I went along to the seminar run by the Dementia Services Development Centre last week to try and get more of a handle on the condition. As you’d expect, the majority of those attending were there to pick up some information in respect of an elderly relative though there were also a handful of care organisations represented as well.
Quite a lot of the morning sessions were on the various strategies that the organisation are involved in and the things that are starting to come to fruition of those. Not really of immediate benefit to most of those there but it’s nice to see that there is work going on behind the scenes.
The rest of the sessions were much better targeted at the audience starting with a good session on the behaviours that one could expect and some strategies to overcome some of the more troublesome ones. I’d not realised that having a diagnosis of vascular dementia is quite a different thing from altzheimer’s and that the development pathway is substantially different so that’s useful to know. De-cluttering is often suggested but the explanation that it’s down to the person being unable to cope with the complexity is rarely given. Having said that, some people can’t cope with the de-cluttering and prefer a bit of chaos so it’s important to take account of the person with the dementia.
Depression is a problem on two fronts. For one, dementia can be mistaken for depression but equally if you’ve got dementia you’re more likely to have depression too. Not really an easy thing to address but things like reminiscence and memory books can help.
They went into aggression quite a bit as it can be a particular problem. Ways of coping with it are to try and avoid it in the first place by noting triggers, having a calm environment and keeping to a routine. Related to that is the issue of communication which can be a trigger and it’s worth noting the little things like hearing aid batteries and eye sight tests which can kill communication.
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