Dementia

  • Dementia

Dementia

What is dementia?

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia. (Alzheimer’s Society).

Communicating with someone who has dementia

The NHS has these useful suggestions to try and begin conversations with the person you’re looking after, especially if you notice that they’re starting fewer conversations themselves.

  • Speak clearly and slowly, using short sentence.

  • Make eye contact with the person when they’re talking or asking questions.

  • Give them time to respond, because they may feel pressured if you try to speed up their answer.

  • Encourage them to join in conversations with others, where possible.

  • Let them speak for themselves during discussions about their welfare or health issues.

  • Try not to patronise them, or ridicule what they say.

  • Acknowledge what they have said, even if they don’t answer your question, or what they say seems out of context – show that you’ve heard them and encourage them to say more about their answer.

  • Give them simple choices – avoid creating complicated choices or options for them.

  • Use other ways to communicate – such as rephrasing questions because they can’t answer in the way they used to.

Singing for the Brain

Alzheimer’s Society holds three Singing for the Brain groups in Northumberland. All of the groups are informal, relaxed and friendly and are for anyone who has dementia or memory problems and their carers, family members and friends to come along to together. Times & venues:

Great Hall, Hexham Abbey on the first Tuesday of the month, 2.30 pm – 4.00pm.

Elderberries Room, The Alnwick Garden on the third Tuesday of the month, 1.30pm – 3.00pm.

Blyth Phoenix Theatre on the first Monday of the month, 1.30pm – 3.00pm.

All sessions are free; just turn up! For more information ring: 01670 813255 or email: northumberland@alzheimers.org.uk.

Useful Links and Information

National Dementia Hotline

Alzheimer’s Society’s helpline for advice, information and support.

Call: 0300 222 11 22.

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DemTalk

DemTalk is a free, web-based toolkit to help improve communication with people with dementia. It was produced in a project facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Society UK, by teams of stakeholders including communication researchers, technology designers, health and social care experts, carers and people living with dementia.

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Dementia Connect

Dementia Connect is Alzheimer’s Society’s comprehensive services directory for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Enter your postcode or place name to find voluntary, statutory and private services nearest and most relevant to you. Each listing includes a map and clear, essential information about that service.

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Alzheimer’s Society

Advice and support on all aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

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Dementia UK

Helping families to access care for those with dementia.

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NHS Choices

A guide to symptoms, support and care of those with dementia.

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