Avante Care & Support is proud to be a well-established not for profit organisation, with an experienced and committed workforce, looking to make a difference through the care and support offered to individuals and to families in need of advice, guidance and support.
Our care homes provide dementia care and support across Kent and South East London. Other care services are available through the care homes including short term respite care, day care and also nursing care at Puddingstone Grange.
Dementia is commonly misunderstood and remains stigmatised. There is still widespread prejudice around what is categorised as a mental health condition affecting older people. In fact one person in 20 aged over 65 and one in four over 85 have dementia. An estimated 800,000 people are affected In the UK and 35 million worldwide. With an ageing population, the UK population with dementia is expected to double by mid-century.
What is dementia?
Clinically, dementia is not one disease but an umbrella term for lots of diseases and conditions. Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies are the 3 most prevalent or commonly occurring dementia’s in the UK.
Although they share similar characteristics and symptoms as set out below, the course of the dementia may be different and individuals will differ in the pattern of their responses. Nevertheless it is probably helpful to have some idea of the phases of dementia which is often discussed in terms of mild, moderate and severe.
Early in the illness a person with dementia may seem:
- To forget recent things they did
- To be less interested in activities
- Reluctant to try new things
- Less able to make decisions or plans
- Slower to understand ideas
- To accuse others of ‘hiding’ or ‘stealing ‘items
- More self-centred
- Unable to concentrate
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. The disease causes loss of nerve cells in the brain and over time all functions and activities that are dependent on the brain become impaired and the brain shrinks. The disease particularly impacts on awareness of time and place; people may become disorientated and get lost or if at home, leave in the middle of the night. Alzheimer’s disease is insidious that is, people affected slowly get worse over several years.
By contrast Vascular dementia or Multi infarct dementia is caused by strokes or infarcts that interrupt the blood supply to specific parts of the brain resulting in permanent brain damage. Typically an older person will have a Transient lsthaemic Attack (TIA) or a mini stroke, frequently at night, recover a little over the following days or weeks but then have another and so on, making the deterioration progress more than Alzheimer’s disease. Some 20% of people with dementia are affected by both Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies affects fewer people than Alzheimer’s disease or Vascular dementia.Lewy bodies are tiny protein deposits found in brain cells that block the action of chemical messengers crucial for normal brain functioning. The ability and behaviour of people with this type of dementia can show a marked difference sometimes from hour to hour, and visual hallucinations are common. Those affected have balance difficulties and walk stiffly and slowly making them more prone to falling. Like people with Parkinson’s they often have a tremor, these two diseases overlap with up to a third of people with Parkinson’s developing dementia.