Dementia Friends

How do we do it?

Dementia Friends

In July 2015, all the practice staff underwent training in Dementia awareness.

In July 2015, all the practice staff underwent training in Dementia awareness. This was provided by Denplan’s in Practice training with the aim of letting all the staff know what Dementia is, how it may affect our patients and their ability in getting treatment. It made us aware of what problems we may encounter and why, and what we can do to help. At the end of the session, we had a photo taken to show we are ‘Dementia friends’ to display on our website, and to show patients and the public that we have a greater understanding of our patients needs. To this end, I have included the highlights of what we have learnt, to reach a wider audience and hopefully help other people have an understanding of this condition.

Alzheimer’s Society – May 2015

  • There are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK
  • This figure is set to rise to over a million by 2025
  • Over 42,000 people in the UK are living with young onset dementia (Aged 30 to 65 years old)
  • Dementia affects…
    • 1 in 50 people aged 65 –69
    • 1 in 5 people aged 80+

Dementia is the umbrella term for a number of forms of brain diseases , there are 4 main types.

  • Alzheimer’s disease – the most common affecting half a million people in the UK. Caused by two proteins, amyloidand tau, which build up and damage nerve cells
  • Vascular dementia – the second most common -is caused by blood flow to the brain being reduced. Blood carries essential oxygen and nourishment to the brain and without it brain cells die
  • Dementia with Lewybodies (DLB) – small, round lumps of proteins build up in the grey matter
  • Frontotemporaldementia (FTD) – The brain shrinks in the frontal and temporal lobes. There is also a build-up of specific proteins which cause brain cells to die

Typical signs of Alzheimer’s Disease include...

  • Regularly forgetting recent events, names and faces; regularly misplacing items or putting them in odd places
  • Confusion about the time of day; disorientation, especially away from normal surroundings and getting lost
  • Problems finding the right words; mood or behaviour problems such as apathy,irritability, or losing confidence
  • Memory and decision making worsens; communication and language becomes more difficult
  • May become sad or depressed; anxieties/ phobias are quite common and may experience hallucinations, where they may see things or people that aren’t there
  • Problems with sleeping and restlessness at night often occur
  • Anger or agitation become more common
  • People may become increasingly unsteady on their feet and fall more often
  • Gradually require more help with daily activities like dressing, toileting and eating

The other forms of Dementia, vary in individual symptoms and intensity and rate of progression but are otherwise reasonably similar.It is not our intention to give in depth knowledge on these conditions but a broader, general sweep.

The five key things you should know about dementia

  • It’s not a natural part of ageing
  • It’s caused by diseases in the brain. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s
  • It’s not just about losing your memory –it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks
  • It’s possible to live well with dementia
  • There’s more to a person than the dementia

Patients with dementia and their oral health – what are the difficulties?

  • Manual dexterity may decrease
  • Less able to understand that their teeth need to be kept clean
  • They may not feel pain so the following goes unnoticed
    • Lumps and ulcers (possible signs of mouth cancer)
    • Poor fitting dentures which harm the mouth
    • Decay at the necks of teeth
  • They may be unable to express that they are in pain
There are three links below. The first is a link to the Alzheimers society website where it gives far more in depth information on Dementia, dental treatment and oral health

This second link is for a you tube clip called ‘Barbara at the dentist’ . It is well worth watching and is a very moving clip about Barbara, a dementia sufferer, and how a routine visit to the dentist is anything but routine for her, and all the problems she faces that most of us are totally unaware of.

The final website is for the British Society for Disability and Oral Health and is intended for patients and carers, to provide information and for support.

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