Table of Contents
- 1) Alzheimer’s disease.
- 2) Support Adults with Dementia Receive From Mental Health Services.
- 3) Support Adults with Dementia Receive From Private Organizations.
- 4 ) Support Adults with Dementia Receive From Voluntary Sector
- 5) Treatment And Care In The Recovery Of People With Dementia.
- 6) Qualitative and Quantitative Studies of Adults with Dementia in The UK.
According to Alzheimer’s Society, 2013 about half a million people live with dementia in the UK, for many of them they have not had the opportunity of having a quality life with communities starting to make changes to try and make a difference. Alzheimer’s society in collaboration with the government has been on the forefront in designing and establishing dementia-friendly communities through necessary supports and services. This report aims at guiding regions that look forward to becoming dementia friendly and further guidance to areas that are already committed to becoming dementia-friendly. It also investigates new and existing evidence from people with dementia by giving an example of a project that has made a difference for people with dementia; this information is form areas of focus for regions working to become dementia friendly. The views of family and adults with dementia form the backbone of this work and it gives relevant insight to the government agencies, social care sector, private sector and volunteer sector.
Dementia refers to a loss of mental ability lasting more than six months, and not usually present during birth; it is associated with alteration or loss of consciousness that is severe enough to affect the normal daily activities. It is usually caused by degeneration of the cerebral cortex which is responsible for memories, personality, actions and thoughts, the death of cells in this region of the brain results to cognitive impairment which is characterized by dementia. It is marked by the gradual impoverishment of mental activities, some of the key symptoms include memory loss which is the first symptom noticed, which begins by losing valuables such as keys and wallet, which then progresses to forgetting appointments. Substantive omissions begin to manifest such as forgetting the route to work or home, or forgetting where the car was parked, finally more profound loses such as forgetting the faces and names of family members. Dementia is also characterized by impaired planning and obstruction, where the patient cannot perform familiar tasks, activities or plan and cannot draw simple conclusions from facts. It is also associated with language and comprehension disturbances, making patients unable to understand instructions from complex sentences. There is impaired orientation ability, and one may not recognize common locations that are familiar, and there are behavioral changes that make one lose interest in things he considered pleasurable and becomes depressed. (Kovach, Noonan, Schlidt & Wells, 2005). In this paper, we are going to focus more on critically evaluating the support services patients who have Alzheimer’s disease receive from mental health services as well as private organizations and voluntary sector.
1) Alzheimer’s disease
There are different types of dementia that include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, mixed dementia, Normal pressure hydrocephalus, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease which is the most common type of dementia. (Jay, Ho, & Halperin, 2016,)Alzheimer’s disease is considered as the most common type of dementia with 65- 85% of the reported cases relating to dementia being caused by this particular disease, that is, according to the findings of Alzheimer’s Association.
Signs of this disease include: forgetting recent events and plans, depressed mood and depression, though depression is not part of Alzheimer’s disease and is considered as a specific disorder that should be treated separately. Often depressed older people are misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease. Older adults are more likely to develop this disease with 5% of the cases are early onset Alzheimer’s occurring to people within the age bracket of 40-50 years. (Storandt & Morris, 2010)There is no known particular test that can confirm the Alzheimer’s disease, however, to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from other dementia that causes loss of memory the doctor has to perform neurological and physical tests such as body coordination and balance, muscle strength, sight and hearing abilities and reflexes. Brain-imaging technologies are also used in this situation; magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography (CT) scans are used in the assessment of a possibility of shrinkage of brain regions, strokes, head injury or tumors.
In special circumstances where there is rapidly progressive dementia, the spinal fluid is used to check for the biomarkers indicating the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment of this condition is based on the medical history, age and overall health of the patients. Medicine or therapy is picked based on the one that will work for the patient and fits his lifestyle and is preferred by caregivers or family (Morin, 2011).
The diagnosis of dementia often comes as a shock; most patients tend to worry a lot leading to the development of stress. As a result, there is always the need to support these individuals suffering from dementia through mental health services, private organizations or the volunteer sector to facilitate their recovery process. Mental health services that support individuals with dementia include assessing these patients for their needs; this is how a person suffering from dementia and their caregiver gets support and help from the local authority’s social services.
