What can you do to improve your health if you're living with dementia?
Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with dementia, and it is estimated that by 2025 it will affect over a million people in the UK. Dementia is not a condition, but a catch-all term for the symptoms of mental decline such as memory loss and disorientation that occur when other diseases damage the brain.
There are various types of dementia that can affect people in different ways, but there are some common symptoms that can be experienced early on, before a diagnosis is made. These include a change in mood, memory loss, finding it difficult to follow a conversation, or struggling to carry out normal daily tasks.
Although there is no cure, research has shown that there are ways you can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and to have plenty of fluids. Try and get regular exercise and enough sleep. If you experience depression or anxiety, you may be prescribed antidepressant drugs or offered a talking therapy such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
In some parts of the UK, it is possible to seek assistance from ‘Admiral Nurses’. These are specialist nurses who can provide expert clinical and emotional support. Aside from this, there are many other charities and support groups who offer local services.
There are different organisations around the UK who use music to help those with dementia. There is evidence that hearing melodies from your younger years can trigger memories and reduce anxiety and agitation. It can also maintain - and even help recover - speech and language skills. It allows people to connect with others again through shared memories.