Dementia is becoming an increasing concern in the UK, with over 700,000 people living with the condition in England alone. In Wales, the government is launching a scheme to help people reduce their risk of developing the condition through adopting a healthier lifestyle. With more and more people’s lives being affected by dementia, it’s important to know what help is available to sufferers and their families and carers in order so they can get the support for dementia they need.
Self-care and reducing dementia risk
The Alzheimer’s Society revealed last month that the number of people suffering from the condition could rise by 40% within 10 years. With a number of studies showing that living a healthier lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of dementia, it’s important to take steps towards better self-care and healthy living.
The Welsh Assembly government has launched a large-scale national campaign designed to promote the importance of living a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the risk, with people being encouraged to get active, eat healthy and socialise with friends to reduce the risk of dementia. These kinds of lifestyle changes not only reduce the risk of dementia, but other conditions such as obesity and heart disease which are associated with obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
Support for dementia
There is a lot of support available to people with dementia, especially from your local GP. If you suspect dementia in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to seek advice from a doctor as soon as possible in order to confirm diagnosis and ensure that the right care is offered. This first step is important, as it is the GP who will be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s or dementia and if necessary arrange referrals for further tests and confirmation. GPs will ensure that regular check-ups are made, as well as offer different care options as and when they are needed.
It’s important that dementia patients see their doctor if they become agitated or confused or start displaying signs of illness such as urinary tract infections and constipation. There are also mental health concerns that can warrant a visit to the GP, including feeling restless or unhappy, loss of appetite or sleep. These symptoms can signal depression, which is common amongst those who have been diagnosed with dementia.
GPs will offer treatment and care advice as well as advice on lifestyle changes that need to be made in order to prevent illness. Much like the lifestyle changes mentioned above, staying fit and healthy is a key factor for dementia sufferers.
Dementia support in East Berkshire
In 2009, a project was launched to provide a single point of service information for dementia sufferers and carers in East Berkshire. This led to the creation of a directory full of support resources from charities and dementia organisations to support carers. It also holds details of the types of services available such as classes and care services which could be extremely vital to patients.
Our out of hours surgery offers help for patients and their carers out of hours when care is needed urgently. You can find details of our opening times and locations here whilst more information about dementia is available in this comprehensive NHS guide.