Learning Resources

Understanding Dementia

It’s a myth that only elderly people get dementia.

Younger woman huns an older woman and laughs

A Guide to Dementia

It’s a sad fact that dementia can begin to affect people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s – this is known as early-onset dementia. It is estimated by the Alzheimer’s Society that there are as many as 70,000 people living with early-onset dementia in the UK. There are certain types of rare dementia that are more often diagnosed in people who are aged 50-65, rather than the elderly. These include corticobasal degeneration and posterior cortical atrophy.
Although often used synonymously, it is important to recognise that dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the same. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia and is one of many types. Though it is the most common type, making up 2 out of 3 cases, there are other pathways to dementia.
While there can be some genetic link to having dementia, it does does not mean that you are destined to get it if your parents do. It is far from inevitable that you will get dementia just it runs in the family. It is true that different types of dementia have greater and lesser levels of genetic inheritance. Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are not particularly inheritable, but with frontotemporal dementia, for example, it is more likely. However, even in this latter case, evidence suggests that if a relative has it, there is a 1 in 8 chance that you will get it yourself.
Recently it has become clear that there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of dementia. Different types of dementia have different causes, but the major types such as Alzhiemer’s and vascular dementia, have certain factors that can increase the likelihood of you developing them.
Dementia Clock

Relish Dementia Clock

Customisable alerts remind you to complete tasks at regular times every day, to help maintain a healthy, fulfilling routine and lifestyle

Testing for Dementia

Testing for conditions like dementia can present ethical, cultural, and other dilemmas, not least, how will you react to being in a high-risk category?

I am definitely in the ‘want to know’ camp. As dementia is something that I can do something about in terms of reducing the risk, I would want to know early if I was at high risk. Perhaps if I were older, and potentially not in a position to effect the outcome as much, I might not feel that way.

For me, reducing the worry of getting dementia outweighs the potential worries of knowing I might be at high risk of developing it.

GenoScore – Dementia Testing

State-of-the-art science, developed in the UK, for accurate and comprehensive genetic risk evaluation for Alzheimer’s disease.
A non-invasive test which assesses the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The test analyses over 100,000 genetic variations in your DNA that are associated with, or protective against, Alzheimer’s disease. NOTE: This test is only effective for people of white European descent.

Currently they have a 50% discount.

Steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of dementia include:

•  Not smoking
•  Not drinking
•  Exercising
•  Eating healthily
Unfortunately, dementia is fatal. We tend to think that dementia is just about memory loss. Rather, dementia refers to progressive damage to the brain – memory loss is only a symptom of this process. Given there is no cure for dementia, all people who are diagnosed with dementia die with it – but not always from it. Other health issues can come into play as a person gets older and the care a person receives can greatly influence their safety and life expectancy.

There are currently no treatments that can reverse the effects of dementia. However, there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. These include drugs such as AchE inhibitors, which can help nerve cells in the brain to communicate with one another. Non-medicinal treatments can also help to manage symptoms. These includes cognitive stimulation therapy to aid memory, and cognitive rehabilitation to keep all parts of the brain active.

Once someone has been diagnosed with dementia, they can often still live independently. Many people assume that once they have been diagnosed with dementia they will have to stop driving, give up work, and lose power over their finances, etc. This is not true. People with mild dementia can usually continue to carry out most of their daily tasks for a significant period of time after diagnosis. Usually about 1 out of 3 people with dementia continue to drive. As the condition progresses, however, motor skills and processing skills tend to get worse. This can make carrying out day-to-day tasks more difficult. It is possible that people with late-stage dementia can also continue to live fulfilling lives: they may just need an increased level of outside care and support.
If you are worried, or know someone who is, you can join a clinical trial:

Relish Radio

Blending a retro-nostalgic aesthetic with a contemporary modern finish, this radio is a family favourite. Every detail represents research and refinement. From the clear colour contrast that provides greater visibility and ease of use for visual impairment, to unique button tones that help people identify features based on sound, Relish Radio minimizes confusion and maximizes independence.

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Dementia Podcast

Relish have picked up some important experience in getting the most out of activities, and the wellbeing of those with dementia and their carers. In their suite of dementia podcasts, they’ve showcased their learning alongside some handy hints and tips.