Dementia is a condition that is caused by various factors.
Signs and symptoms can include memory loss, confusion, personality changes and some changes in behaviour. Often, it also involves deterioration in a person’s ability to understand and communicate. Although the condition is predominantly associated with older people it can also affect people at a younger age.
As the condition progresses the individual will become less able and find it more difficult to make decisions.
During recent years awareness and understanding of the illness has improved. In order to ensure that an individual receives the best treatment, and to assist everyone to plan for the future it is important that the illness is properly diagnosed.
There are many different types of dementia but most have similar symptoms. It is important to remember that everyone who has dementia will also have their own individual symptoms.
Common symptoms of dementia
- Changes in daily living skills like dressing, eating and personal hygiene which can include a reduction of interest in usual activities like hobbies and pastimes.
- Short term memory loss such as forgetting names.
- Increased tiredness, slowing down, general inactivity.
- Changes in social behaviour such as becoming withdrawn, stubborn, mood changes and becoming more emotional.
- Changes in understanding and communicating such as difficulty finding words, repeating words or talking less.
- Becoming disorientated and confused with time, places, people and objects such as wandering, getting up in the middle of the night.
As yet there is no medical test to diagnose dementia. A diagnosis is made by excluding the possibility of other conditions which have similar symptoms and by speaking with people who know the person well.
A person may show signs of dementia for a number of reasons, and the family doctor will need to undertake an assessment in order to complete a diagnosis, and may refer the patient to a specialist to arrange a more detailed assessment.
If the diagnosis is confirmed at an early stage medications are available which may delay the progression of the illness.
Services from Social Services Department
The Social Services Department organises specific services for people suffering from dementia and their carers, and employs staff who have specialist knowledge and training in this area of work. Due to the nature of the condition, the need to plan ahead and the importance of co-ordinating services, the social services staff will work closely with Health colleagues to arrange a package of care to support the individual and their family / carers
The department is able to arrange a number of services including:
- home care
- day care
- equipment or adaptations to the home
- sitting services to provide relief for carers
- short-term or long term care in residential or nursing homes
- respite care in your home or in a care home of your choice
- long term care in a residential or nursing home of your choice
We also provide some specialist services which are tailored to the needs of the person with dementia and their carers.
These services should be discussed with a social worker. All services will be dependent on an assessment of the person's needs and their circumstances.
Dementia Actif Môn Scheme
The Dementia Actif Môn Scheme is funded by Isle of Anglesey County Council and Welsh Government, through the Regional Integrated Care Fund for Wales.
Dementia Actif Môn helps people who are living with dementia. This includes family and carers. The scheme gives access to high quality, supervised exercise programmes that help to improve health and wellbeing.
The Health Service also organise specific services to support and assist people with dementia and their carers including:
- assessment by a specialist team, such as the Memory Clinic
- community psychiatric nurse intervention
- day care in a hospital
- respite care in a hospital for those eligible for NHS continuing health care
Caring for a person with dementia can place an enormous strain on carers (friends and relatives who look after a person with dementia). The Housing and Social Services Department recognises the importance of considering the needs and wishes of carers when planning and organising services to enable them to continue in the caring role and to have a meaningful break from caring. These services may include:
- sitting Service
- home care
- support to access social and leisure opportunities
- respite service
- counselling and support
- support to remain in employment or to return to work
Carers have a right to request an assessment of their own needs and they should discuss this with their GP or with the Social Services Department.
Support from voluntary organisations
A number of voluntary organisations may also be able to provide assistance and support. These organisations will be able to provide specialist information, useful contacts and in some circumstances direct assistance such as:
- independent advocacy
- befriending service
- day care
- sitting service
If you need any further information or advice about any of the services, please contact the Social Services Department.