How does Dementia affect sleep?

How do the most common types of Dementia affect sleep?

You may notice that those living with Dementia, especially in the later stages, seem to spend a lot of time sleeping, but why is this?

We understand that it may seem out of the ordinary, even concerning, for the caregivers and the loved ones of those living with Dementia if a change in sleeping habits is seen, especially a marked increase in the amount an individual is sleeping but there could be an explanation…

As the Dementia progresses the damage to the brain increases and this can cause the person living with Dementia to sleep more, especially as the individual becomes more frail.

The damage to the brain, of a person living with Dementia, will make their usual daily activities much more of a task and more complex, making it more draining on the individual and causing them to sleep more, both during the day and at night.

Medication prescribed to those living with Dementia, to control and alleviate their symptoms, may also contribute to how someone living with Dementia sleeps and how drowsy they are feeling during the day. This again, may cause someone living with Dementia to sleep more.

It is not uncommon for those living with Dementia to increase the amount that they sleep during the day which leads them to being restless and unable to sleep during the night time and so although it may, at first instance, appear as though the individual is sleeping more, it may well be just that their routine, and the times that they sleep, have changed.

One common symptom of Dementia is disorientation to time and place. This can have a major impact on an individual’s sleep as when they are disorientated to time they may be unaware of whether it is day time or night time, when they initially wake and so get up and ready for the day in the early hours of the morning or during the night. This will, of course, impact the time that they are able to stay awake in the day.

Specific types of Dementia may cause specific symptoms that will affect the quality of an individual’s sleep, or even their ability to sleep at all. Symptoms may include hallucinations, breathing difficulties and restless legs, all of which can disturb an individual’s sleep or make getting to sleep extremely difficult.

As individual’s age, our quality of sleep declines and we have less deep sleep, which helps us to feel refreshed and rested and also keeps the brain healthy. Thus, we may find ourselves sleeping more to achieve that feeling of being refreshed and rested and this is no different for those living with Dementia.

It is, however, important to remember that where there is a sudden change in an individual’s sleeping pattern or behaviour, or something just doesn’t seem right, then you should always seek the opinion of a GP or healthcare professional to ensure that there is no underlying issue, such as an infection, that requires attention.

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

Rubik’s and Dementia

Rubik’s and Dementia

Rubik’s cubes and Dementia…what is the link?

Well, let us enlighten you!

 

The Rubik’s Cube is often referred to as the IMPOSSIBLE TOY but everyone knows the iconic cube and it often brings back memories from childhood, whether that be elation at solving the cube or frustration at not being able to!

We are so passionate about the positive benefits that the Rubik’s Cube can have, not only for the younger generations but for ALL of us! Some of the benefits that we have already seen include include; dexterity, coordination, memory improvement as well as a reduction in anxiety, getting social, engaging and socialising with others (and maybe even those that you wouldn’t usually!).

So, where do we come in and what do we do?

We teach people, largely the older generation (we are talking 35plus, so definitely not old!), how to SOLVE THE RUBIK’S CUBE.

We have taken solving the Rubik’s cube and simplified it to open it up to all ages and abilities. Through trial and error, and with the help of a group of elderly participants, we have devised a course of eight sessions.

We have now filmed the videos to accompany the sessions and these are in the final stage of editing and so will be available for participants to watch and practise in between sessions. We will be sure to share these videos with you all once they are ready 😉

Our main aim is to HAVE FUN but solving the Rubik’s Cube keeps the mind active and helping the residents within a Care Home or Day Centre setting to learn (or re-learn) a skill – solving the Rubik’s cube, whilst having the benefits of improving their hand-eye coordination and giving them something a bit different from the norm.

There is an additional element of looking at whether solving the Rubik’s cube can stimulate and improve short-term memory, a symptom of Dementia that is common across most types of the condition. Keeping the mind active has numerous benefits and can keep connections within the brain communicating to improve a person’s daily activities and communication skills.

The ultimate aim is that the participants we teach can then continue to solve the Rubik’s Cube and keep their mind active but also gain enough confidence to pass on their skills to:

  •         teaching other residents or members of the Care Home and Day Centre;
  •         invite groups of children in (Rainbows/Brownies/Cubs/Beavers/Local Schools etc.)
  •         sharing with their own families
  •         teaching others in the community.

This will mean that once we have finished each project, the participants are left with the skills to develop their learning, activities and engage further with the community, even as our part comes to a close.

So, we are often found in Care Homes and Day Centres teaching our lessons on how to solve the Rubik’s Cube and we are currently in talks with an Autism Charity to develop a scheme for them too as the benefits for those with Autism could be just as positive!

This is a project we at Dementia TLC are super passionate about and are always happy to discuss.

If this is something that you would be interested in for yourself, a Care Home or Day Centre that you are involved in or just want to have a chat or find out more, please do GET IN TOUCH!

