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Dementia explained – expert advice from Dr Alex Bailey

Dementia is a complex and difficult issue, but this podcast episode aims to explain, in as simple terms as possible, the services and support available for those with Dementia and their carers. Presented by Age Space founder Annabel James and Dr Alex Bailey, a Westminster-based psychiatrist specialising in old age.

Click on the play icon to begin listening to this episode – it may take a few moments to load.

You can also listen to this episode about Dementia via Apple Podcasts:

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Show notes for this episode

Click on the following links to jump to sections of the show notes:

Memory services for Dementia

There are lots of ​memory services​ in communities designed to support people who are in the early stages of Dementia. ​Community Mental Health Teams​ work with people in the ​more severe stages of Dementia​. These are multi-disciplinary teams​ that work with people whose Dementia is causing behavioural or psychological difficulties.

Dr Alex Bailey talks through the memory services which are available in the podcast episode, which you can listen to at the top of this page.

Supporting people with Dementia

  • There is lots we can do to support people with Dementia to live well​. There are ​medicines that can help alleviate some of the symptoms​ of Dementia, but there is ​currently no cure​ for Dementia. However, medicine plays only a small part of Dementia treatment: Psychological therapies ​can really help ​people with Dementia and their carers ​to live better. We’ve put together a guide of some of the treatments for Dementia available.
  • In the world of psychiatry, there is increasingly ​more focus on supporting carers of people with Dementia​, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists is campaigning for the government to recognise this group. There is more information on ‘care for the carer’ on our website. We can help carers of people with Dementia to understand what the condition looks like at the different stages​, as it can progress from milder difficulties, such as word-finding difficulties and forgetfulness, to disabilities, incontinence and aggressive behaviour​. Sadly, Dementia can take over the person, and it is the job of psychiatrists and other experts to ​help minimise these difficulties​ and ​maximise the personhood of the patient.
  • Specialist teams and services can provide ​social interventions to assist people with their functional abilities, such as washing and dressing, to help them to live well at home. They can also support with transition into supported accommodation or residential care.
  • A common myth is that people with Dementia can’t communicate. This is not true, as ​people can still communicate, even if they have lost their verbal or language functions​. There is also no pattern with Dementia, as ​mental illness affects each individual differently.

Click the play button in the episode player at the top of this page to listen to our conversation with Dr Alex Bailey.

How to protect against Dementia

  • There are things that we can do to ​protect against the risk factors​ for Dementia, mainly ​keeping ‘brain and heart’ healthy.​ This includes:
    • having a ​good diet​;
    • getting your ​blood pressure and cholesterol levels​ checked regularly;
    • getting your ​hearing and vision​ checked regularly;
    • Most importantly, ​keeping active​, and there is lots of evidence to support this in particular. These 8 ways to keep elderly parents busy may be of interest;
    • keeping the brain active​ won’t stop Dementia, but it can help slow the progression of the condition.
  • If you think an older person is behaving differently or struggling, ask them what’s going on, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Our 10 Early Signs of Dementia and How to Spot Them guide is a very useful reference, as well as our tips for diagnosing Dementia.

For more tips on how to protect against Dementia, listen to the full episode of this podcast at the top of this page.

Show credits

Show produced by Husain Husaini at Wire Free Productions.

More Dementia resources

The Dementia section of our website has a huge amount of information on all aspects of Dementia, including:

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