Dementia: A day spent at the Alzheimer's Society - Introduction
Dementia is a major health issue because of the profound effect that it has on people’s lives, the number of families who experience it and also the fact that, in the next 30 years, the number of people in the UK who have dementia is set to double (DoH 2009).
There are 700.000 people in the UK with dementia, of whom approximately 570.000 live in England. More than one third of people with dementia live in care homes. Dementia is also the strongest determinant for entry into residential care for people over 65 and at least two third of all people living in care homes have a form of dementia.
People who live in care homes have among the most complex health and social care needs of any group in the UK society. Five percent of care homes residents have cognitive impairment which is moderately severe to very severe (Alzheimer’s Society 2007).
Dementia: A day spent at the Alzheimer's Society - Visit
My visit to one of the White Gables Day Centre was planned and agreed by personal tutor. The centre is a large pre-war family house with an extensive garden. It is open for up to 25 users on Monday to Friday and on Sundays. Within the centre, the services offered are designed to enhance the day of people using the day centre, while using the philosophy of person—centred care approach and by recognising the individual’s personality and their history to preserve dignity and respect.
I was introduced to the service users upon arrival and immediately joined a group of lady’s who were very keen to have a chat. I moved around three separated setting parlour, to talk to other clients, some of whom were engaged in various activities.
As this transition coincided or happened just after my older adult placement, I was familiar with most of the difficulties some of the clients were expressing. However, i was happy everyone appeared willing to socialise with their peers. Together with some of the staffs, I enjoyed a game of dominoes, decorating cakes, reminiscent quiz and snooker. We also had lunch together.
Dementia: A day spent at the Alzheimer's Society - Reflection
Statistic as outlined above shows that dementia is an issue and as the elderly population is increasing in numbers, health related issues, such as dementia and malnutrition, are likely to increase as well.
Those suffering from mental illnesses are more vulnerable and are at a greater risk. The elderly are faced with so many challenges as they grow older and as part of their natural physiological and biological changes expected to occur. These may include poor dentition and changes in olfactory and gustatory sensation.
These changes also include mal or complete dysfunctions of vital organs in their bodies. I have seen during my practice, countless amount of older adults with mental health illness prescribed so many medications to tackle other medical conditions which has causes them to be more frail. For example, conditions affecting their mobility and life post a major surgeries.
On the other hand, dementia ( of which the individuals quality of life is expected to deteriorate) causes state of forgetfulness and confusion, hence affecting their dietary
intake and general oral care. A client spending their day at the day centre, will be receive help with the factors mentioned above.
Finally, as a nurse, i have learnt that therapeutic interventions for older adults with a mental health illness and also with medical conditions, for both institutionalised or community based, are usually similar. These will include simple steps such as encouraging relaxation during mealtimes and sitting with the patients at an eye level and make eye contact during feeding.