This week is Dementia Awareness Week
Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer, but not many people fully understand it
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia
A person with dementia will have cognitive symptoms (to do with thinking or memory). They will often have problems with some of the following:
- day-to-day memory – for example, difficulty recalling events that happened recently
- concentrating, planning or organising – for example, difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (such as cooking a meal)
- language – for example, difficulties following a conversation or finding the right word for something
- visuospatial skills – for example, problems judging distances (such as on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions
- orientation – for example, losing track of the day or date, or becoming confused about where they are.
A person with dementia will also often have changes in their mood. For example, they may become frustrated or irritable, apathetic or withdrawn, anxious, easily upset or unusually sad. With some types of dementia, the person may see things that are not really there (visual hallucinations) or strongly believe things that are not true (delusions).
There is no cure for dementia!
Dementia Awareness Week is important for me for 2 reasons; firstly my Gran has been diagnosed with dementia & is in the early stages. Her memory is getting worse & she has been having more falls. Unfortunately my Great Gran also had dementia & my grandparents are reluctant to ask for help as my Great Gran ended up needing 24hr care in a nursing home, they seem to think if they ask for help that means my Gran will go into a home. This is NOT the case. Secondly I work with people who have Dementia so in my work life this is a really important week
I want Mini M to grow up understanding what is going on around him
He comes to my work to collect me most days with Mr M & sees the people I work with. I want him to understand why they are the way they are. I also want him to grow up understanding why his Great Gran behaves & does things the way she does, and what we can do to support her
Active Minds contacted me to ask if I would like a Forget me Not kit, they cover a variety of activity products for people with dementia
The kit contained a flower pot to plant some seeds as well as glitter glue, paints & stick on flowers to decorate the pot & watering can. There were also instructions & prompt cards with different topics to discuss
Mini M loves arts & crafts so I knew this was something he would be really interested in
As we decorated the pot I talked about my Gran & my work
Once we finished we left everything to dry overnight
I carried on talking to Mini M about dementia. Obviously he is only 3 so he wouldn’t fully understand everything I was walking about but I tried to keep it simple & it is something we will keep talking about
The next day we planted our seeds
Mini M loved doing this too
The pot will be a constant reminder & hopefully a prompt for us to talk about dementia. I hope we can continue this every year as I think it’s a great way to get Mini M involved & hopefully interested in learning about dementia
Now we just have to wait for our seeds to grow!by