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Is Dementia Classed As A Disability

The World Health Organisations Global Dementia Action Plan* Adopted In May 2017 Commits Its Members Including Australia To Take Practical Steps By 2025 To Encourage Progress In Dementia Awareness Risk Reduction Diagnosis Care And Treatment Support For Care Partners And Research

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Dementia Alliance International Chair Kate Swaffer explains the significant effort that will be required and why human rights and the recognition of dementia as a disability must be reflected in all regional and national dementia strategies and plans.

Dementia Alliance International greatly values the WHOs global leadership in meeting the needs of people with dementia. Without this, and the vision and urgency with which it has acted, we might still be talking about the notion of an action plan for dementia. We also value the leadership of Alzheimers Disease International , and its commitment to work with the WHO and others, and its strategic partnership with DAI.

ADI has recently released a publication, National Dementia Action Plans: Examples for Inspiration , which highlights some of the great work in developing national dementia plans around the world. Since DAI has worked on human rights for people with dementia, with both the WHO and ADI, there has been significant change in this space globally, and we are now likely to have improved and hopefully faster outcomes.

Vascular Dementia Mixed Dementia And Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Vascular dementia is a disease caused by impaired blood flow to brain, often due to one or more strokes, resulting in symptoms ranging from cognitive deficits and mood disturbances to physical problems such as weakness or unsteady gait. Those with vascular dementia frequently develop vascular lesions on the brain, which may be visible in neuroimaging studies.

The second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s due to the similarity of symptoms. However, vascular dementia sufferers tend to have fewer problems with recall and more difficulties with speech fluency than patients with Alzheimer’s.

Mixed dementia is a term describing two or three different types of dementia, caused by multiple sources, that co-exist. The most common form of mixed dementia consists of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of mixed dementia can vary but may include confusion, poor memory, trouble concentrating, speech and language issues, and behavioral and emotional problems.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is similar to and often co-occurs with Parkinson’s Disease. Lewy bodies are protein formations located in the brain that cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on which region of the brain is affected. There is no cure for DLB, but certain cognitive and physical symptoms may be treated on an individual basis.

How Much Does Dementia Cost The Uk

At present, dementia in the United Kingdom costs taxpayers $25.99 per person per year. The number is $3 billion. A £5 tax is paid by the NHS. There is a cost of £3 billion and a social care cost of £10 billion. All the money allocated was for this item alone. An estimated £3 billion will be spent on social care alone. Over five billion dollars of care can be attributed to local authority social services.

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Causes Of Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills brain cells.

This can happen as a result of:

  • narrowing and blockage of the small blood vessels inside the brain
  • a single stroke, where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off
  • lots of “mini strokes” that cause tiny but widespread damage to the brain

In many cases, these problems are linked to underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and being overweight.

Tackling these might reduce your risk of vascular dementia in later life, although it’s not yet clear exactly how much your risk of dementia can be reduced.

The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain

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Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease. Connections between cells are lost, and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.

Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to

  • behavioral changes
  • difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease

Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.

People with dementia due to Parkinsons or Huntingtons disease are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stages of the disease.

Treatment for dementia will depend on the exact cause and type of dementia, but many treatments for dementia and Alzheimers will overlap.

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Recognising Dementia As A Disability

It is clear we need to move from the medical model of care to one that is based on a social and disability pathway of support and care. Post-diagnosis care must be more than just an assessment of our activities of daily living, being advised to get our end-of-life affairs in order, and getting acquainted with care.

As well as being weak on human rights, the medical model is simply too expensive forget the human cost, governments cannot afford this model of care with its promotion of dependence and learned helplessness.

A key issue in changing this is recognising the symptoms of dementia as disabilities, which also therefore means people with dementia must be afforded the same disability support as any other person with acquired disabilities.

The WHO clearly states that Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide, yet it is still not being supported that way.

When attending the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Program Forum in Geneva in 2016, I asked that there be an additional category under the umbrella of mental health, which is where dementia sits at the WHO. Dementia is not a mental health condition, nor is it an intellectual disability or a psychosocial disability. The symptoms caused by dementia are cognitive disabilities, and the WHO has since added a fourth sub-category for dementia: cognitive disabilities.

