What does this mean?
In a nutshell, we've become more dementia-friendly. Some of our staff has been specifically trained to work with and support people with dementia and their carers. We've also committed to an action plan to ensure that we can challenge not just ourselves, but others we work with such as GPs, our local authority and other services to do they best they can to support those affected.
As part of this commitment, we've had to take a look at the challenges we face to deliver this action plan. You can read more about the plan and the challenges we face over at the Dementia Action website.
What is dementia?
Dementia is an illness that affects how your brain works and in particular the ability to remember, think and reason. Dementia is not a disease in itself – but a group of symptoms that may accompany a number of diseases that affect the brain.
The most common of these is Alzheimer’s disease. Another is vascular dementia which can develop following a stroke or mini stroke or if there is blood vessel damage that interrupts the flow of blood to your brain. Other types of dementia include – dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.
Dementia is not a consequence of growing old but the risk of having dementia increases with age.
What are the common signs of dementia?
In most cases, the symptoms that characterise dementia come on gradually and get worse over time, often over a number of years.
Symptoms can vary according to the different types of disease causing them and from person to person. They affect your daily life and are more than just occasional lapses.
Symptoms of dementia include:
- Struggling to remember things that happened recently, even though you can easily remember things from longer ago.
- Struggling to follow conversations, particularly in groups.
- Forgetting the names of people or things.
- Struggling to follow a story on television or in a book, or understand magazine and newspaper articles.
- Having trouble remembering the day or date.
- Having trouble remembering where you put something, or where things are kept.
- Being unaware that you are repeating yourself or losing the thread of what you are saying in mid- sentence.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
- Struggling to do things you used to find easy.
- Feeling confused even in a familiar place.
- Having problems controlling your mood, or controlling your emotions.
What should I do if I think I have dementia?
If problems like these start to affect your daily life, it is worth sharing your concerns and making an appointment to discuss them with your GP.
If you are worried about someone else, try to encourage them to see their GP. You could offer to go with them for support if they seem a bit reluctant.
Caring for someone with dementia
It is all too easy to put the person you are caring for first, but you do need to look after yourself too. Your own health and wellbeing is important so that you are well enough to continue to look after your loved one.
You could receive help and support through the Carers Support Centre at Brigg. Who can be contacted on Telephone: 01652 650585 or you can look at their website for more information visit the care support centre website.
What other help is out there?
The Alzheimer's Society
The Alzheimer’s Society provide specialist help and support to people with a dementia diagnosis, their carers and family members.
North Lincolnshire Dementia Action Alliance
The Dementia Action Alliance are a voluntary group with the aim of making North Lincolnshire a better place for people with dementia diagnosis to live.
Communities that are dementia friendly have more opportunity to support people in the early stages of dementia. This allows people with dementia to maintain and boost their confidence and encourages them to retain their ability to manage everyday life.
The Herbert Protocol - what is it?
The Herbert Protocol is named after George Herbert, a veteran of the Normandy landings who lived with dementia. The national scheme - which is being backed by Humberside Police and other agencies - encourages family members and carers to compile useful information which can be given to officers in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.
"The Herbert Protocol' will reduce the stress and worry of family and carers should a loved one go missing. It is such a simple idea but it can have a massive impact should the police need to become involved in trying to find someone.
This can save valuable time at the outset of a missing person enquiry and save relatives further distress at a very difficult time.
The details can be recorded on a simple form – available to download by following this link, this includes vital information such as medical conditions, medication required, significant locations, contact numbers and photographs.
The forms are also be available via the NHS website, Alzheimer's UK and the Dementia Action Alliance.
Hard copies and electronic versions of the form should be stored by family members, friends and carers, so that it can be easily sent or handed to the police to reduce the time taken in gathering the information and enable officers to better target their search.
Become a dementia friend
Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
There are now over one million Dementia Friends across England and Wales, who are going out into their communities with a greater understanding of dementia and some of the ways they can help people living with the condition.
As part of Alzheimer's Society's long-term commitment to help more communities and businesses become dementia-friendly, a new target of creating four million Dementia Friends by 2020 has been set.
These are just a few ways you can get involved:
- Attend a face-to-face information session or watch the online video, to learn more about dementia and the small ways you can help.
- Tell friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
- Being more patient in shop queues, volunteering, campaigning for change, it all helps Dementia Friends to create communities in which people living with dementia feel more understood and included.
If you are interested in either becoming a Dementia Friend call 01724 298802 for more information.