 

We couldn’t write an article about this without mentioning our latest involvement with Rubik’s…

🏆GUINNESS WORLD RECORD🏆

We are so proud to be a part of the Guinness World Record for… 

The most contributions to a Rubik’s Mosaic. 

Thank you so much to Rubik’s Brand Limited and Torgeir Amundsen (Cube Arting) and CONGRATULATIONS!

We absolutely LOVE teaching all generations how to solve the Rubik’s Cube and it was our pleasure to help as many as we could to be involved in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD! 🧡

Solving the Rubik’s Cube has so many POSITIVE BENEFITS!

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

What to do after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

What to do after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Whether receiving a diagnosis for yourself or a loved one, it is a very difficult time, so much information to take in and lots of changes on the horizon. It can be overwhelming.

Depending on where you are on your journey when the diagnosis takes place, may depend on the amount of information you already have and what is available.

Here we set out a simple list of steps that should be taken upon diagnosis to help you set off on the right path…

Knowledge is Power

You may have had experience with Alzheimer’s or Dementia before, or this may well be your first encounter, either way there may be symptoms that you are not aware of or have not experienced before.

The more you can learn the better. The phrase “forewarned is forearmed” comes to mind. The more we know, the better we can prepare.

There is a lot of support around online, groups, professionals, carers, families and individuals that have also been diagnosed all navigating a similar journey. Linking up with these groups and support can be beneficial mentally and emotionally.

Allow yourself to feel

As we have said, receiving a diagnosis for yourself or a loved one, is a very difficult time, so much information to take in and lots of changes on the horizon. Allowing yourself to go through the emotions you are feeling is okay.

You are not superhuman or a robot and taking time to acknowledge and process those emotions is invaluable.

There is no ‘correct path’ of emotions to take and so feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment and disbelief are all natural feelings.

Getting into a Routine

Getting organised and into a routine can really help, not only in terms of getting into good habits but to help set out early where everyone is, what should be done when and to know what is expected when. This is vital as the Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses as routine and structure will be a necessity.

Alzheimer’s affects memory and so having a structured routine can help keep track of medication, appointments, activities and day-to-day tasks.

Routine can help to reduce stress, anxiety and frustration and increase independence and feelings of security.

Ensure your LEGAL and FINANCIAL affairs are in order

Managing your financial and legal affairs is impossible once capacity is lost. 

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia does not automatically mean that capacity is lost and so arranging the correct legal authorities are in place, whilst you have capacity to do so is vital.

You may consider reviewing your Will but also putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place so that the person that you choose, and trust, has the authority to deal with your matters (financial, property, health and welfare) when you are no longer able to do so.  

We are always happy to have a free chat with you about this – CLICK HERE

Look at what CAN be done

Once a diagnosis is received is very easy to see this as a disabling disease that will only get worse and therefore discount capabilities, activities and all those things that were much loved prior to the diagnosis.

THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE CASE!

It is so important to consider what can still be achieved, the preferences, opinions and desires of the person living with Alzheimer’s.

A diagnosis doesn’t always mean that a person is incapable and they won’t necessarily lose their desire to carry out those activities that they used to love. Being able to carry this on for as long as is safe can be great for independence, self-esteem not to mention physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Consider a Care Plan

It is inevitable that as the Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses the need for care will increase, as will appointments with an array of professionals.

There may be a range of people helping with care, loved ones, family, friends and professionals, and a care plan can assist with setting out who is responsible for what, what is expected and when this is expected.

Having a plan for now, as well as having discussions about what may be needed as the condition progresses, and how this could be catered for can save a lot of stress in the future.

Diagnosis is NOT the End

It is natural to feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel or struggle to see what there is to be grateful for when receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia as the road ahead can seem somewhat bleak and overwhelming however, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Taking into account point 5 above and looking at what can be done means that it is not the end…fun can still be had, knowledge can still be gained and relationships can still develop. 

Yes, things will be different but that does not mean it has to be worse.

You are NOT alone

Remember, whether you are the one that has been diagnosed, a loved one or caregiver…you are NOT alone.

There are lots of support groups out there, those that you can attend locally and National support groups that you can access online.

We have a list of upcoming events that maybe local to you on our website HERE.

There are no stupid questions and so we should not be afraid to ask for help or assistance.

Everyone’s journey is different, neither right nor wrong. We all have different experiences and can learn something new.

 

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

Decluttering to Create an Organised Home for Independent Living

Decluttering to Create an Organised Home for Independent Living

The home of someone living with dementia may have become cluttered because of a change in habit i.e. they prefer to keep their possessions where they can see them rather than store them away and risk not being able to find them or because they have lost the ability to look after their living space.