What Is The Difference Between Mental Illness And Dementia

While dementia does affect mental health, it is not a mental illness, but a disorder of the brain that causes memory loss and trouble with communicating. Proper diagnosis of mental illness or dementia in the elderly is vital in order ensure that appropriate treatment is provided as soon as possible.

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Principles To Ensure Real Change

In the WHO Global Dementia Action Plan, human rights, empowerment and accountability are characterised as the cross-cutting principles . These seven principles are, as I understand it, the only part of the plan to be fully accountable, and therefore it is imperative governments and civil society are aware of them. While the seven action steps which form the underlying structural framework of the plan are important, these cross-cutting principles will help to ensure real change:

  • Human rights of people with dementia. Policies, plans, legislation, programs, interventions and actions should be sensitive to the needs, expectations and human rights of people with dementia, consistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international and regional human rights instruments.
  • Empowerment and engagement of people with dementia and their carers.People with dementia, their carers and organisations that represent them should be empowered and involved in advocacy, policy, planning, legislation, service provision, monitoring and research of dementia.
  • Evidence-based practice for dementia risk reduction and care. Based on scientific evidence and/or best practice, it is important to develop strategies and interventions for dementia risk reduction and care that are person-centred, cost effective, sustainable and affordable, and take public health principles and cultural aspects into account.
  • Recognising And Diagnosing Dementia In A Person With A Learning Disability

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    Memory loss is usually one of the most recognisable signs that someone might be developing dementia, but this may not be the case for people with a learning disability.Often, people with a learning disability might demonstrate other symptoms first, such as:

    • changes in their personality or mood
    • difficulty making decisions
    • changes in the way they live their day to day life
    • changes in the things they could normally independently manage

    If youre noticing changes in the person you care for, it can be helpful to monitor these changes by keeping a record. Write down what you noticed, when it occurred, and whether these changes come and go, or whether theyre permanent. Everyone can have a bad day, but several bad days in a row might be a sign of something more serious.

    If the changes are more persistent, getting worse or are causing an impact on the persons activities or daily living, you should arrange for the person to see their GP, taking a record of these changes.

    A number of other conditions and illnesses can cause these changes and its important that these are ruled out by the GP as soon as possible. The GP should start by assessing whether the person has an underlying treatable condition, for example depression, vitamin B12 deficiency, or abnormal thyroid function. They should offer to take blood tests, a chest X-ray , a scan and a urine sample to rule out any other physical health issues, if the person is able to participate in such tests.

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    Disability Benefits For Dementia

    • Disability Benefits for Dementia

    Is Dementia a Disability?

    A large percentage of the population is suffering from mental and physical health conditions. The baby boomer generation is currently most affected due to their age. One of the health issues that is seen among that group is dementia. It is a mental health issue that is affecting more and more people each year.

    In the US there are approximately 5.7 million people living with dementia. Every year, there are approximately 7.7 million new cases of dementia that are diagnosed worldwide. In total, there are approximately 50 million people who are suffering from this condition.

    Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia. It accounts for approximately 60 70 percent of all cases of dementia. Though, it is common among older adults, it can also be seen in younger people. The impacts of this disease are enormous as the affects can be far reaching.

    Not only does Alzheimers affect the person who is suffering from the disease, but it also affects their families, their career, their social interactions and their ability to ability to live independently. Today, 40% of elderly patients suffering from this disease rely on disability benefits.

    Symptoms and Causes of Dementia

    Dementia might be considered as a relatively common condition however, the symptoms and causes can be varied. The medical community is actively researching dementia and continuing to come up with more information on potential causes.

    Living With A Learning Disability And Dementia

    Once a person has received a diagnosis of dementia, their care and support needs should be reassessed in light of this diagnosis.

    As far as is possible, the person should remain in their usual routine, with adaptations and support if necessary, and reasonable adjustments put into place.

