When my mother began showing signs of dementia I read up on it as much as possible. Back then, everything I found was about Alzheimer’s. Mom clearly didn’t have that, so I didn’t know where to turn. Today I know that the Alzheimer’s Society supports people with any kind of dementia (of which there are a number), so if the symptoms below ring a bell for yourself or someone you know, contact the Alzheimer’s Society in your area for information and direction.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) accounts for up to 20 per cent of all dementia cases. As well as cognitive symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and changes in alertness, people with DLB also experience some challenging non-cognitive symptoms. These include vivid hallucinations, disturbed sleep, depression and problems with walking. The non-cognitive symptoms are common and can be extremely distressing for people with the condition and those who care for them.
Current treatments for the non-cognitive symptoms of Dementia with Lew Bodies are extremely limited. Research shows that, on average, people with DLB have a lower quality of life than people with other forms of dementia and are more likely to enter nursing sooner. Health and social care for people with DLB is therefore more expensive, with one study finding care costs to be over twice those for Alzheimer’s disease.
EOD, also called Younger Onset Dementia, is the term used for individuals who are diagnosed before the age of 65. Studies show that about 1 person in every 1,000 under the age of 65 develops dementia, some as young as 40.
A diagnosis does not mean the end of life as the person knows it. With education for those involved, adjustments in work schedules, and adequate support life can continue to be meaningful.
Norm McNamara was diagnosed with EOD several years ago.Since that time he has spearheaded an awareness campaign called The Purple Angels, which has spread from the UK to other countries. And he does this with EOD.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
If dementia has not yet touched your family or someone you know, you can be sure it will, one day. Lets begin with awareness. Lets form the belief that people with dementia can often remain independent and productive for a period after diagnosis. Lets educate ourselves so we can support their caregivers in constructive ways, and build future communities and programs with dementia supports in mind. Each of us reading this now, may one day need those supports, so lets act today.
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