What is an Advance Care Plan (ACP)?

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What is an Advance
Care Plan (ACP)?

Kindly written by Debbie Callow RMN

An Advance Care Plan, known as an ACP, is an umbrella term that contains a plan made in advance of reaching the end of your life that details key wishes, preferences, and legal aspects of your care needs. It was previously known as a Living Will, some people may still know it as that, but this is a more outdated term. It is important for us all to complete but even more so for a person experiencing dementia as there is a risk of losing mental capacity as the disease progresses.

I’m Dementia Debbie, The Dementia Coach and I’m a registered mental health nurse specialising in supporting families facing dementia with tough transitions through their dementia journey. I believe education is key to helping the world understand dementia, after all knowledge is power, so let me help you understand some basics about what to consider in an ACP.

An ACP can encompass an array of documents such as an Advance Statement, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR), Advance Directives (different from an advance statement). It can also include information related to after death such as Will information or funeral arrangements. It’s important to know that an ACP helps guide professionals and families in the right direction when a person has lost mental capacity and the team are trying to act in the person’s best interests. If a person still has mental capacity, they may wish to use their ACP to help them make decisions, as it allows you to consider tough decisions ahead of time. Trying to decide when an event is occurring can often mean our judgement is clouded as our emotions are heightened at this time. The ACP helps take away from that decision-making process at those challenging times when it can be difficult to think straight.  

Health and Social Care professionals will often use a lot of jargon, sometimes without even realising, and you may not know what that abbreviation or word means. Always ask a professional what they mean if they use a term that you are not sure about. Let me explain now what all those documents I listed entail:

Advance Statement

A personal statement of your wishes when you reach the end of your life, it is mainly focused on pre-death but can include details of where your Will is or who holds it, as well as your funeral wishes. People often want to include things like “I wish to be pain free”, “I wish to have my family around me”, “I wish to always be treated with dignity and respect”, “I wish to be cared for at home”. Consider though the deeper meaning to these statements, for example, what do you mean by “pain free”, do you want to be so dosed up on medications you are free from pain but not really aware of who is in the room, or would rather tolerate some pain so you can be more aware of your surroundings? Everyone will feel differently about this and it’s important to always consider what a statement really means to that individual. Similarly, someone who wishes to remain at home, that can be option A, but what if it was not safe to remain at home, under what circumstances would you consider an option B and C? Put these variations to your preferences in your Advance Statement, it can save a lot of heartache and guilt later on if people already know what you want if you couldn’t stay at home for some reason. You can find a template to complete an ACP on the Dementia UK website. (1)

LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney)

A legal document that enables a person with mental capacity to appoint a person/s to speak on their behalf about important financial and or health matters. If a person has already lost mental capacity, then they cannot get an LPA and may need a representative to apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy. There are 2 types of LPA, Financial & Property which can be active before a person loses capacity and Health & Welfare which is only applicable once a person has lost capacity. If an appointed Attorney is active, they should always be advocating for what that person would want and in their best interests. I would always recommend getting legal advice to complete these documents. A solicitor such as, Total Legacy Care, will talk through many scenarios with you to ensure the LPA is strong and lasting. You can find information about all of these matters at the Office of the Public Guardian. (2)

DNACPR (Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

This is another legal document and the biggest misconception about DNACPR is that it means professionals are giving up on the person, it does not mean that! It only applies in the event of the heart stopping and whether you would then want CPR to try and restart your heart. It does not apply to any other health matter or care need.

It is a medical decision whether to put one in place but should always be done with consultation with the patient (if possible) and family. I think the easiest way to think about whether or not you or someone you love might need a DNACPR is;

Would it feel wrong to you to see someone aggressively pushing up and down on that person’s chest?

If you feel yes it would, speak to the GP about getting one put in place.

CPR is not a gentle process, it often causes bruising, skin tears, sometimes broken bones. CPR is only successful in 10% of cases that happen outside of hospital (3) and is 3 times less likely to be successful on someone with a cognitive impairment. (4)

Advance Directives

Another legally binding document and are about refusing life sustaining treatment. Not many people have them as the wording must be extremely precise and include phrases such as “even if my life is at risk as a result”. An Advance Directive informs of the treatment being refused and the circumstances in which you wish to refuse that treatment.

