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Advice on living with dementia

Living with Dementia

A diagnosis of dementia can come as a body blow, but there are plenty of things you can do to lessen the chances of symptoms fully developing. Here is how MemoryClinix can help…

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What dementia treatments are available?

Sadly, there is no cure for dementia, but medication is available that can slow down the progression of dementia symptoms. However, research published in 2017 in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders showed that comprehensive, personalised interventions can be approximately 10 times more effective than medication alone. For this reason, we develop personal care plans tailored to our patients’ needs to help mitigate the effects of dementia. Our plans focus on both medication and psychosocial interventions that can make managing dementia easier.

What is dementia?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises dementia as a public health priority.

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50 million

people worldwide have dementia

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42,000 people

are living with young-onset dementia

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Alzheimer’s disease

is the most common form of dementia

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Vascular dementia

is the second most common type of dementia

MemoryClinix - Woman caring for older man with dementia

Worldwide around 50 million people have dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year (WHO Dementia Factsheet).

Dementia has become a major health concern among the elderly, with prevalence rates estimated at 7.1% in those aged over 65, according to the British Journal of Psychiatry. 

Dementia is a group of related symptoms characterised by a progressive decline of brain function with age. It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, problem-solving, motivation, mood, sleep, personality and behaviour. 

There are different types of dementia and a correct diagnosis helps both families and professionals to provide the right care and support. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which accounts for about 60-70% of the cases. Vascular dementia is the second most common type and is caused by a reduced blood flow to the brain. Sufferers with both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia have what is known as mixed dementia.

The risk of dementia increases with age, but there are people who develop symptoms before the age of 65, which is known as young-onset dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 42,000 people in the UK living with young-onset dementia.

MemoryClinix - Woman caring for older man with dementia

The importance of an early diagnosis

Early diagnosis of dementia offers a range of benefits, including:

  • a better chance of benefiting from available treatment
  • prioritising your health needs
  • reducing anxiety about your symptoms
  • maximising time with your family
  • early access to appropriate resources and support
  • more time to plan for the future, including legal and financial matters and your care preferences

According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, there is also strong evidence that an early diagnosis can help someone with dementia to continue to live independently for longer.

With MemoryClinix there is no waiting list, our qualified professionals can help you get an early diagnosis.

woman having a doctors appointment online
Doctor looking at medical results for MCI and Dementia, with patient
Man having dementia assesment by doctor

How to diagnose dementia?

Our multidisciplinary team at Psychiatry-UK is able to offer expert assessment and support for people dealing with MCI or dementia.

An assessment with a dementia specialist will involve a discussion of your symptoms and how they have affected your day-to-day life.

The psychiatrist will perform a mental state examination (MSE) to assess your symptoms objectively including specific tests to gauge your ability to think clearly or to remember things.

Further investigations may also be necessary, such as blood tests (e.g. to check for any vitamin B12 or thyroid deficiencies) and sometimes a brain scan. A scan is important not only for supporting a diagnosis of dementia, but also for revealing other medical conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms.

Our specialist will then discuss these findings with you.

The diagnosis of MCI or dementia is based on:

  • the psychiatric interview
  • the evaluation of your ability to function independently on a daily basis
  • the collateral history provided by your GP and/or your next of kin
  • results from the memory tests
  • result from a head scan

Planning for the future

Living with dementia has a serious impact on your life, so it is vital that you plan for the future with your loved ones.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Lasting power of attorney (LPA): a legal document allowing you to nominate a loved one to act on your behalf. There are two types of LPA: property and health and welfare.
  • Adaptations: to maintain an independent life at home, you may need to install equipment to aid your movement and day-to-day life.
  • Care costs: paying for care can be very expensive and can be a burden for your loved ones. Ask your family to get as much information and support as possible, so you can make informed decisions when the time comes.
  • Transport: having dementia does not mean you must stop driving immediately, but you need to understand that your symptoms will affect your driving ability. Identify alternative transport options such as taxis, public transport and community minibuses.

Our team can offer advice on these issues when formulating your personal care plan and support packages.

Man helping older man in wheelchair who has dementia symptoms
Mother and daughter supporting each other
Older woman on laptop looking happy
Man and woman feeling relieved with online help

Support services

Whether you are a sufferer or know someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, we offer a range of virtual support services, including:

  • Pharmaceutical intervention: antidementia medication can slow down the progression of cognitive symptoms of dementia. Our experts may also recommend other psychotropic drugs to counter the non-cognitive symptoms of dementia such as depression, anxiety, apathy, poor motivation, agitation, challenging behaviour, irritability, wandering or sleep disturbance.
  • Occupational therapy: our occupational therapist will conduct an assessment to identify any emotional, behavioural and cognitive needs and how they impact on your daily functioning. A course of six to eight sessions could also be offered to explore methods to support a person to manage everyday life skills such as personal care, shopping, cooking, and budgeting. Our occupational therapist can provide practical solutions to assist people succeed and feel more empowered. 
  • Virtual cognitive stimulation therapy (vCST)*: 14 sessions covering themed activities designed to improve the mental abilities and memory of people with mild to moderate dementia, carried out over seven or 14 weeks in small groups of four persons with dementia and two facilitators.
  • Virtual carers support groups (vCSG)*: four coaching sessions per month for carers to help them learn what dementia is and how to communicate effectively with a person with dementia. To prevent caregiver burnout, we will also provide self-care sessions for family carers. 
  • Talking therapy*: can be useful in discussing ways to express what the patient and/or family carer feel(s) and how to work through those emotions.

    Based on your support services, we will formulate a person-centred care plan adapted to your personal needs, history and habits.

    * The vCST, vCSG sessions and talking therapy are facilitated by our collaborators from  Memory Matters to whom we will refer our patients and family carers following an initial assessment and diagnosis.

      About MemoryClinix

      We combine mental health expertise, recent medical research data and latest video conferencing technology to offer a comprehensive memory loss and dementia prevention support service.