With the general population living longer, it’s predicted that by 2040 there will be 1.6 million people living with dementia in the UK. Around 85% of those are based in England, almost 6x higher than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. It is highly likely that you will know someone with the disease within your lifetime.
Caring for someone with dementia is no easy task. Before you can become a caregiver for someone with dementia, you must first understand the condition and how the disease progresses. That’s why we have created a comprehensive guide looking at the different types dementia, the symptoms experienced and how to manage them.
Not everyone is aware that there are different types of dementia, but there are many. The most common is Alzheimer’s disease, which is known by many. You can also have Lewy body dementia (protein lumps on the brain) or mixed dementia.
The two types we would like to focus on are frontotemporal and vascular dementia. The reason for this is that they are both very different from each other. They are unlike Alzheimer’s and have a unique set of symptoms.
There are many symptoms of dementia, which differ slightly from person to person. It also depends on how far along they are with the disease and the type of dementia they have. Below is a breakdown of symptoms specific to frontotemporal and vascular dementia.
In this particular form of dementia, you can expect muscle weakness and problems with movement. You can also suffer from issues with cognitive function, specific to planning and reasoning. Patients also tend to have more intense mood swings and suffer from depression.
Unlike Frontotemporal dementia, you can expect fewer mood swings and more indifference. You find it hard to express or feel emotions and have a lack of social awareness. You may be more withdrawn and have trouble understanding others and you may also become obsessive, such as overeating or hoarding.
This type of dementia is caused by protein lumps in the brain. The protein comes from the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which then builds up. It’s uncertain why this occurs, but it is partly down to genetics (1 in 8 people will get it from a relative with the same condition).
The first step in caring for someone with this type of dementia is understanding. You must understand the challenges these individuals face and how it affects their day-to-day life. Oftentimes individuals can feel as though their independence is being taken away from them, especially as it tends to affect those as young as 45.
If they are acting inappropriately, you need to ensure they are made aware of this and create measures to reduce or stop them from continuing. They may come across as selfish, but you must not take this at face value. Their hygiene may also decline, so you should ensure they wash regularly.
They may also become impulsive, which is often linked to overeating. Ensure they have access to healthy foods and moderate the amount they eat throughout the day. Loss of motivation is also common, so do make sure to get them involved in activities that are mentally stimulating (such as playing games, puzzles or reading books).
Speech can also be affected with this type of dementia, so they may speak slowly or get the wrong words or sounds. Ensure you are patient with them and also remember to give positive feedback. Let them know that it is okay and that they can take their time if they need to.
In the later stages, you can expect an increase in memory loss and declining mental ability. They may get easily distracted or struggle to make plans. Ensure you are there to support and encourage them but do not take over for them. When it comes to memory, you must use it, or you lose it.
If your loved one needs more specialist care, then why not consider live-in care services? This service allows you the freedom to live your own life, safe in the knowledge that they are being looked after by qualified professionals.
At Cavendish Homecare we can provide a range of activities, medication management, cooking, cleaning, personal care, advice, and guidance for your loved one. We offer personalised care plans that suit your needs. If you would like to learn more, or you’d like to speak with a member of the team, simply get in touch today.