For example, specific treatment: I wish to refuse artificial feeding through a tube to my stomach or IV, circumstances: I wish to no longer receive food or fluids through a feeding tube when I can no longer swallow safely due to my dementia, even with the support of others, even if my life is at risk as a result.

The reason to put in your health condition is that this same sentence may not apply in different circumstances. A person with dementia may want artificially feeding if the reason they cannot eat is from a stroke which they are expected to recover from.

Advance Directives should always be discussed with your specialist consultant involved and with legal support.

I offer support to complete an Advance Statement and can talk through the other aspects discussed. You can follow me on Instagram @dementiadebbie or visit my website https://thedementiacoach.org/.

Reference resources

  1. Dementia UK ACP template https://www.dementiauk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DUK_ACP_form_editable_online.pdf
  2. Office of the Public Guardian https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-public-guardian.
  3. Resus Council UK https://www.resus.org.uk/home/faqs/faqs-basic-life-support-cpr
  4. Arcand M. End-of-life issues in advanced dementia: Part 1: goals of care, decision-making process, and family education. Can Fam Physician. 2015;61(4):330-334. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4396757/

The challenges of Young Onset Dementia are significantly different

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The challenges of Young Onset Dementia are significantly different

Many have the misconception that Dementia is a natural part of ageing…IT IS NOT!

Another common misconception is that Dementia is only prevalent in later years, again IT IS NOT.

Dementia, although not as frequent, can be diagnosed from any age and in the UK alone there are over 42,000 people with Dementia that are under the age of 65, which is around 5% of those with Dementia.

The challenges faced by those with a diagnosis of Young Onset Dementia are often significantly different to those diagnosed with Dementia at a later stage of their life.

Some of those challenges include:

Having to decide whether they can continue to work

For those that are still employed when receiving their diagnosis of Dementia, they will be faced with the unenviable task of speaking with the employer and discussing with their family and medical professionals to see exactly what they can continue to do, what they should expect and whether any work is possible and if so, for how long.

It may be that hours need to be reduced, roles need to change or adjust to capabilities, or perhaps work will need to stop completely.

Reducing hours, or stopping work altogether, can have a big impact not only financially (which we explore a little later) but also emotionally, physically and in terms of keeping the mind active. Without a daily routine and work to prepare for and keep you busy throughout the day we can often see a much quicker decline where there is not something else keeping the mind active and the person physically active and busy.

Having a bigger financial burden

A diagnosis of Dementia for someone  that is still working and still has a mortgage to pay can be devastating and bring a big financial (not to mention emotional!) burden that was never expected.

For many, their mortgage is the largest expense and if you are forced to give up work then your finances are bound to be lower. Some will be covered by Income Protection or other insurances which will be welcomed at such a difficult time, but for others the loss of an income due to an inability to work can be devastating.

It may also be the case that a spouse or partner, perhaps even an adult child, has to give up work or reduce their hours to help with the care. This may not be immediate but may be required as the Dementia progresses and as the needs of the person living with Dementia increase. This is something that will need to be carefully planned for as again, this could decrease the household income further.

Having dependents

Those that are diagnosed with young onset Dementia may still have people that rely on them, whether that be children, a spouse or partner, perhaps even their own parents or other loved ones and this can be difficult to navigate following a diagnosis of Dementia when it is inevitable that the care that they themselves will need will increase.

Receiving a diagnosis at any age is not ideal and comes with its challenges at any age BUT don’t forget…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

There are places, groups, organisations and people that can help and support you through this, so please reach out.

We would love to hear 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

Should we be concentrating on PROGNOSIS rather than DIAGNOSIS in Dementia?

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Should we be concentrating on PROGNOSIS rather than DIAGNOSIS in Dementia?

An important question that seems to be coming up ever more frequently is:

Should we be concentrating on prognosis rather than diagnosis?

Let’s start by defining each of those terms…

PROGNOSIS:

Noun

  • the likely course of a medical condition.
  • an opinion, based on medical experience, of the likely course of a medical condition.
  • a forecast of the likely outcome of a situation.

DIAGNOSIS:

Noun
the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.

Thus, it is evident that one clearly focuses on the current situation and issue at hand, whereas the other (prognosis) looks at what that diagnosis means, how it may progress and the likely outcome.

However, before taking such an approach, we need to consider whether we know enough, and can do enough, to give people a prognosis.

If we were able to give individuals a prognosis we have a few things to consider, for example:

Do individuals really want to know their risk factor, or score, when there is currently no known preventable measure, or measures, that can be taken?

