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Dementia Research

With technology constantly evolving and our understanding of science ever improving, the research being done into dementia is continually advancing, as doctors and scientists alike work to tackle and overcome dementia once and for all. And with 2018 promising to hold a number of exciting developments into dementia research, we’ve put together some of our predictions for the year, as we explore what we can expect from dementia research within 2018.

The Eradication of Care vs. Cure

Perhaps one of the fiercest debates of dementia research, there’s historically been a reigning debate regarding funding towards both the care and cure of the disease, with people divided as to which should take precedence. However in 2018, we predict that things may start to change, with equal attention and research being given to both sectors. With the Alzheimer’s Society dedicating significant money into researching the improvement of care for all those suffering from dementia, a great step has been taken into equalising the two research points, with equal weight and attention being given to seeking the cure to dementia as well as improving the lives of those suffering.

A Decrease in Data for Dementia

With talks in place regarding the NHS and data sharing, people will soon have the choice to opt out of sharing their medical data, meaning that less statistics and information will be available on dementia within the next year.

A Shift in Dementia Research Focus

Since dementia is caused by the presence of abnormal proteins in the brain, up until now a lot of research focus has been on the two most abundant proteins found in the brain for those suffering from dementia; amyloid and tau. However researchers now think they may have a new lead into uncovering medical development for the disease. Although researchers have long since known that the immune system is affected by dementia, it has generally been considered simply a side effect of the carnal deterioration. However now they believe the immune system may actually play a significant role in activating and causing the disease, meaning that in 2018 we can expect to see a shift in research focus from cranial proteins to the immune system.

A Renewal of 'Challenge on Dementia'

An initiative that was first launched in 2012 by the government, Challenge on Dementia is a programme that focuses on researching and curing the deteriorative cranial disease. Renewed in 2015, the initiative will end in 2020, unless it is once again renewed in the coming Spring. However considering the progress and success that has been made whilst under the initiative, it is likely that Challenge on Dementia will be implemented once more in 2018, allowing funding and research to continue to excel.

The Discovery of Potential Drugs

Thanks to the medical and scientific development made throughout 2017, there is a strong likelihood that we will see an increase in the progressive nature of dementia drugs within 2018. With the Alzheimer's Society dedicating a new programme to drug discovery, a study has shown that a diabetes drug could in fact benefit sufferers of dementia. With the promise of further research being done into this new revolutionary drug, 2018 hopes to be an game changer of a year in regards to dementia research.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, reach out to one of our friendly team today and we’ll work tirelessly to provide you with all the support and care that you need.

Winter weather

With Britain currently in its coldest months right now it is important to remember those most vulnerable. Although not many people like the cold weather, this is more of a worrying time for older people and especially people who suffer from Dementia. Things that might come to us naturally such as turning up the central heating or putting on a extra layer of clothing don’t always come naturally to someone with Dementia. These are things they may forget how to do or struggle to do themselves, that’s why its is important to take steps to ensure your loved ones with Dementia are safe in the colder months.

Here at Sova Healthcare we know Dementia and with our specialist care services staff working with dementia patients, we know what the most common issues can be so we’ve put together some tips on how to stay prepared in the winter months.

Preparing the house

It is recommended getting heating systems serviced before the harsher and colder months strike. Many boiler and heating system breakdowns happen at the start of winter due to heating not being used throughout the summer, this will ensure the heating and boiler are in proper working order and minimise the risk of a breakdown. It is also advisable to get extra bedding and blankets if not already available for colder nights.

Keeping warm

Clothing

This is something someone with Dementia may need help with, as in instances they can forget how to dress themselves, remember where warmer clothes are kept or not have a sense for putting on more layers for the cold. Try helping them dress where possible, also leaving clothing in places where it is visible such as on the back of the chair or bed can be really helpful. Leaving out extra blankets and throws is also helpful. When heading outdoors it is also important that they have a good insulated coat for the winter as well as some sturdy boots with a good grip to minimise risk of falling.

Central heating

As mentioned above as well as checking that central heating is in proper working order, it is important to check which temperature the heating is at and turn this slightly higher for the winter months. During the winter older people tend to feel more colder than a normal person as their circulation declines, therefore it is important for the heating to keep them warm. It is also worth ensuring that the heating is on a timer to be on at times they are most likely to be at home, you can also get home monitoring systems that will track the temperature in the house and send an alert if it falls below a certain point.