This assessment is done to determine the type of support you need regarding care services at home, healthcare, and equipment. Cognitive Development and Memory services ( CDAMS), is a type of healthcare support Service that helps patients with memory loss or a variation in their thinking capacity, they can provide information on appropriate treatment and link adults with dementia and their careers to other services and community support ( Starr, Russ, & McGrory, 2012). Dementia Behavioural Management Advisory Services (DBMAS) which supports patients with dementia in the event their behaviour is impacting on their care, they assess the person and help in care planning and short-term case management.
Professional health practitioners also play a key role in supporting those suffering from dementia, professionals such as opticians provide patients suffering from dementia with contact lenses or glasses to aid them to see better; poor sight may be a contributing factor to confusion for a person diagnosed with dementia. Podiatrists who have specialized in the care of feet, provide support by maintaining a person’s mobility since some types of dementia have an impact on balance and stability (Woerner & Casper, 1987) . Audiologists who have specialized on hearing problems can provide their support by fitting a hearing aid if appropriate since it is vital for people diagnosed with dementia to have a high level of hearing to avoid confusions or misunderstandings.
Private organizations have also played a part in society in supporting people with dementia in a non-medical way. An example is the development of the national dementia helpline; this helpline is equipped with a team of experienced and trained professionals who help and care for people with dementia help anyone concerned about memory loss. The private sector also provides occupational therapists who are able advice on ways to adapt to a home or any equipment, so that people with dementia can maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) is a private organization made up of people who can act or speak on your behalf if you have no friend or family available for consultation. They support people with dementia especially when they can no longer make their own decisions; they make decisions on serious matters such as the care needs of the patients, medical treatment or moving from one care home to another. (Woods, Wills, Higginson, Hobbins, & Whitby, 2003)Private organizations due provide speech and language therapist to dementia patients who have difficulties in communication; they offer specialist exercises and training that are aimed at improving communication skills and advice on relevant communication aids.
They are also known for helping patients with swallowing problems that may lead to effects on the person’s diet There is the adult safeguarding team, which is responsible for protecting vulnerable adults such as those suffering from dementia, it is always made up of police officers, doctors, nurses, social officers and housing officers. There are the continence advisors who are professionals from the private sector with a background in nursing they are responsible for managing and caring of continence issues as well as medical advice, and their services are empathetic and confidential.( Thomas & Milligan, 2017)
Voluntary sectors support people with dementia through charities that offer support and advice; the leading charity organization is the Alzheimer’s society. It is a site on the internet that contains vital information relating to dementia cases and Alzheimer’s disease; it includes various ways to live with the disease and how to handle problems relating to dementia. Dementia UK is a charity group that supports adults with dementia which offers advice to the families living with dementia through registered Admiral Nurses who are experts in dementia cases.
Volunteers also provide support through the use social media to sensitize the public on how to handle dementia cases; these platforms are great in sharing experiences and training on caring for dementia cases, if there is a specific one may be struggling with then there are chances someone else may have the same experience. Dementia books on prescription are written by volunteers with the aim of supporting the relatives and families of people diagnosed with dementia, health professionals, and general practitioners can recommend titles to be read from the common books on dementia. Service is supporting people with dementia living at home, is facilitated by volunteers through the home and community care program by helping them in daily living activities such as cleaning and household chores. (Wright,2011).
