Did you know around 800,000 people living in the UK have dementia? It is estimated that by 2021, 1 million people living in the UK will have the disease.
This week is Dementia Awareness Week which aims to raise awareness of the disease and encourage people to think and talk about dementia.
Dementia is a common condition and usually occurs in people over the age of 65. The disease is a progressive condition that affects the brain and can lead to sufferers losing their memory and experience mood changes. People with dementia may also find social situations challenging and lose interest in socialising.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have dementia, look out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Experiencing confusion and regularly forgetting things such as the names of people, places or recent events.
- Experiencing a range of mood swings. This could range from being scared, sad or even frustrated due to increasing memory loss.
- A loss of confidence and communication problems.
- Struggling to carry out everyday tasks.
Here at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, we are developing a dementia and delirium strategy. As part of this strategy, the Trust is looking at how services are designed around the needs of patients with dementia so they receive the care that is right for them and in the right environment.
One of the current initiatives to bring patients together in a friendly and stimulating environment is the ‘Singing for the Brain’ project. Staff on Ward 30 at Heartlands Hospital are working with the Alzheimer’s Society, to host monthly music sessions that patients and their family, friends and carers can take part in.
Gary Stanley, dementia support manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Singing is not only an enjoyable activity, it can also provide a way for people with dementia, along with their carers to express themselves and socialise with others in a fun and supportive group.”
Ryanne Musngi, senior sister for Ward 30 at Heartlands, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Alzheimer’s Society to host the Singing for the Brain sessions at Heartlands Hospital. Boredom and frustration are probably the most common causes of challenging behaviour in people with dementia, particularly if they are in an unfamiliar environment. By providing these sessions in a relaxed friendly environment, we have already noticed some improvements in our patients, moods are settled which results in less fear and confusion.”
For more information about dementia, visit: www.alzheimers.org.uk.
Dementia Awareness Week takes place between 17-23 May. You can also join in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #DAW2015.