Would this cause more harm, especially mentally and emotionally, than good?

Step 1: Identifying Risk

An important consideration here is whether giving someone a risk factor or risk score could make their prognosis worse. If an individual is delivered ‘bad’ news they may then submit to this and be less reluctant to live life to the full or take preventative measures.

In addition, a lot of training would be needed in order that such prognosis and risk scores are delivered and presented in an effective manner – this is unlikely to be something that is practicable within an already under resourced, and stretched, NHS.

Step 2: Tailoring Treatment

Much the same point as before, at the risk of sounding pessimistic, is it a step too far to expect our already overstretched and under resourced NHS to be able to offer customised treatment to each individual?

We are all too well versed with the phrase, “if you have met one person with Dementia, you have met one person with Dementia”, and we know all too well that no two individuals are affected by Dementia in the same way. Dementia is a condition that has over 200 different types (that we know about!) any many different forms, symptoms as well as conditions that accompany it for many individuals. 

A one size fits all approach will not work, but are we really able to offer tailor-made treatment to each individual?

Although this would be amazing, it just seems a bit too far out of reach at the moment.

Whilst, we are also pushing for new treatments and (dare we say) a cure…

Are we really ready for a prognosis?

We would love to hear 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

Creating a Dementia Friendly Garden

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Creating a Dementia Friendly Garden

A Dementia Friendly Garden is about creating a space that a person living with Dementia can enjoy whilst feeling safe and content.

Being outside and able to enjoy the fresh air can have massive benefits on mental health and wellbeing and having a safe outdoor space of their own to enjoy can help to reduce stress and anxiety as well as giving them a space to enjoy independently, whilst they are able to, or with others.

Some of the things to consider when creating a Dementia Friendly garden, or outside area, are:

Safety First!

Ensuring walkways and areas are as level as possible will help to create a Dementia Friendly Garden to reduce the risk of trips and falls and making it much easier for the individual living with Dementia to move around.

If you do have higher levels or steps, using handrails for extra support and ensuring they are easy to see (and not camouflaged or masked by shrubbery/flowers/bushes) will help to minimise any risk of falls.

You should also be mindful of any slippy services, especially decking when it gets wet (this can be an accident waiting to happen!).

You may also want to consider specialist flooring that is non-slip or even surfaces that provide a softer landing, if a loved one is prone to falls.

Safe & Secure

Ensuring the garden is not only safe but also secure ensures peace of mind for you whilst keeping your loved one safe!

As we know, it is not unusual for our loved ones living with Dementia to get confused and disorientated; ensuring the garden is secure and there is minimal risk of our loved ones leaving without us being made aware is extremely important.

You do not have to use padlocks and treat the garden like a gated prison but you may want to consider secure fencing covered with climbing plants, trellis or other garden ornaments and features that still look pretty and ornate (and can be enjoyed!) but help to protect your loved one.

Take the weight off your feet

Having a lovely garden is brilliant and an outside space for our loved ones to enjoy and spend time in is a bonus whether living with Dementia or not, however seating is a must!

We all need to take the weight off of our feet from time to time and spending time in the garden is no exception.

Having plenty of seating options available is advantageous to all of us, no matter what our age, and means we can spend more time in the garden enjoying our surroundings and breathing in the fresh air!

Bird Song

Encouraging birds and wildlife into the garden can provide a great activity for those living with Dementia (not to mention how calming and relaxing it can be to sit and watch or listen to the birds!).

Other animals that you may want to think about encouraging into the garden are hedgehogs, bugs, butterflies and even frogs.

GET INVOLVED!

Allowing your loved one living with Dementia to get involved in the Garden and Gardening Activities is a great way to spend time outside together and when they are pottering about alone.

Activities in the garden can give someone living with Dementia a sense of purpose and increase their self-esteem and overall mood.

Some activities you may want to consider are; weeding, pruning, planting seeds and vegetables. You may even want to invest in some garden games and activities like a large jenga set, swingball or connect four.

Have you created a Dementia Friendly garden that you could share photographs of, or have you got some of your own tips to share?

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

Can I make a Lasting Power of Attorney after being diagnosed with Dementia?

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Can I make a Lasting Power of Attorney after being diagnosed with Dementia?

As you may know, a Lasting Power of Attorney is put in place so that someone that you trust implicitly (known as Attorneys) can manage your finances & property and/or your health & welfare decisions on your behalf.