There is the formation of formal and informal support groups formed by volunteers, that serves as a network for people dementia making them feel reassured by catching with others and sharing similar experiences. It brings together carers, partners, and friends together sometimes in the presence of a group facilitator. Respite care and short-term stays are methods used by volunteers to physically or emotionally connect with the persons with dementia; it involves taking a break for a day or a weekend to go and visit dementia patients in hospitals or care homes. (Brodaty & Donkin, 2007)
Currently, dementia has no known cure especially caused by Alzheimer’s disease, when one starts to show signs such as memory loss, there is no treatment that can reverse the situation. However, there are drugs that are known to ease these symptoms in some people; these drugs control the rate of a chemical breakdown in the brain known as acetylcholine that is important for learning and memory (Glasziou, 2007).. The drugs slow down the rate at which the symptoms get worse, with their effects lasting for about 6 to 12 months, common side effects of this drugs include; loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The drugs that are commonly used are galantamine (Razadyne) used in both mild and moderate Alzheimer’s, rivastigmine (Exelon) also for people who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s and donepezil (Aricept) which is used in all stages of Alzheimer disease ( Dunn, Prof. Judith Frances,2007) . Recovery and support do not basically imply cure; it involves personal strengths and determinations put in place by the concerned individuals to achieve an optimum quality life, and have satisfaction with life during this condition. Recovery is based on the development of coping skills and social supports that are meant to make people have the quality life of making choices and independence in enduring and disabling conditions. ( Kowall, 2011).
Generally, mental health services for adults always aims at promoting good health, enabling access to advise and treatment by mental health services and early recognition and management of mental health-related cases. The emphasis is always to promote the independence of these adults with the mental problem by supporting them in their career and social community where possible in a practical way.
This report contains the findings summarised by Alzheimer’s society which involved over 500 dementia respondents and polls of over 2200 UK adults. Less than half (42%) of the respondents living with dementia thought that their communities were still gearing up to help them achieve a better life, while less than a half (47%) feel they have been incorporated into the community ( Fisher, Edwards, Parn, & Aigbavboa, 2018) . People from communities that are seldom heard had different views around feeling like part of the community, with stigma being highlighted as the major contributing factor (Benbow & Jolley, 2012), with 59% of people feeling that their inclusion into the community is still fairly low.
Three quarters (73%) of adults in the UK feel that the society is not yet ready to deal with people with dementia. A good number of people with dementia still cannot perform activities that they used to do before the development of the condition, people with dementia that go out once a week form 35%, while once a month form 10%. ( Woods, Wills, Higginson, Hobbins & Whitby, 2003). 9% of them had to completely stop the activities they used to do, with shopping being the most common activity they do (79%), then socializing (72%), eating (69%) and leisure activities (55%). 63% of people with dementia are willing to try new things due to lack of confidence and fear since the communities are not dementia friendly.35% of the people with dementia would like more support and care services especially to enable them to participate in the community and to attend to activities they used to. 14% wanted better transport with 10% requesting for improvement of health-related services.
Since a good percentage of people with dementia still feel their needs have not been met, it is advisable to challenge the issue of stigma and build an understanding among people with dementia. Provision of accessible community activities that can accommodate people with dementia, ensure early diagnosis of this condition to improve on health services and providing a consistent and reliable travel option that will be respectful of their needs. We can also acknowledge potential, by making people with dementia aware of the positive contributions they can make to society, and provide responsive businesses and services by helping people with dementia utilize their businesses. (Ward-Griffin, 2012).
The point for creating a dementia-friendly community is to empower the people living with this condition to live well and to exercise choice and independence in their lives. The most important thing is to ensure that people understand the impact that dementia has on people and relationships regarding confidence that can affect a person’s daily tasks and activities (Adams, 2009). .
This does not only affect the person’s quality of life, but also has effects on loved ones and carers. A community that dementia-friendly is expected to create awareness that dementia is a regular disease that can affect many lives and the solution is community-based, awareness is expected to support better diagnosis techniques and development of a joint workforce by social care workers and health workers. This dementia-friendly community is where both people with dementia and their families are assisted in reducing stress and fatigue, to reduce the rate at which they are hospitalized and to prolong their stay at home ( Tilly & Gordon, 2016)..
As for economic-cost benefits, dementia friendly communities has shown economic benefits specifically within social and health care, by supporting these individuals to live safely and independently in their own homes has facilitated less time being needed in the construction of care facilities and residential homes (Kirch, Marquardt & Bueter, 2018). Villages, towns, and cities across the country have seen the need to become dementia friendly, they have recognized the need to change and act to better the lives of the people living with dementia. Communities in places such as Newcastle, Norwich, Plymouth, and Preston have started showing determinations in transforming the lives of people living with dementia.
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