Food and drink

Ensure there is enough food at home so that they don't have to keep making trips outside, also encourage them to make hot drinks as well as having at least one hot meal a day. This will help keep them warm as well making sure they are eating properly. If they are unable to cook for themselves try and leave some ready meals in the fridge/freezer which they can heat up.

Going outdoors

Winter shoes and coat

With icy roads and cold temperatures outside, although it is advisable for older people to go outside and not stay indoors too long. It is important to ensure they are as safe as possible through having the correct clothing such as shoes with a strong grip and a good winter coat.

Walking aids

Walking aids such as walking stick, walking frames or being accompanied when outdoors can help prevent slips and falls on icy grounds.

Alarms

Providing them with a pendant fall alarm is a good idea throughout the year if they're prone to falls, but particularly so during winter.

Snow

If there has been heavy snowfall of conditions outside are icy you loved one may need assistance with clearing up driveways or gritting so that they can safely leave the house.

As well as these important factors, it is also important that you make regular contact with the person with dementia. Whether it is through using our dementia care services, where a carer can help and assist with all their needs or with regular calls and visits from yourself. This will help keep them safe and ensure they don’t become too lonely. This way they can also share any problems they are having or if they become ill.

Can exercise help with dementia?

There has been increasing evidence that exercise reduces the chance of Alzheimer's disease by almost half, this is supported by the landmark study conducted by Cambridge University which looked at the seven lifestyle threats fuelling rising levels of dementia. The research has stated that one in three cases for the condition can be prevented if individuals increased their activity levels. Making healthier lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking can also reduce the risk of dementia as it was found that smoking increases dementia risk by 59 percent. In the study published in the Lancet Neurology, exercise is identified as the most significant factor in protection against the condition.

Why exercise and what are the benefits?

Exercise is not only beneficial for general health helping us to retain our cognitive and physical abilities as we age, it can help protect against dementia and slow down the progression of the condition. Many studies have revealed that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain, therefore it is important to keep these both as a top priority when it comes to preventing many conditions not just dementia. This is something regular exercise plays a huge part in, many of the other benefits of exercising involve:

  • Helping with sleeping and preventing restlessness
  • Reducing the risk of depression
  • Encouraging social well being. You can meet like minded people by joining exercise groups or at the gym
  • Physical fitness and wellbeing
  • Helping individuals keep in touch with nature by using the outdoors
  • Helping to promote an active lifestyle
  • Minimising the risk of some injuries as you will be physically fitter
  • Obesity in mid-life increases the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease by 60 per cent, exercising can help prevent this. (Cambridge Study in the Lancet Neurology)

What type and how much exercise?

This is dependant on the individual and factors such as fitness, age and other health issues need to be considered. Before embarking on any rigorous fitness regime it's always advisable to consult your doctor, however as a basic most studies recommend moderate exercise such as walking done frequently. In terms of moderate exercise this is recommended 4 to 5 times a week with 30 minute sessions, if you are able to then three 20 minute bursts of vigorous exercise are recommended.

You don't have to do this all at once, with the moderate sessions you can break these into 2 sessions of 15 minute walks or whatever fits your routine best. There are also many ways to achieve being active that doesn't involve taking time out of your day to go to the gym, for instance you can do fifteen minutes housework in the morning and then a short walk in the afternoon. The following day can be some gardening followed by walking around a shopping centre. Keeping a diary to keep on top of your weekly routine and fit in all your exercise will also help.

In the later stages of dementia it is advisable to encourage the person to move about from room to room and do small activities that will keep them and their brain active. Try and get them moving as often as possible as this will help maintain muscle strength, good balance and joint flexibility. If the person is at a stage where they are confined to a bed due to their illness, it would be advisable to seek advice from a physio or an occupational therapist. With the advice from a professional a plan can be put in place for gentle exercises, that can help with keeping muscles and joints healthy.

Finally

Overall leading a physically active lifestyle can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of people with dementia. Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health and may improve the quality of life for people in all stages of the condition. It is therefore important to incorporate exercise in their daily routine where possible, this will help both in the long and short term.

If you'd like to discuss Alzheimer's with a member of our team or find out more about our home care services, don't hesitate to contact us today.

Home Care Services in Leicester

Dementia affects 1 in 6 people over the age of 80, with over 850,000 people in the United Kingdom. 280,000 people with dementia live in care homes. That leaves 570,000 dementia sufferers living at home, showing the need for dementia home care services is essential to make sure their health is constantly monitored, and they are safe.