I wanted to share my experience of working with families in the early stages of dementia to create a safe living environment for longer independent living

 

Difficulties of Living in A Cluttered Environment

Living in a cluttered environment can make day to day living more difficult and confusing for someone with dementia.

It may cause: 

  1. Increased anxiety and stress from not being able to find what they need
  2. Increased confusion as useless things become mixed up with important items
  3. Increased risk of tripping as it becomes more difficult to differentiate one object from another
  4. Increased hygiene risk as it’s more difficult to clean a cluttered space
  5. Increased fire risk making emergency access more difficult

 

The Importance Of An Uncluttered and Simplified Home

Creating an uncluttered and simplified home can help to increase the chances of someone living with dementia to maintain independence for longer, in a safe environment. They can continue to perform daily tasks and avoid situations which may cause confusion.

In early dementia it is common for an individual to mislay items around the home and become upset about not finding the things that they need.

I have worked closely with my clients’ adult children or carers to create a new simplified living environment. This can be a stressful and emotional time for everyone. I have found that it works better if the changes can be made in the early stages when they are more likely to understand the need for it. At this stage they can be involved with the decision-making process of where to keep key items and making decisions on which items are important to keep and those that they no longer need.

 

Blissfully Organised’s Top Tips to Create an Uncluttered and Safe Living Space

ACTION PLAN 

Create a decluttering and organisation action plan for each room. The objective is to create a safe and comfortable living space. Understand the items that are important to them and their daily routine – medicines, keys, toiletries, clothing and kitchen essentials (their favourite mug etc). Once you know which items are essential you can start to eliminate unnecessary items. Simplifying the number of items will make it easier to find what they need, i.e. in the kitchen you can reduce the number of cups, plates, cutlery, glasses to the minimum required. In the bathroom you can simplify the items to have one of each, i.e. shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, soap, hairbrush etc.

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING 

Designate fixed locations for everything in the home, i.e. medicines, glasses, keys etc. 

Agree where key items should be stored in each room.

FREQUENTLY USED ITEMS 

Keep frequently used items in view i.e. utensils in the kitchen or toiletries in the bathroom.

ALWAYS COMMUNICATE 

Never simply move things without communicating its new home. This can cause a great deal of stress.

LABELLING CAN HELP 

You can label drawers or use photos so they can more easily find what they need in cupboards without having to have everything in view.

UNWANTED ITEMS 

My clients are often reluctant to let things go because they feel that it may be useful one day or is wasteful to throw it away. 

I find it’s very important to reassure a client that the things that they no longer need will be recycled to a valuable new home.

If you need further advice or support on decluttering and organising the living space of a relative in the early stages of dementia please do not hesitate to contact me. 

I would love to support you.

Tracy Ross

Professional Organiser

Blissfully Organised

tracy@blissfullyorganised.co.uk

Tel: 07818 423 376

www.blissfullyorganised.co.uk

What are your thoughts?

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

12 Risk Factor associated with Dementia

12 Risk Factor associated with Dementia​

Although Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of diseases and conditions with a range of symptoms, it appears (as per the World Health Organization) that there are common risk factors that may contribute to the onset of Dementia – whatever form it takes.  

12 primary risk factors have been identified as follows:

Lack of Physical Activity

Physical activity is often linked to brain health and can health positive effects on the structure of the brain.

WHO has suggested that physical activity could be recommended to those with normal cognition, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment to prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally!

Studies show a noticeable link between smoking tobacco and Dementia.

Stopping smoking could not only positively impact cognitive decline it may also promote and encourage other health benefits. 

Poor Diet

A healthy diet could have a major impact on preventing Dementia.

One suggestion, is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet as this is evidenced to protect against cognitive decline and improve cognitive function.

A healthy diet can also be used to prevent, or improve, hypertension which is another risk factor associated with Dementia.

Alcohol Misuse

Misuse of alcohol is one of the leading causes of disability across the world.

There is evidence of a link between excessive consumption of alcohol and Dementia.

Reducing or limiting the amount of alcohol consumed can have a great impact on preventing cognitive decline. Reducing the consumption of alcohol may also evidence other health benefits for the individual.

Insufficient or Impaired Cognitive Reserve

Cognitive Reserve is the brain’s ability to cope with or compensate for neuropathology or damage. 

Increased cognitive activity, through cognitive stimulation therapy and/or cognitive training, can increase your Cognitive Reserve and prevent cognitive decline and the onset of Dementia.

Lack of Social Activity

Where an individual is excluded from social interaction or disengaged, it has been shown to increase the risk of cognitive impairment and Dementia.

Social Interaction and activity could be with family, friends, caregivers or the wider community.

Social interaction and engagement is known to increase an individual’s overall health and wellbeing and thus could help stave off Dementia.

