Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2023

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To mark World Alzheimer’s Month throughout September 2023, Career Locum group will be endeavouring to help spread awareness of the condition and the pivotal role that nurses and care givers play in supporting individuals living with dementia within our communities.

: Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2023

As we come together to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and Dementia, it is imperative to shine a light on these often-misunderstood conditions, fostering empathy, understanding, and support for those affected.

What is Alzheimer’s & Dementia?

Alzheimer’s and Dementia are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they refer to distinct conditions. The umbrella term “Dementia” is a set of progressive conditions that over time can affect memory, problem-solving, language and behaviour. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which according to Dementia UK accounts for 60-70% of cases.

It is important to know that Dementia can affect a person at any age but it’s more common in people over the age of 65.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease?

The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are very complex, but one key part is the build-up of proteins in the brain. These make it harder for the brain to transmit messages and work properly. 

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease tend to get worse over time. They include:

  • Difficulty remembering recent events (often retaining a good memory for past events)
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty recognising people or objects
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Slow, muddled or repetitive speech
  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks such as cooking, paying bills, and shopping
  • Problems with decision-making

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medication is available to help slow its progression.

Where to seek support:

If someone has symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, visit a GP as soon as possible. Some other treatable conditions have similar symptoms, so it’s important to also rule these out.

Dementia UK has some top tips on steps you can take whilst you are waiting for an assessment. You can view these here.

The role of nurses & carers in Alzheimer’s care:

Nurses provide direct care to patients, helping to relieve the burden placed on family members and other caregivers. With the demand for Alzheimer’s and dementia care nurses continuing to grow it’s essential to recognise the pivotal role they play in supporting individuals living with dementia within our communities.

Nurses play a crucial part in helping these patients maintain their quality of life and remain independent for as long as possible in clinical, residential and home-based settings. They are at the forefront of promoting dementia awareness, creating a friendlier environment, and delivering compassionate care to those affected by dementia.

Behind every individual battling Alzheimer’s or Dementia, there’s usually a caregiver who selflessly dedicates themselves to provide support and assistance. The role of a caregiver is both rewarding and demanding, requiring immense patience, compassion, and adaptability. The emotional and physical challenges they face are often underestimated. Acknowledging and supporting caregivers is an integral part of the awareness campaign.

Promoting dementia-friendly communities

Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia extends beyond understanding the medical aspects. It’s about fostering inclusive communities that accommodate the unique needs of individuals with cognitive impairments. From accessible infrastructure to promoting respectful and patient communication, creating dementia-friendly environments plays a pivotal role in enhancing the lives of those affected.

The Alzheimer’s Society details how you can work toward becoming a recognised dementia-friendly community here.

They also have some great support tools available to educate yourself and others on how best to understand and support a person with dementia which can be accessed here.

As we unite to raise Alzheimer’s and Dementia awareness, let’s remember that empathy and education are our most potent tools. By dispelling myths, understanding the challenges faced by individuals and caregivers, and supporting ongoing research, we can contribute to a world that embraces those with cognitive impairments with compassion and respect. Every effort counts in our journey toward a more inclusive and supportive society for all.