World Alzheimer’s Month 2018 is September.
It is an annual international event, always held in September and run by Alzheimer’s Disease International, (ADI).
The aim of the month is to raise awareness and challenge stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia. The event has been running since 2012, and September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day.
World Alzheimer's Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. September 2018 will mark the 7th World Alzheimer's Month. The campaign was launched in 2012: World Alzheimer's Day is on 21 September each year.
2 out of every 3 people globally believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their countries. The impact of World Alzheimer's Month is growing, but the stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem, that requires global action.
Dementia is a degenerative brain condition that affects over 50 million people internationally and which robs a person of their memory, competency, comprehension and behavioural awareness, usually slowly, over years, it is a sad condition to live with or to witness in a loved one, there are over 100 forms of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s Disease at 50-60% of all dementia cases.
- Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion.
- Early symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, difficultly performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in personality.
- There is currently no cure for dementia, but a range of support is available for people with dementia and their carers.
- Dementia knows no social, economic, or ethnic boundaries.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Other causes include vascular disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia.
- There are currently estimated to be over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 131 million by 2050.
- There is one new case of dementia worldwide every three seconds.
Living with Dementia
Dementia is often hidden away, not spoken about, or ignored at a time when the person living with dementia and their family carers are most in need of support within their families, friendship groups and communities.
The social stigma is the consequence of a lack of knowledge about dementia and it can have numerous long- and short-term effects, including:
- Dehumanisation of the person with dementia
- Strain within families and friendships
- A lack of sufficient care for people with dementia and their carers
- A lower rate of diagnosis of dementia
- Delayed diagnosis and support
For more information please visit Dementia UK
Mouth care for people with dementia
Maintaining good oral health is essential to your overall well-being. Daily care can help stop problems like painful cavities and infections before they arise, and helps avoid pain when eating, drinking and communicating.
People living with dementia have a high rate of tooth decay and gum disease. This may be because they find it difficult to perform their normal daily activities, and require some support to keep up with their oral hygiene routine. Others may not be able to express that they have a toothache and leave problems untreated. It’s important that people living with dementia receive the help they need to keep their teeth and gums clean and free of debris so that they can maintain their self-esteem and avoid pain and infections.
Sugar and oral health
Sugar can cause tooth decay, especially when it’s frequently eaten. If you are caring for someone with dementia, try to avoid giving them too many sugary foods, both between meals and at mealtimes. Tooth friendly foods and snacks include:
- bread with sugar-free spreads
- savoury crackers and cheese
- pitta bread with hummus or guacamole
- rice cakes
- fresh fruit
- plain yoghurt
Drinks that are labelled sugar-free may still be damaging to health if they are acidic. Water is the best drink to consume to avoid damaging teeth. Milk and unsweetened tea and coffee are good to have in moderation.
Caring for teeth and gums
Everyone should have their mouth cleaned twice a day, so make sure that the person living with dementia continues to do this and help them if they are unable or reluctant to do it themselves. You may want to make brushing your teeth an activity you do together so that you can prompt, observe, and help them if needed.
If you need to brush the person’s teeth for them, you could try:
- supporting their jaw to keep their teeth together to help clean the front of the teeth
- encouraging the person to open wide to help you clean the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth
- using a toothbrush with a small head and medium bristles; a small electric toothbrush or a child’s toothbrush may be easier to use
- using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing no less than
1450ppm fluoride (look on the tube or box to find out how much fluoride is in your toothpaste)
- using gentle, circular movements, paying extra attention to the area where the tooth meets the gum
- encouraging the person you’re helping to spit out the toothpaste rather than rinse it out. The fluoride in the toothpaste will continue to protect their teeth
- replacing the toothbrush when it begins to show wear or every three months.
We are all different…. So, adapt how you assist your partner or relative to suit their needs and ability.
And don’t forget our Dentists and Hygienist are here to support and advise you should you require some assistance.
We look forward to seeing you soon, kind regards The Team at Ernevale House