A Lasting Power of Attorney must be put in place whilst the Donor (the person giving the Power) has capacity, and a Certificate Provider is required to certify this in order for the Lasting Power of Attorney to be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Once diagnosed with Dementia is it too late to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Whether a Lasting Power of Attorney can be created and registered after a Dementia diagnosis will depend on how soon the diagnosis takes place and whether that individual has capacity, lucid or ‘good’ days and is still of sound mind.

If the individual still has capacity or has lucid days where they are clear on their finances, current affairs and appear to be unaffected by the Dementia then it may well be that a Lasting Power of Attorney can be prepared at this time and instructions taken from the individual. 

A Certificate Provider will meet with the individual and go through, carefully and sensitively, the current circumstances and ask questions as to that individual’s circumstances and personal affairs, as well as current affairs in the news and media, to ascertain their general capacity and mental wellbeing. If the Certificate Provider is content that the intended Donor has capacity, and they are aware of the importance of the Lasting Power of Attorney and the extent of the Power that they are giving to their Attorneys, then the Lasting Power of Attorney can be applied for and registered.

When registering a Lasting Power of Attorney, it may be necessary to notify people that an application is being made in order to protect the Donor. Notification can be given to up to five people although this cannot be given to those that are being appointed as the Attorneys. This provides extra security for the Donor and allows the person, or people, being notified of the intended registration the opportunity to object to the Power being registered for any of the following reasons:-

  • if they believe that the Donor does not have mental capacity;
  • if the person being notified has a genuine belief that the Donor was under undue pressure to give the Power or is a victim of fraud;
  • if the person being notified has a genuine belief that the Attorney would act in a way that is beyond their powers under the Power or would not be in the best interests of the Donor;
  • if the Donor of the intended Attorney, or Attorneys, have already passed away;
  • if the Donor and intended Attorney were married or in a civil partnership and this has now ended;
  • if the intended Attorney does not have the mental capacity to be appointed as an Attorney;
  • if the Attorney is bankrupt;

Having both Lasting Powers of Attorney in place means that, the Donor is able to appoint the people they know and trust (whilst still of sound mind to make such a decision) to make decisions for them when they are unable to do so for themselves, and takes an unnecessary stress away from both them and their loved ones at, what is already, a difficult time.

We are always happy to have a chat with you about putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, the Powers that are available and whether this is still a viable option for either yourself or a loved one.

If you would like to have a free chat about Lasting Power of Attorneys, please contact us on  info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Walking About with Dementia

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Walking About with Dementia:
How can we help?

It is common amongst those with Dementia to ‘Walk About’ or ‘Walk with Purpose’ and in some cases this can lead to the individual leaving their home and putting themselves in danger.

An individual with Dementia may Walk About for a number of reasons, including to relieve stress and boredom or even as a result of anxiety. The walking itself is not usually a problem and we are keen advocates of remaining active after a Dementia diagnosis, however, this needs to be managed to ensure that the individual is not putting their health or their safety at risk.

We try not to use the term ‘Wandering’ as this is quite a dismissive term that suggests that the person that in Wandering has no purpose or is wandering aimlessly and this is often not the case with those with Dementia. Although we, as an outsider, may not immediately see the reason for their Walking About, the individual will have a purpose and a reason for their behaviour but may not be able to communicate this, or may have become disorientated whilst walking, due to their Dementia.

Here we look at some steps that you could take if you find a member of the public Walking About that may be in need of some assistance.

One of the key points to overcome, in a public setting, is (unfortunately) stigma. Some people will ignore the individual with Dementia, or be reluctant to assist, due to their preconceived ideas about what the issue may be or because they do not understand the condition. (This is why we need more Dementia Friends!!!)

However, even for those that do not want to get involved, alerting authorities and the police of a vulnerable person is an easy but very helpful step to take.

If you feel that you able to assist a vulnerable person that appears to be Walking About, then the following tips may help:

Approach the person from the front, so that they are aware that you are approaching them and make yourself known to them.

Consider that they may have hearing issues and so, speak to them closely, without invading their personal space (none of us like our personal space being invaded!)

Try and stay calm and show this with your body language.

Speak slowly and take the time to listen to the individual.

Ask questions in a simple manner and only ask one question at a time. Allow time for the individual to respond.

Try and use non-verbal communication and gestures where appropriate, to simplify your questions or sentence.

