Safeguarding: Older people living with dementia

Over the past few weeks, I have been focussing on the vulnerable members of our community and more specifically older people.

This week, I would like to continue to focus on a vulnerable group – those experiencing dementia. Did you know that every 3 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with dementia? There are currently 670,000 people caring for a loved one with dementia.

For our staff team particularly, they have expressed an interest in learning more about dementia and enabling them to be more dementia aware. This is something we are looking to train our staff in in the coming months.

What is dementia? (taken from https://www.dementiauk.org/understanding-dementia/what-is-dementia/)

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions affecting the brain. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia, but the five most common are: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia. Some people may have a combination of different types of dementia and these are commonly called mixed dementia.

How many people are affected by dementia in the UK? (taken from https://www.dementiauk.org/understanding-dementia/what-is-dementia/)

The Alzheimer’s Society (2014) reports there are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. Of these, approximately, 42,000 are people with young onset dementia, which affects people under the age of 65. As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia. It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over one million. Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.

Maybe you are caring for someone with dementia – this can make you vulnerable too. You may be feeling tired, overwhelmed or unable to cope. It is important that you look after yourself as a carer too – Dementia UK has advice and support available here.

As always, our friends at Solent Mind have some great resources that can assist – they have a toolkit for dementia carers available here.

The Alzheimer’s Society runs an initiative called Dementia Friends – these are people who learn about dementia so they can help their community. If this is something that would interest you, you can visit their website to find out more.