Dementia Basics


Keeping Secrets is set in the fictional residential home for retired secret service agents, Shady Fields. It features the residents, some of whom are displaying the symptoms of dementia.  

 

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a number of different disorders that affect the brain, particularly memory, behaviour, thinking, and emotion.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Other causes include vascular disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty recalling recent events but remembering the past

  • Unable to make decisions

  • Problems with finding the right word

  • Losing track of the day/date

  • Confusion of their whereabouts

  • Difficulties carrying out an everyday series of tasks such as cooking

  • Inability to judge distances such as the stairs

  • Trouble handling money, particularly in shops

  • Changes in personality or mood

  • Depression
     

These conditions can affect anyone, regardless of race or socio-economic background.  One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia but people as young as 40 have also been diagnosed.  Two-thirds of dementia victims are women, and current thought is that this could be due to the lack of oestrogen after the menopause.

People in the developed world see more cases of dementia because people live longer than those in poorer countries.  As our lifespan increases, we are recording more cases of dementia.
 

Family members and close friends are often affected by the progress of a loved one's dementia due to little help and lack of understanding.  It can be an incredibly stressful time to navigate the system when family members are trying to advocate for their loved ones to gain access to the right services.  Carers are often overworked, and dementia sufferers distressed as there is generally, an insufficiency of support and resources.

 

There is mounting evidence to show that simple lifestyle choices can help prevent the onset of dementia.

  • Taking regular exercise - just 30 minutes of walking, swimming, or everyday workouts such as housework is beneficial.

  • Having a healthy diet - follow a Mediterranean diet, avoid saturated fats and eat superfoods such as ginger and blueberries

  • Participating in mental stimulation - do some brain-boosting activities; learn a new language, enjoy puzzles, or read a good book.

  • Avoid smoking - nicotine damages the blood vessels and reduces the amount of blood that reaches your brain.

  • Keep on top of existing illnesses - other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of dementia.

  • Reduce your stress levels - don't forget to breathe when you feel stressed and take up a calming activity such as yoga or meditation.

  • Being sociable - make a date with friends, volunteer, or join a new activity club and keep in contact over social media.  During the current Covid restrictions it is still possible to do this via social media; Zoom or Facetime Apps.

 

For more information and guidance visit www.dementiacare.org.uk.

  • I am an author of spy-thrillers I write espionage books Based in Staffordshire

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