Provide reassurance and try to keep the individual calm.

Request assistance from the police when safe and able to do so.

Try to stay with the individual for as long as possible and if possible, until the police or professional help arrives.

One thing that I would always advocate is:

Imagine it was your family member or loved one that had walked in to the local high street, how would you want a member of the public to assist them?
Be that person!

Alzheimer’s Society Helpcards

The Alzheimer’s Society provide FREE helpcards for those living with Dementia to carry around with them, so that it is easier for them to get help when out and about in the Community.

The free cards are a great tool and can be ordered here: 

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-and-factsheets/helpcards

 

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

A is for Alzheimer’s

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A is for Alzheimer’s
5 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s...
All beginning with A

Here we take a look at five of the early signs of Alzheimer’s and exactly what they mean…

Agnosia is where an individual is unable to recognise familiar objects, tastes, sounds or other sensations.

Amnesia is memory loss.

Anomia is the inability to remember the correct names of things.

Aphasia is where an individual is unable to express themselves through speech.

Apraxia is where an individual does not use an object for it’s correct use as they are unable to identify the object.

It is important to remember that having one, or a couple, of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s and you should always seek professional advice but it is always important to keep an eye on changes and an early diagnosis can be so beneficial for those diagnosed and their loved ones.

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

RED: The colour saviour for Dementia?

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RED:
The colour saviour for Dementia?

Why is RED such an important colour to use for those living with Dementia?

Red is one of the final colours that a person living with Dementia will be able to see as their eyesight deteriorates and the Dementia progresses.

So, how can this be used when caring for those living with Dementia and why is it important?

Some common things that you may have noticed when caring for someone living with Dementia may be:

  • loss of appetite or eating a lot less than usual;
  • decrease in personal hygiene standards;
  • increase in falls;

One of the reasons that may be contributing to the above issues is COLOUR! It may sound a little strange but bear with us…

If you are eating soft, mostly beige/white foods, from a white/cream plate and are losing your sight, you may well be hungry but unable to see the food you are trying to eat properly.

What about putting that food on to a bright coloured plate, let’s say RED as this is one of the last colours that a person living with Dementia can see, and then put that same food – say mash potato, chicken or pasta – on to that plate. The food is so much easier to see and you may well see an increase in the amount being eaten.

What is the usual colour for bathrooms, toilets and washrooms? White, right?

Well, looking at what we have considered above; consider how daunting this could be to a person living with Dementia? If you are struggling to identify white objects and spatial awareness, then imagine how intimidating your bathroom may seem. Could this be a reason, or at least be contributing to the reason, that there appears to be a decline in your loved one’s personal hygiene?

How about trying to use red towels, red bathroom accessories, a red toilet seat cover and perhaps even a red toothbrush and flanel? This could make a real difference and encourage the person living with Dementia to use these items independently, or with a little assistance, and take care (or assist with) their personal hygiene.

Now, the main reason for falls in those living with Dementia, will not always be down to colour, nor can it be solved just with changing the colour of the walls, but a completely white room with largely white items is not going to be helpful to someone living with Dementia. Think about highlighting key points with bright colour- perhaps around the light switches, so that they can be identified – and adding objects that are brightly coloured to help the person living with Dementia to see these and increase their spatial awareness.

As with all of these tips, these may not work for everyone but it may well be worth a try.

We would love to know your thoughts and hear your experiences!

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

How can I prevent the onset of Dementia?

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How can I prevent the onset of Dementia?

Dementia is often associated with growing older and is frequently mistaken for a ‘normal’ part of ageing…Dementia is NOT an inevitable consequence of ageing! 

The World Health Organization (WHO) have recently updated their guidance on Dementia and suggest that the most effective way to prevent Dementia is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So, what does a healthy lifestyle look like?

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet has benefits, not only in terms of Dementia, but in relation to our overall health and wellbeing. Following a healthy diet can also prevent other conditions and medical complications, such as reducing blood pressure and preventing or controlling Diabetes and other complications associated with weight gain and obesity.

There is evidence that following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for  cognitive function and therefore preventing Dementia. A healthy diet is often suggested to be high in plant-based foods and low in meats.

Other foods that are thought to offer a positive contribution to preventing Dementia are fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and coffee. Those that have a high consumption of fish in their diet are linked to lower memory decline.

