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What is dementia?

• An umbrella term to describe symptoms caused by 100 different progressive diseases. The most common types of Dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Fronto-temporal Dementias..

  • Common to all are changes in communication, difficulties processing information and a reduced ability to carry out activities of daily living.
  • It is not a normal part of ageing and can affect people of any age.

Challenges for a person living with dementia

  • Disorientation in new places.
  • Communication difficulties.
  • Unrecognised pain.
  • Physical deterioration.
  • Distress and fear.

Supporting someone with dementia

  • Be person-centred, get to know the person and find out what matters to them.
  • Ensure you know how the person communicates.
  • Work in partnership with family and carers.
  • Always orientate the person to where they are.
  • Regularly assess pain using a dementia pain tool (eg, Bolton Pain Assessment/PAINAD).
  • Support physical needs and encourage independence.
  • Remember, most distressed behaviour is caused by unmet needs - look for the reason if a person is distressed.