Post diagnostic support


Therapies

There are numerous techniques that can come under the banner of therapies – everything from massage, yoga, aromatherapy and physical exercise to music, meditation, blogging and brain training exercises.

Your local memory clinic may offer different ideas on therapy after a diagnosis of Dementia. Most often this could be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a form of talking therapy. Whereas cognitive stimulation involves taking part in activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language ability. Evidence suggests that cognitive stimulation can improve thinking and memory skills in people with dementia. It is currently the only psychological treatment directly recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to help people with mild or moderate dementia.

You may also find different therapy groups in your local area which may or may not be specific to helping people with dementia.

When considering therapies, do be cautious of anything that claims to produce miracle results. If it looks too good to be true - it’s probably not worth pursuing!

Do be cautious about new developments. It seems that every day there’s an announcement in the media about a new medication, therapy or even cure for dementia >.

Some interesting places to look!

There are some fantastic examples of people with dementia who are living well as a result of various therapies.

Chris Roberts, keeps himself active by speaking at public events and training people to become Dementia Friends. Visit www.mason4233.wordpress.com

and

Kate Swaffer, is a lady living with dementia in Australia. She uses a variety of different therapies to keep her dementia symptoms in check. Have a look at her blog - www.kateswaffer.com where she discusses what she does, and looks at therapeutic interventions more generally.

Medication

The fact is that there are no pharmacological treatments to prevent or reverse dementia. But, depending on the type of dementia a person is diagnosed with, they may be offered different medications to help slow down progression.

It’s important to know that any medication a person with dementia could be offered may or may not be effective and might also involve side-effects.

If someone has other conditions, and is already on medications, or has different medications prescribed in the future, it is always worth checking how these are likely to interact with each other, and requesting a medication review either from the person’s GP or local pharmacist (or indeed both - for a second opinion).

It’s important to ensure that a person isn’t taking any more medication than is necessary and to report any side-effects. If someone is on lots of different medications, it can help to keep a daily record of these with the option to add in comments about any negative effects that followed after a particular medicine was taken.

It can help too to explore some of the medication dispensing aids currently available, and to know what’s on offer from the various organisations working in the field. Take a look at this website - www.unforgettable.org

Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST)

Cognitive Stimulation involves taking part in activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language ability.

Evidence suggests that cognitive stimulation can improve thinking and memory skills in people with dementia. It is currently the only psychological treatment directly recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to help people with mild or moderate dementia.

Reality orientation may also be beneficial in some cases, but the benefits can be small and are often only apparent with continued effort.