Regular Exercise / Physical Activity

Physical Activity is associated with brain health and can have a positive effect on the brain structure.

WHO has suggested that physical activity and regular exercise could prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Similarly to maintaining a healthy diet, taking part in regular exercise will have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing – physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.

Healthy Blood Pressure

Healthy blood pressure will be achieved where no Hypertension (high blood pressure) is present. High blood pressure could increase the risk of developing Dementia.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can be achieved through medication, if it is not possible to control and manage this yourself through diet and exercise (medical advice should always be sought).

As with the previous steps that can be taken to prevent Dementia, maintaining a healthy blood pressure will also have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Cholesterol Level

Similarly to maintaining a healthy blood pressure, we should also look to manage and maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Unhealthy cholesterol levels is known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high cholesterol levels and the development of Dementia and so managing  a healthy cholesterol level, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Dementia.

Keeping the Mind Active

Keeping your mind active has a wealth of benefits throughout your entire life and shouldn’t stop as we grow older. 

Cognitive stimulation and activity can prevent or reduce cognitive decline.

Activities to keep the mind active can be achieved for all abilities from puzzles to wordsearches, crosswords, sudoku or even a Rubik’s Cube!

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy could also be used to promote and encourage cognitive activity.

Stop Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally and there is evidence to suggest 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 and help to contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.

As of yet, there is no cure for Dementia but with continuing research, and the condition affecting so many lives, this is something we strive for.

There is not just one cause for Dementia. As we know, Dementia is a condition that takes a variety of forms and presents very differently depending on the individual.

Living a healthy lifestyle not only has the potential to prevent, or at least push back, Dementia, it also encourages and promotes a better quality of life and can prevent so many other conditions and medical complications.

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

Happy Dementia-Friendly Christmas

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Happy Dementia-Friendly Christmas

For many of us, Christmas is a fabulous time of year that we really look forward to; spending time with family and friends, eating lots, celebrating and enjoying the festivities!

However, for those affected by Dementia, whether that be those living with Dementia, their loved ones or carers, Christmas can be  a difficult time. 

So, what can we do to encourage a Dementia-Friendly Christmas?

Inclusion

We all love feeling that sense of inclusion and belonging, this is no different for those living with Dementia! 

There is always something that those living with dementia can be included with, family games, helping to decorate the tree or the Christmas cake, perhaps even help with the table setting.

Getting involved with Christmas activities is fun at any age, from decorating Christmas cards and decorations, through to baking, cooking and festive games.

Perhaps you could even look back at past Christmas’ with your loved ones and reminisce on their memories from times gone by.

Gradual change is easier to deal with

Keeping an environment familiar for those living with Dementia is extremely important and so if you do want to add some Christmas Decorations, think about doing this gradually, over time so as not to cause any overwhelming feelings.

This can avoid big changes and allow the person living with Dementia to get used to (and enjoy!) the small, gradual changes.

Routine

Keeping to a routine is important and can prevent anxiety and frustration.

So, over the christmas period try and keep to as much of the usual routine as possible (such as meal times) and try not to introduce lots of new things at once as this will be overwhelming and the person living with Dementia may struggle to cope.

Medication

This may sound like a common-sense approach but with everything else that is going on over the festive period and everything that you have to remember, having enough medication can often slip through the net.

It is so SO important that your loved one has enough medication to see them through the festive period, especially if they are going away or going to stay with family members.

Your loved one’s GP or pharmacist may not be available over the festive period and so having enough medication is imperative.

Quiet Time

As much as we all love the festive fun, we can all appreciate some down, or quiet time.

Having a separate room or area that a loved one with Dementia can go to and relax in, to take some time out and unwind, is helpful.

We all appreciate how overwhelming it can be when we are in loud places with lots of people, especially when it is not an everyday occurance, and so allowing a loved one with Dementia the opportunity to take some time out can be extremely beneficial.

Food and Drink

A sudden change to the diet of someone living with Dementia can be overwhelming and also have a negative effect on their digestion and health so it is worthwhile being mindful of this.

It is also important to remember that someone living with Dementia may be overwhelmed when faced with a full plate of food, especially food that they are not used to eating, and so being mindful of what, and how much is put on to their plate can be helpful.

We would love to hear your advice and tips for a Dementia-Friendly Chritsmas! Please drop us a message on Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk or comment below.

 

Wishing you and your families a FABULOUS FESTIVE SEASON!