“It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million. Whilst rates of diagnosis have improved, it is widely believed that dementia is still significantly under diagnosed…” www.dementiauk.org
Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a condition where brain function has been impaired. This could be through a number of different diseases or disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia, whereby a small stroke damages brain cells. Due to our longer-lived population, dementia is also more prevalent in richer countries, so, is there something we can do to reduce our risk?
Reducing your risk of developing dementia
Affecting both women and men, the single largest risk in of developing dementia is our age. We are all living longer with more women developing Alzheimer’s and more men likely to develop vascular dementia. We cannot stop the aging process, it’s the same for us all, but we can make changes to our lifestyle that will reduce other dementia risk factors.
Think about it this way: what’s good for the heart is good for the brain – a healthy body gives us the best possible chance of a healthy mind and all the same rules apply:
- Stop smoking – there is no other way to say it.
- Take moderate and regular exercise – do what you love and you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Reduce your alcohol intake – a few fewer drinks at the weekend?
- Improve your diet – dump the high salt, sugar and saturated fats, this can reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure and give you more energy. *
- Enjoy plenty of social activity with friends, family and local interest groups.
- Exercise your mind – keep reading, doing crosswords, enjoy a healthy debate.
This year Dementia Awareness week runs from 14th to 20th May and, as well as articles in the press, online and in the media, there are many different ways that you can help make a difference to your own future and the futures of countless others.
York Hospital Trust Appeal
The York Teaching Hospital Charity, the York Hospital Trust launched a bid to raise £200,000 in support of patients across its hospital wards suffering with dementia. The money will help fund new equipment to make patients’ stays easier and help avoid a decline in their condition that can follow a stay in unfamiliar surroundings. Find out more and donate to the York Hospital’s Trust Appeal.
Dementia Research Needs You!
Why not also consider joining a dementia research programme near you? Riccall Care Director Gill Conroy and her mum Shelia signed up and we highlighted this initiative in our Blog ‘Join Dementia Research’ where you can find out more and take part.
Whatever your age, there are things we can all do to improve our health and wellbeing, to help us live long, happy and fulfilled lives.
*If you’re not sure about your cholesterol and blood pressure check in with your local GP, the more you understand about your own body, the greater the opportunity you have to make the right choices.
Local to York? Make a date to visit our free Care Café. Open from 2 – 4pm every first Thursday and run by our highly experienced Riccall Care Training Department, we welcome those cared for in their own homes, some of whom suffer from dementia. A great place to meet up and have a good chat with bags of expert guidance on hand.
More local resources and national support:
Dementia Forward York Helpline: 01904 692473
City of York Council support for people with dementia website information.
National Helpline of Dementia UK: 0800 888 6678 Dementia UK website