NARPO – The voice of retired police officers
NARPO – The voice of retired police officers

Wellbeing Guide from Police Mutual Living with Dementia

Signs of dementia and how to support the person, their families and their friends

209,600 people will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. Dementia can affect a person at any age but it is more commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65 years.

Indeed, 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia and seventy percent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems. If somebody develops dementia before the age of 65 they are described as having young onset dementia.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia and it can also be a secondary condition of another disease, such as Parkinsons. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Regardless of which type of dementia is diagnosed and what part of the brain is affected, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.

Signs that could indicate a person has Dementia

Memory problems – people with dementia might have problems retaining new information. They might get lost in previously familiar places and may struggle with names. Relatives might notice the person seems increasingly forgetful, misplacing things regularly.

Cognitive ability – people with dementia may have difficulty processing information. This could be their perception of time or a place, for example, getting
up in the middle of the night to go to work, even though they’re retired. Also their concentration could be affected. There may be a difficulty when shopping
with choosing the items and then paying for them. For some people the ability to reason and make decisions may also be affected.
Some may get a sense of restlessness and prefer to keep moving than sit still; others may be reluctant to take part in activities they used to enjoy.

Communication – people with dementia may repeat themselves often or have difficulty finding the right words. Reading and writing might become

Changes in behaviour – they might experience changes in personality, mood swings, anxiety and depression. They can lose interest in seeing others
socially. Following and engaging in conversation can be difficult and tiring, and so a formerly outgoing person might become quieter and more introverted.
Their self-confidence might also be affected.

Differences engaging with their surroundings – people with dementia can experience changes in vision and hearing as their brain processes  information in a different way. People can view everyday items in their home and in the outside world in a different ways such as walking round the rug in the living room, becoming hesitant getting into the car, being apprehensive stepping off the kerb. People can find noisy places very disturbing and can find it challenging to participating in large group conversations.

Read more from this wellbeing guide here