Sova Healthcare offers home care services, and one place in which we operate is in Leicester. With a population of over half a million people, home care in Leicester is important, with over 3000 cases in the city centre, with there being a population of approximately 50,000 people over the age of 60. There are a further 9000 dementia cases across Leicestershire.

Survey Shows Preference for Dementia Home Care

A recent survey of approximately 1000 home care workers of dementia sufferers in the UK found that a third reported the person with dementia as living at home with the disorder for several years. However, 83% of respondents said that being able to live at home is very important to people with dementia. Offering home care services in Leicester is something we are profoundly proud of, and at Sova we are proud of the comprehensive work we are able to offer to sufferers and their families.

Dominic Carter from the Alzheimer's Society says:

"People with dementia frequently tell us that it is important to them that they can stay at home for as long as possible. The reasons for this are varied but could include the value of feeling independent, the familiarity and routine of the home environment or worries that a new home will be confusing or daunting."

We are aware that everyone is different and has different requirements, which is why we always tailor our services to each individual. The Alzheimer's Society survey also found that 59% of respondents said that being active in the community was something that was very important to people with dementia, and that is something we encourage here at Sova Healthcare.

How We Can Support You

We know how important it is to retain as much independence as possible, as it gives you a better quality of life, as we will support you in whatever way you need, no matter what your circumstances.

We know however that cases of dementia are on the rise, with an estimated 3,700 cases expected in Leicester by 2025 for over 65s. We believe in assisting people the way they wish to be cared for. This is not always possible for everyone, so we advice getting in contact during the early stages of dementia so you can be cared for exactly how you want.

As dementia worsens, each individual will require more assistance in their day-to-day lives, and making sure everything is something that they recognise is key. The later stages require 24/7 care, and having a live in carer who you know and trust will relieve a lot of the pressure on you and your family. While it may not always feel like it, dementia sufferers will still feel an emotional connection to loved ones and those around them. Sova Healthcare offers palliative home care and specialist palliative home care to help during this difficult time.

If you'd like to speak to someone about Sova's Leicester home care services, or our home care services in Birmingham or Bradford, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Home care

It has been revealed that there has been a steady rise of people opting for home care in Birmingham. We recently undertook a study to see how many people accessed home and social health care in 2014/15 and 2015/16 - figures had shown there was a 4% rise in people choosing to have health care at home.

There could be numerous reasons why families are choosing home care, and it is important to note that this type of care entails a wide range of services. From domiciliary home care visits to palliative home care services or having a live in carer, home care is usually less expensive than utilising a residential home or privatised hospital.

During 2015/16, £252.2 million was spent on adult social care. Of this, £66.7m was spent on home care in Birmingham in 2015/16. We have seen a rise in people opting for our home care services, allowing people to seek treatment in the comfort of their own surroundings.

Home care for dementia patients

For terminal illnesses such as dementia, in-home care allows the patient to stay in the comfort of their own home, as they cope with the psychological, social, emotional and physical impact of the disease. There are 850,000 people living with this progressive disease in the UK, and this number is expected to rise to 1 million people by 2025. With ground-breaking research along with the increase of information and support available, those who are diagnosed in the early stages of dementia are able to make informed decisions about their care and where they choose to have it.

For those in the early stages of dementia, families often find that their loved one requires minimal supervision or care, but it is important to note that this is different to every person. As the disease progresses, the individual will require more care and help with their routine. A structured schedule in their home means that they will be in a surrounding they recognise. The late stage of dementia will require 24/7 care, and having a live in carer who you know and trust will take the pressure off of yourself and others. It is important to remember that despite dementia taking many things away from your loved one, they will still feel an emotional connection to people surrounding them, and their environment.

Is this the same for end of life care?

Around 550,000 people die in the UK every year, and this figure is expected to rise by 17% by 2030. Over two thirds of the UK population wish to die at home, but only 20.8% of the UK pass away at home. End of life care lasts for an average of 90 days, with the average cost of specialist palliative care in hospital costing £550 per person per day. Changing the setting of a patient's end of life care could potentially to reduce the daily cost of care by £280.

Choosing to have palliative home care means that you will receive end of life support and pain management. Every person has the right to 24/7 palliative care, which should provide sensitive end-of-life support to patients suffering from terminal illnesses. They have the right to be accompanied and reassured throughout this difficult time.

If you'd like to speak to someone about Sova's home care services, do not hesitate to get in touch.