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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.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's

Coming to terms with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's can be tough on both the individual and their surrounding friends and family. You want to be as prepared as possible and provided with the adequate answers to the questions you are bound to ask. This being said, the internet can often be a misleading place and facts can become misconstrued, leaving you with false information and an uninformed mindset. To offer a helping hand, we have listed five of the most common Alzheimer’s myths and facts.

Myth #1: Only old people can get Alzheimer's disease

This is a common misconception which most likely stems from people’s pre-determined image of a typical Alzheimer’s sufferer. People in their 30s, 40s and 50s can get Alzheimer’s disease and, in this case, is known as Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Out of the 850,000 people diagnosed with the disease, around 42,325 of those will be young, with symptoms presenting from the age of 30 onwards.

Myth #2: Diet, exercise and mental activities prevent Alzheimer's disease

Past stories in the press and media may have lead you to believe that exercising and sticking to a healthy diet can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, there is no solid scientific evidence to prove that there is any correlation between the two. Leading a healthy lifestyle is great for your health in general but, when it comes to Alzheimer’s, may only help to reduce the progression of symptoms rather than the actual onset.

Myth #3: Alzheimer's is completely down to genetics

Although there are certain gene mutations which are linked to Alzheimer’s, there’s a lot more to the disease than that. There are certain gene mutations which will lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s but there is yet to be an adequate amount of research done into this to prove a correlation. By far, the biggest factor contributing towards Alzheimer’s disease is aging.

Myth #4: Depression can cause Alzheimer's

Although it is common for those with Alzheimer’s to develop depression due to a range of factors, the mental health condition has not been proven to cause the disease’s onset. The mental health condition can arise during the early and middle stages and has a significant impact on the individual’s quality of life.

Myth #5: There are treatments available to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's

At this moment in time, there are currently no treatments available that effectively prevent or delay the symptoms developing. There are, however, FDA-approved drugs which can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms for about 6-12 months. However, this is not the case for 100% of sufferers taking the drugs; due to their nature and the individual in question, the medication is only effective for only half of its users. 

If you’d like to discuss Alzheimer’s with a member of our team, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is a common type of dementia, and affects an estimated 850,000 people in the UK. 62% of those with dementia have the disease in the form of Alzheimer's disease. Both Alzheimer's disease and dementia are progressive neurological diseases that affect multiple brain functions over a long period of time. The first symptom of Alzheimer's disease is usually minor problems with memory. In some cases, this could be forgetting the names of people, places and items or being unable to remember recent events or conversations.

What causes Alzheimer's disease?


It is unclear what the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown, but there are numerous things give an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's later on in life. For example:
  • Getting older
  • A family history of dementia and Alzheimer's disease
  • A history of severe head injuries
  • Conditions affecting blood vessels
  • Conditions affecting the heart
Research has shown that it is very common to have both of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia together. This is known as mixed dementia.


What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?


Because Alzheimer's is a progressive neurological disease, different functions of the brain will be affected at different times. As the disease progresses, memory loss will become more severe and other symptoms will become more prominent, such as:
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Problems planning and making decisions
  • Difficulty with speech and language
  • Issues moving around without assistance
  • Problems performing self-care tasks
  • Changes in personality, such as hallucinations and becoming aggressive, demanding, and suspicious of others
  • Low mood or anxiety

Who is affected by Alzheimer's?


Alzheimer's disease affects more women than men, and affects 1 in 14 people over the age of 65, and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80. Whilst Alzheimer's disease is most prominent in those over the age of 65, around 1 in every 20 cases of Alzheimer's disease affects those aged 40 to 65.

According to the ONS, 11.6% of registered deaths in the UK were attributed to Alzheimer's disease. Due to the nature of Alzheimer's disease, it is a fatal disease where people will pass away due to the symptoms. Utilising palliative end-of-life care will help ease the pain and make those with Alzheimer's much more comfortable before they die.


How much does dementia cost the UK?


Dementia currently costs the UK £26 billion a year,  working out at an average yearly cost of £32,250 per person with dementia. People with dementia and their families are currently paying two-thirds of the cost, with £11.6 billion in unpaid care and the rest in private social care.


How to cope when a loved one has Alzheimer's disease


If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, you may find that your relationship changes. You will become the main caregiver as your loved one may no longer be able to continue with certain daily tasks such as showering, household chores and financial matters. Making all these decisions and being the main carer can feel very overwhelming - especially as you are watching the person you love change right in front of your eyes. 

Looking at types of home care services such as live-in care and domiciliary care will help ease the pressure of being a sole carer. Due to the different types of dementia, you will need require different types of care, such as specialist dementia care. If you’d like some advice regarding Alzheimer’s or have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch.