Living with dementia is difficult, both for the sufferer and their family members. The brain disease causes a long-term, gradual decrease in cognitive ability, including being able to remember and think. The decrease is often great enough to damage and affect how the person can function on a daily basis. A lot of patients who suffer with dementia need some form of care, whether it is specialist dementia care or more general live in care or Home Care visits. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s diseases, which causes disorientation, mood swings, problems with language, poor self-care, speech problems and behavioural issues. It is very important that people who are suffering receive proper health care, as they will start to retreat from society.
Whilst visits from a Home Care specialist, or having a live in care attendant, are incredibly valuable when it comes to supporting patients, it is also important to get them out into the surrounding area. Interacting with other people, as well as visiting places that they liked to go to before they began to suffer with the disease, such as parks, pubs or certain shops, are key to keeping a sufferer’s brain active.
However, being in these places can often be intimidating to a dementia sufferer, as they may struggle to fully understand people and events around them. Dementia-friendly communities are popping up around the world, and are a city, town or village where people with dementia are supported, respected and understood.
They are incredibly important because they are key to helping people with dementia remain present in their communities, as well as keeping their minds active in a non-home environment. This is a large part of dementia care. A lot of people affected by dementia feel that society doesn’t understand their condition, which leads to people not knowing how to interact with them, which in turn makes the sufferers feel isolated and lonely. However, dementia-friendly communities will help to support them and offer them an active and valuable role in the local area and populace.
Everyone can do their bit to make their community dementia-friendly. Local shops can turn down loud music, have someone offer to assist the person around the shop and make friendly conversation with the person. Clubs or groups like book clubs, knitting groups, bowls teams and more, can all open their arms to someone with dementia, and treat them in an understanding and respectful way.
Communities should rally around anyone who is having difficulties, and make sure to support and help them as best they can, especially when not doing so can exacerbate the issues and leave the person feeling alone. Live in care and home care can only do so much. Carers can offer personal care, cooking and some companionship, but stimulating the mind of someone with dementia is very underestimated in value. Dementia-friendly communities do this in a supportive and caring way, which is why more people need to bring this initiative to their local area. Dementia care needs to be brought to the spotlight, as it can be debilitating and affect almost anyone.