    There are a number of practical steps that can be taken to support the person. These include:

    If youre a family carer, please make sure youre receiving all of the support you need and are entitled to. This includes:

    • a Carers Assessment under the Care Act. This is an assessment from your local authority. This can determine what support and resources you need to care effectively, and whether youre eligible for funding
    • registering your name on the GP surgerys carers register
    • accessing some of the carer education programmes that are available from organisations like Dementia Carers Count and TIDE
    • Advanced Care Planning
    • receiving help and support from Dementia UKs Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline if you have any additional questions or concerns. The Helpline is open seven days a week on 0800 888 6678 or , Monday to Friday 9am-9pm and weekends 9am-5pm

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    Psychological And Psychosocial Therapies

    Mental Health, Dementia &  Disabilities in Care Training ...

    Psychological therapies for dementia include some limited evidence for reminiscence therapy , some benefit for cognitive reframing for caretakers, unclear evidence for validation therapy and tentative evidence for mental exercises, such as cognitive stimulation programs for people with mild to moderate dementia. Offering personally tailored activities may help reduce challenging behavior and may improve quality of life. It is not clear if personally tailored activities have an impact on affect or improve for the quality of life for the caregiver.

    Adult daycare centers as well as special care units in nursing homes often provide specialized care for dementia patients. Daycare centers offer supervision, recreation, meals, and limited health care to participants, as well as providing respite for caregivers. In addition, home care can provide one-to-one support and care in the home allowing for more individualized attention that is needed as the disorder progresses. Psychiatric nurses can make a distinctive contribution to people’s mental health.

    Some London hospitals found that using color, designs, pictures and lights helped people with dementia adjust to being at the hospital. These adjustments to the layout of the dementia wings at these hospitals helped patients by preventing confusion.

    Cognitive training

    Personally tailored activities

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    There Are Three Types Of Vascular Dementia:

    • Subcortical dementia. The most common form of vascular dementia. The smallest blood vessels in the brain become twisted and stiff, restricting blood flow. This is also called small vessel disease.
    • Post-stroke dementia. This type occurs after an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.
    • Single-infarct and multi-infarct dementia. The individual experiences a series of small strokes instead of one severe stroke.

    Medical Evidence To Prove Memory Loss

    Medical evidence is crucial in any disability claim. In the case of memory loss SSD applications, there are several components boost the likelihood that youll be found eligible for benefits, including:

    • Thorough and complete records showing all the physical exams and diagnostic tests that youve undergone.
    • A detailed, signed statement from your treating physician, documenting your condition, the symptoms you experience, and the manner in which your memory is affected.
    • Evaluations that show youre incapable of performing even simple or repetitive activities or tasks that require short or long term memory.
    • Evidence that available treatments, including therapy and medications have been ineffective in improving your condition, or in improving it to the point that youre able to perform job duties in even unskilled positions.

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    What Causes Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia is caused by different conditions that interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen supply to the brain and damage blood vessels in the brain.

    People with vascular dementia almost always have abnormalities in the brain that can be seen on MRI scans. These abnormalities can include evidence of prior strokes, which are often small and sometimes without noticeable symptoms. Major strokes can also increase the risk for dementia, but not everyone who has had a stroke will develop dementia.

    Other abnormalities commonly found in the brains of people with vascular dementia are diseased small blood vessels and changes in “white matter” the connecting “wires” of the brain that are critical for relaying messages between brain regions.

    Inside The Dementia Epidemic:

    The Theology of Disability | Dr. John Swinton

    One’s2014 Top Alzheimer’s Books for Caregivers

    Winner of the Memoir category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

    Winner of a Silver Medal in the Health/Medical category of the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards

    Finalist, 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for Excellence in Publishing

    Winner of an Honorable Mention in the Life Stories category of the 20th Annual Writers Digest Book Awards

    Finalist, 2013 Indie Excellence Book Awards

    Finalist, 2013 Santa Fe Writer’s Project Literary Awards Program, Non-fiction category

    Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir shares the lessons I learned over 8 years of caregiving at home and in a range of dementia care facilities. I describe not only what I learned about navigating the system, but how I learned to see Alzheimer’s disease differentlynot as a “long good-bye,” as it’s often called, but as a “long hello.” Through caregiving, my challenging relationship with my mother was transformed, and I learned to enjoy and nurture her spirit through the last stages of dementia.

    Appendixes share facts about dementia that I wish I had known years ago, such as how to get a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease what medications are approved to lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease lesser-known risk factors for dementia and possible antidotes. I include my favorite resources for caregivers, my source notes, and an index.


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