Unhealthy Weight Gain

Excessive weight is a big risk factor for a range of conditions and medical complications.

Those in their mid-life ages that are overweight, or suffering from obesity, could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia.

Weight loss may also have a positive impact on other potential risk factors, such as Hypertension, Cholesterol Levels and Physical Activity.

Hypertension

Hypertension is the term used for an individual with high blood pressure.

Those with high blood pressure could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia and taking steps to reduce this, could reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hypertension can be reduced or controlled with medication or by taking control of other risk factors associated with Dementia, such as diet and physical activity.

Diabetes

Late life Diabetes is linked to the development of Dementia.

Developing Diabetes may well be unavoidable but where this is not managed correctly it can increase the risk of cognitive decline and developing Dementia.

Where an individual already has Diabetes, if this is well managed then this could help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

Unhealthy cholesterol levels is also known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high Cholesterol Level and the development of Dementia.

Managing healthy cholesterol levels, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Depression

Depression is a risk factor associated with cognitive decline and Dementia.

Depression is also known to reduce motivation which can in turn cause cognitive decline.

Treating depression medically or through trying to incorporate an overall wellbeing strategy could help to improve cognitive activity and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is common amongst those over the age of 65, with 1 in 3 individuals affected.

Some evidence suggests a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline and Dementia.

Improving hearing loss, for those affected, could not only have a positive impact on their cognitive ability but also on their overall quality of life.

The full Guidelines from the World Health Organization in relation to the Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia can be found HERE.



Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

12 Risk Factor associated with Dementia​

Although Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of diseases and conditions with a range of symptoms, it appears (as per the World Health Organization) that there are common risk factors that may contribute to the onset of Dementia – whatever form it takes.  

12 primary risk factors have been identified as follows:

Lack of Physical Activity

Physical activity is often linked to brain health and can health positive effects on the structure of the brain.

WHO has suggested that physical activity could be recommended to those with normal cognition, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment to prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally!

Studies show a noticeable link between smoking tobacco and Dementia.

Stopping smoking could not only positively impact cognitive decline it may also promote and encourage other health benefits. 

Poor Diet

A healthy diet could have a major impact on preventing Dementia.

One suggestion, is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet as this is evidenced to protect against cognitive decline and improve cognitive function.

A healthy diet can also be used to prevent, or improve, hypertension which is another risk factor associated with Dementia.

Alcohol Misuse

Misuse of alcohol is one of the leading causes of disability across the world.

There is evidence of a link between excessive consumption of alcohol and Dementia.

Reducing or limiting the amount of alcohol consumed can have a great impact on preventing cognitive decline. Reducing the consumption of alcohol may also evidence other health benefits for the individual.

Insufficient or Impaired Cognitive Reserve

Cognitive Reserve is the brain’s ability to cope with or compensate for neuropathology or damage. 

Increased cognitive activity, through cognitive stimulation therapy and/or cognitive training, can increase your Cognitive Reserve and prevent cognitive decline and the onset of Dementia.

Lack of Social Activity

Where an individual is excluded from social interaction or disengaged, it has been shown to increase the risk of cognitive impairment and Dementia.

Social Interaction and activity could be with family, friends, caregivers or the wider community.

Social interaction and engagement is known to increase an individual’s overall health and wellbeing and thus could help stave off Dementia.

Unhealthy Weight Gain

Excessive weight is a big risk factor for a range of conditions and medical complications.

Those in their mid-life ages that are overweight, or suffering from obesity, could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia.

Weight loss may also have a positive impact on other potential risk factors, such as Hypertension, Cholesterol Levels and Physical Activity.

Hypertension

Hypertension is the term used for an individual with high blood pressure.

Those with high blood pressure could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia and taking steps to reduce this, could reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hypertension can be reduced or controlled with medication or by taking control of other risk factors associated with Dementia, such as diet and physical activity.

Diabetes

Late life Diabetes is linked to the development of Dementia.

Developing Diabetes may well be unavoidable but where this is not managed correctly it can increase the risk of cognitive decline and developing Dementia.

Where an individual already has Diabetes, if this is well managed then this could help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

Unhealthy cholesterol levels is also known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high Cholesterol Level and the development of Dementia.

Managing healthy cholesterol levels, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Depression

Depression is a risk factor associated with cognitive decline and Dementia.

Depression is also known to reduce motivation which can in turn cause cognitive decline.

Treating depression medically or through trying to incorporate an overall wellbeing strategy could help to improve cognitive activity and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is common amongst those over the age of 65, with 1 in 3 individuals affected.

Some evidence suggests a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline and Dementia.

Improving hearing loss, for those affected, could not only have a positive impact on their cognitive ability but also on their overall quality of life.

The full Guidelines from the World Health Organization in relation to the Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia can be found HERE.



Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk