Dementia Friends

This month the team have been becoming dementia friends and learning about how dementia can affect people around us. Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain. The most common is Alzheimer’s but other diseases also include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and Pick’s disease. Different types of dementia affect the brain at different rates and in different ways, but other things like someone’s personal circumstances, the people around them and the environment in which they live, will affect their experience of dementia. Dementia progresses in a way that is unique to each individual.

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life It is true that more people over 65 have dementia but it is not exclusively an older person’s disease; younger people get dementia too. If someone you know is becoming increasingly forgetful, encourage them to see their GP to talk about the early signs of dementia. There are other reasons someone might be experiencing memory loss, however, if dementia is detected early, in some cases its progress can be slowed, and the person affected may be able to maintain their mental function for longer. Be aware of the signs of dementia

Although dementia isn’t just about memory loss, it’s one of the key symptoms.

Others include:

  • increasing difficulty with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
  • changes in personality and mood
  • periods of mental confusion
  • difficulty finding the right words or not being able to understand conversations as easily

You may like to suggest that you accompany your friend or relative to the GP so you can support them. This also means that after the appointment, you can help your friend or relative recall what has been discussed. It is important that you inform the Dentist if you have been diagnosed with dementia, there are several ways we can help ensure that you always receive the right care and that you choose who you wish us to share any information with. Its also important to inform us of medications you are taking which can cause side effects in the mouth. You might be a carer for someone with dementia and play a vital role in supporting someone and be the best placed person to give the dentist and hygienist information on medication, pain history and oral hygiene routines. There may come a time when a person with dementia is unable to voice that they are experiencing pain or discomfort from their mouth or teeth.

There are however several behavioural changes that may indicate that someone with dementia is experiencing dental problems. These include:

  • Refusal to eat or drink (particularly hard or cold foods)
  • Frequent pulling at the face or mouth
  • Leaving previously worn dentures out of their mouth
  • Increased restlessness, moaning or shouting
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Refusal to take part in daily activities
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Dribbling saliva, redness and or swelling

Focus for dental treatment should be on prevention and a prescription of a high fluoride toothpaste from the Dentist can be beneficial and regular hygienist appointments. We will keep treatment simple and low maintenance and we can help teach carers how to assist in oral hygiene procedures.

One of our regular patients to the practice has been sharing his knowledge and expertise in dementia with the team recently. Steve Michael leads Senior Home Solutions with over 20 years of experience in the construction business. In 2016 Steve turned his attention to a very specific and underserved demographic, people living with dementia and other age-related challenges. “An increasing number of my clients were people who wanted to adapt their homes to suit their changing needs, but felt limited by the choices available to them.” As Senior Home Solutions has evolved, Steve has immersed himself in latest research into the challenges of dementia, learning from the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, and the Open University he has sought out the most innovative suppliers of products aimed at improving the homes of people facing life altering challenges.

 

Senior Home Solutions consider the recommendations of Occupational Therapists and other support agencies a person may have in place. They re-model and install bathrooms to meet our clients current and future requirements featuring mobility equipment designed to British Standard Specifications. They are a ‘Dementia Friendly’ company, certified by the ‘I Am Care Aware’ organisation and regularly seek advice from the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester. Steve has recently been giving the team advice on how we can adapt the Centre to help our patients with dementia. You too can become a dementia friend by visiting https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/register-digital-friend

If you would like more information on the work that Steve does you can view their Facebook page or visit their website

For more information on dementia you can call the National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 11 22

Testimonials

“After feeling very anxious prior to my appointment, I left CESRC feeling much happier and in very safe and competent hands. Every member of the team that I came into contact with were kind, reassuring and helpful. The experience of the team was obvious from the word go and I would highly recommend this practice! Thank you!”

E. Richards

“Another great CPD evening on occlusion last week. Keep up with the study club programme as it is a great opportunity for us GDPs to stay up to date and meet other colleagues in the profession.”

O. Hinton

“Excellent, knowledgeable team.”

C. Bradley

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