What is Dementia?
Dementia is the name for a set of symptoms that includes memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia develops when the brain is damaged by diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. People living with Dementia can lose interest in their usual activities and may have problems managing their behaviour or emotions. They may also find social situations difficult and lose interest in relationships and socialising. Aspects of their personality may change, and they may lose empathy (understanding and compassion).
As dementia affects a person’s mental abilities, they may find planning and organising difficult. Maintaining their independence may also become a problem. A person will usually need help from friends or relatives, including help with making decisions.
Why it’s important to get a diagnosis
Although there is no cure at the moment, an early diagnosis means its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer. A diagnosis helps people with dementia get the right treatment and support. It can also help them, and the people close to them, to prepare for the future. With treatment and support, many people can lead active, fulfilled lives with dementia.
Support and Services available in Ilkley
Dementia Friendly Ilkley Action (DFIA) is a small voluntary group of local people aiming to reduce the stigma and raise understanding of the disease through awareness raising activities including Dementia Friends sessions (which are currently being held online). DFIA have also been trialling Activity boxes which include various games and puzzles which aim to stimulate sensory and cognitive engagement. Several businesses in Ilkley are also Dementia Friendly. This means that they have adopted small changes to better serve customers who are living with Dementia.
Pre pandemic, a number of Wellbeing Cafes were operational in Ilkley and surrounding areas. This provided a safe environment for people living with dementia and their carers to attend promoting their mental wellbeing. I am sure once allowed to do so, these services will be well utilised! Ilkley has a fantastic befriending service for people at the early stages of dementia. Volunteers offer their time to provide companionship especially for those living on their own. These services have had to adapt and are currently conducted through regular phone calls and utilising online platforms where possible.
There are of course professional quality homecare services in Ilkley such as Right at Home offering short term as well as regular care. Care Givers receive appropriate training in supporting people living with Dementia. They often provide companionship in the home, support with hobbies, accompanying on walks and shopping trips along with any personal care. For family carers, these care services provide much needed respite allowing them to rest and recharge.
Further information regarding Right at Home’s Dementia Services can be found by clicking here