The biggest health and social care challenge we face today is dementia, with around 670,000 people, and counting, in England living with dementia.
Whilst there is no cure for dementia, there is support for people with dementia and their carers, and people across south Lincolnshire are being urged to get a diagnosis as soon as possible since this ensures the appropriate advice, support and treatment can be given,
“For example, we know that two thirds of people with Alzheimer’s can take medication to slow the condition down, and there is medication available for all types of dementia to help alleviate symptoms or slow the progression,” comments Dr Uma Balasubramaniam, GP and Medical Advisor, South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dementia and its symptoms can be mistaken for old age, which has the unfortunate outcome that many people are left confused about whether they have dementia or not and in South Lincolnshire just 61 percent of people estimated to have dementia have been formally diagnosed.
“Dementia is a long-term condition and affects the patient and their family. For every person diagnosed there is someone who then becomes the main carer for their husband, wife, partner, mum, dad or close friend living with the condition, so it is critical that appropriate care and support for carers is also available,” adds Dr Balasubramaniam.
“Your GP can also help provide advice and information on support groups, lifestyle, health and social care support, and having a diagnosis will also help the person and the rest of their family to put the necessary care plans and financial and legal documentation in place.”
“The Lincolnshire Dementia Family Support Service provides support to both the person with a dementia diagnosis and their family. Its specialist team provide a range of information and advice on how to manage dementia, live well with the condition and live independently at home for as long as possible.
“Understanding about the care and support services that are available can be complicated. To overcome this, family support workers help families find the right support and access services, including helping carers and families to benefit from the range of Carers Services in Lincolnshire, helping them to maintain their caring role,” concludes Dr Balasubramaniam.
In addition, the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 can provide a range of information for people concerned they may have dementia or those with a diagnosis of dementia, as well as their families, friends and carers. For more information visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/memoryworry