What is Dementia?
Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that causes gradual loss of the ability to think and reason clearly. Symptoms include deterioration in memory, thinking speed. mental agility, language, understanding and judgment on a level that affects everyday living.
Source: Future Learn Course; The Many Faces of Dementia, UCL
People with dementia can lose interest in their usual activities, and may have problems controlling their emotions.
They may also find social situations challenging, and aspect of their personality may change. They may become unpredictable, lose empathy and even see and hear things that others do not.
Planning and organising may become difficult, which makes maintaining independence a problem. People with dementia usually need help from friends or relatives, including help with decision-making.
Though there is no cure for this condition, an early diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support. so it is important to speak to your GP. As a carer, getting the correct diagnosis for your loved one can also help you to prepare for the future journey and access the resources you will need.
Looking after somebody with dementia can be draining physically, emotionally and even demanding financially. Husbands, partners and wives have to come to terms with the irreversible and upsetting changes in their relationships, coupled with the gradual loss of the loved one they once knew.
There is also the fact that looking after someone can be very lonely. Being cut off from former social circles can bring feelings of isolation. Joining your local dementia care community can help to combat these feelings by introducing you to other people in a similar situation, as well as experts who are training to help and support you in your role of looking after a loved one.
How can WRAP help
We run a number of reminiscence workshops and dementia training courses aimed at helping carers of people living with dementia. We also offer a Carers Information Support Programme ‘Looking after a loved one living with dementia’.
Browse our website for the different programmes and support that WRAP offers, as well as our Cafe WRAP and accredited Training for NHS, Care Homes and Specialists.
Useful links and information
In the UK there’s a service called Join Dementia Research which matches volunteers (people with and people without dementia) with studies that are taking place, to study Dementia that is mainly inherited. The program is called Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network and the website https://www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk/
A recent conference organised by the Kings Fund included a guest speaker Frank Arrojo, who spoke about his role of carer for his mum. Watch the video here: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/audio-video/frank-arrojo-caring-loved-one-dementia