Dementia is a collection of different brain conditions including the commoner Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Dementia which can cause memory problems and affect the way you think, feel, speak, and behave. It can come on at any age but commonest in later life - 60s and beyond. Memory can be often be affected by stress, tiredness, depression or some medications; it isn't always dementia. If you are worried about your memory, come and see one of the GPs. If necessary we can refer you for detailed testing to the Memory Clinic.
Though there is no cure yet for dementia, getting an early diagnosis is important: there are medicines which can help reduce speed of progression and may improve some functioning. Also it allows you to improve your general health, to learn what is available to help you and to plan. With support, many people can lead full and active lives.
It is important you find out all you can about your condition and how (and when) it might affect you.
Admiral Nurse Helpline Tel 0800 888 6678 (free) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Weekends 9am-5pm)
Admiral Nurses are specialists in Dementia in all its aspects and experts in support and advice and welcome calls about any problem, small or more complex.
Though Brent does not currently have an Admiral Nurse, the Admiral Nurse pages have a great range of articles and videos and a rich leaflet library.
The Alzheimers Society is another fantastic resource and produces an excellent free Dementia Guide.
You may need help with care. Start with an assessment for care and support (and for a carer)
Here is a guide to benefits which may help you pay for care and support.
The Kingsbury Dementia Cafe meets every Wednesday from 2pm – 4pm at St Sebastian & St. Pancras Church Hall, Hay Lane, Kingsbury, NW9 0NG for refreshments, information and activities for those with dementia and carers. Tel 0208 968 8170 for more info
Elders' Voice is a useful local support network.
There are some drugs available which may slow the rate of progress and reduce some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's and some other kinds of dementia. Sometimes depression or anxiety may also need treating. Talking therapies can also be useful.
Individual person centred care is important - no one person is alike and tailoring a variety of care to that person's interests and preferences will give the best results.
It is vital to look after yourself. Caring for someone with dementia can be very rewarding but may also be extremely demanding, distressing and draining. It can also be emotionally challenging as someone you love changes and becomes dependant and maybe very different from the person they once were.
You will be much more resilient if you keep in good health, ensure you get adequate sleep, eat well, exercise regularly and have programmed time away from your caring duties for yourself.
But you can always benefit from support.
The Alzheimer's Society has useful advice for carers on support they can access. So does Dementia UK
There is a practical Carers' Guide from the Alzheimer's Society
Brent Carers' Centre is a useful contact for local advice and support.
Kingsbury Circle of Carers Support Group meets on the first Thursday of each month at 1 - 2.30pm at Kingsbury Library, 522 Kingsbury Road NW9 9HE
Behaviour changes are often seen in dementia and and this describes what these may be and how you might deal with them.
Dealing with your affairs can get to difficult if you a suffering from a long term condition which is gradually deteriorating. It is a good idea to consider giving someone else - a family member or close friend - the ability to take over if or when it becomes necessary.
If you are 18yr of over and have the mental ability to make financial, property and medical decisions for yourself, you can arrange for someone else to make these decisions for you in the future should the need arise. This legal authority is called "lasting power of attorney" (LPA).
The person who is given power of attorney is known as the "attorney" and must be over 18 years old. You are known as the "donor".
There two types of LPA:
You can write an Advance Statement whilst you still have Capacity. This can state your views on how you wish to be cared for, reflecting your religious or spiritual beliefs, where you'd like to be cared for, things you prefer and things you don't like, personal pleasures such as music. It is not legally binding but helps carers.
An Advance Decision can say how you would like to be treated in certain circumstances, such as being fed by tube or resuscitated should the need arise. It can be signed, witnessed and kept in your medical record.
You can construct a Care and Support Plan which sets out how you would like to be cared for. This is done through social services.
A medical care plan can be shared if you wish, using , Coordinate My Care, a secure system which gives access to approved people in hospices, ambulance services, A&E, GP and community teams to ensure that you are looked after in the way you would want and respected for your decisions about such matters as resuscitation. You can start this online yourself or discuss it with your GP.
Although you cannot change your age or genetics some modifiable risk factors include
At least one of our patients is a Dementia Friend and has talked to our Patient Group and to the surgery staff to help make our surgery 'Dementia Friendly'. She said, "I became a dementia friend when my husband was first diagnosed and I found it very helpful". She has provided the following useful links to resources.