Nearly 14,000 people are estimated to have dementia in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and now three advice booklets are available to give carers and partners a better understanding of the condition.
They have been commissioned by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and two of the booklets target home carers like home helps, staff working in residential nursing homes, and a third is aimed at partners, relatives and friends of someone with dementia.
While there are currently 6,705 people registered with GPs having dementia in the health board area, the estimated prevalence is in the region of 13,952 and with a national growing aging population these figures are expected to increase.
Robert Boyd, NHSGGC’s Collaborative Dementia Workstream Manager, said that a total of 20,000 booklets, which were developed written by Alzheimer Scotland and North Demetia forum and are being distributed widely throught Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
He went on: “The booklets have been created to help people communicate with someone with dementia.
“The underlying advice is see the person not the illness.”
Dementia is what happens to someone if they have illnesses which cause brain cells to die off far more rapidly than is normal, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the most common symptoms is short-term memory loss where the person can quickly forget that they have just eaten and ask the same question repeatedly because they do not remember hearing the answer.
Challenging behaviour and communicating less effectively will become problems and amongst the advice given in the booklets is to look for the emotion beneath the words, facial expressions and body language.
Carers are advised to always acknowledge the emotion, for example if the person appears angry then they should be asked “What has upset you so much?”
Robert added: “The booklets are being distributed to health centres, GP surgeries, home helps, clinics, hospitals, community health and care partnership offices, carers centres, mental health teams and all nursing homes in the board area.
“We are also working to produce another booklet specifically for hospital staff and looking to produce booklets for Black and minority ethnic communities.”
Henry Simmons, Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland, said: “This development is further testament to the value of the original booklet ‘Working with Dementia: a Handbook for Care Staff’ which was written by Margaret MacKinlay, a member of our Glasgow Dementia Action Group.
“Margaret wanted to highlight how carers, relatives, friends, care staff and nursing staff can work alongside each other for the benefit of the person with dementia.
“The Glasgow North Dementia Forum has really championed this work and we are delighted to see such a significant commitment from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, this will definitely help improve awareness and understanding of dementia across the NHS Board area and we look forward to helping them develop a new booklet aimed at hospital staff.”
More information about dementia is also available from the Alzheimer Scotland website on http://www.alzscot.org/pages/contact.htm and there is also a freephone 24 hour dementia helpline – 0808 808 3000.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.