Harrogate Home Care Team Encourages Dementia Awareness at Christmas

Wednesday, 19th December 2012

Published 19 December 2012.

Early diagnosis of dementia is crucial in ensuring that people are able to get the specialist dementia care and support they need to maintain independence and enjoy the highest quality of life possible. Being aware of the early signs and symptoms of dementia is particularly important at Christmas as it can be the first time families get together in months and therefore the time we notice differences in the behavior and memory of relatives.

Symptoms of dementia that we can all look out for over Christmas include:

  • memory loss, such as remembering past events more easily than recent ones
  • difficulties thinking or reasoning, or struggling to follow conversations or TV programmes
  • being anxious, depressed or angry about memory loss, or feeling confused, even in familiar environments

If you do have concerns about the memory of a relative you should contact your GP as soon as possible. It may be that the problems are caused by a condition other than dementia, but whatever the case this should be ruled out as early as possible. When diagnosing dementia a GP may refer to a specialist consultant and assessments can include conversations, memory tests (such as a Mini Mental State Examination), physical tests and sometimes brain scans.

If a diagnosis of dementia is made, it can come as a shock and is often a worrying and upsetting time. However, there is much that can be done to ensure that life continues to be easy and enjoyable. Thoughts and plans should be discussed with those closest to you and health and social care professionals should be consulted where appropriate (e.g. your GP, a hospital mental health team, aprofessional home care team, a specialist care home). Although certain activities may become harder as the condition develops, professional support such as care at home or live in care can be obtained to ensure that you are able to retain as much independence in the community as possible.

In terms of coping with dementia at Christmas, a recent campaign has been launched by the Department of Health and the dementia care charity Alzheimer’s Society called ‘Christmas to Remember’. It aims to raise awareness of dementia and encourage people to take action if they have concerns. As part of the campaign Oscar nominated actress Carey Mulligan, an ambassador for the dementia care charity, is encouraging people to share their Christmas memories on the Christmas to Remember blog and people can join the campaign on Twitter using #xmas2remember.

The Alzheimer’s Society has also published a list of top tips for Christmas if you’re planning on spending it with somebody who has dementia. These include things such as planning ahead with labels on doors, thinking about safety and security, involving people in activities such as looking at photos or singing carols and avoiding the person with dementia feeling self-conscious or the centre of attention at dinner.

More about the Christmas to Remember campaign is available on Tumblr: http://xmas-to-remember.tumblr.com/. Top tips for Christmas can also be found on the Alzheimer’s Society website.

Source: Carefound, NHS Choices, Alzheimer’s Society.

About Carefound:

Carefound is a provider of specialist home care and dementia care services to elderly people in North Yorkshire, enabling clients to continue to live independently in the comfort of their own home whilst maintaining the highest quality of life achievable. Services provided include basic help in the home,companionship, personal care, medication help, post-operative rehabilitation, respite care and specialist help such as dementia care and palliative care. The flexible service ranges from 1 hour to 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, including bank holidays, and can also encompass 24-hour live in care services.

Tel: 01423 774070 | Web: www.carefound.co.uk | Email: enquiries@carefound.co.uk