe they still live in a particular location from their past. Confusion about time can be very stressful for both the person with dementia and their friends or family.
Difficulties doing daily tasks and planning
People with dementia can find it difficult to carry on with day-to-day life as they usually would. They may struggle with chores, planning, decision making and the many aspects of ordering their life that people need to deal with on a daily basis to keep well and safe.
Who does dementia affect?
Dementia is most common in women aged 65 and over. Around 7.1% of people aged over 65 are diagnosed with dementia and roughly 65% of those are women, whereas 35% are male. A person’s risk of developing dementia rises from one in 14 over the age of 65 to one in six over the age of 80. Dementia is also an issue for those under 65.
In total, around 42,000 people under the age of 65 have been diagnosed with dementia. Genetics, age, and lifestyle mostly play a part in your risk of developing dementia.
Most people are relying on specialists or full-time care for support throughout the illness. Dementia care is often provided by a family, friend, specialist carers or via 24/7 support at a care home or residential home facility.
More people with dementia are moving to care home facilities, with residents rising from 56% in 2002 to 70% in 2013. More people are currently living in care homes at 57.9% and 42.1% living in residential housing.
In England and wales, it’s estimated that the number of people with dementia who need palliative care will almost quadruple by 2040, meaning carers are more important than they ever have been.
Treatments and medication to relieve dementia symptoms
Although there is no cure, there are treatments and activities to help relieve the symptoms of dementia, especially the mild or early signs. Dementia medication includes donepezil, galantamine, memantine and rivastigmine. These drugs are commonly used to treat people with Alzheimer’s disease.
People with dementia can also undergo cognitive therapy to help with brain activity and its ability to remember. However, around 54.1% of people with mild dementia are being treated with symptomatic drugs. In total, dementia drugs cost England an estimated £28 million.
For more information read our guide to dementia care. If you are looking for support and care for your loved one with dementia, please do contact our Winton House team who will be able to help and advise you.