#DementiaActionWeek Question 4

What do Hertswise offer to people living with dementia and their carers, and why are they so special?

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Hertswise is an innovative countywide service designed to support people living with dementia, low level memory loss or mild cognitive impairments as well as their loved ones and carers. Our teams aim to ensure that people of all ages, living anywhere in Hertfordshire, are able to easily access information and advice, activities and support in groups or a 1-1 basis, regardless of whether they have (or want) a diagnosis.

The service is delivered by a partnership of community and voluntary groups, including Age UK Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, Herts Mind Network, Carers in Hertfordshire, Age UK Dacorum HertsHelp, Herts Careline and North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum – it’s quite a long list or organisations helping each other for this project!

Hertswise is easily accessed via calling HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044

#DementiaActionWeek Question 3

How many people in the UK and Hertfordshire live with dementia?

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There are approximately 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia.  In Hertfordshire, it is estimated that 15,000 people are living with dementia.  It is also estimated that there are approximately 600 people living with young or early onset dementia in Hertfordshire also.  But please bear in mind that there are still many people who do not have, or wish to have, a diagnosis of dementia and are therefore not captured by these statistics

#DementiaActionWeek Question 2

What words/phrases should be avoided when talking to someone who is living with dementia?

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Avoid using words that can cause offence – instead of using dementia sufferer or dementia victim for example – use phrases such as ‘person with dementia’, ‘person living with dementia’ or ‘person living well with dementia’ – simple stuff

  • Set a positive mood for interaction
  • Get the person’s attention.
  • State your message clearly by speaking clearly and calmly.
  • Ask simple, answerable questions. Speak at a slightly slower pace, and allow time between sentences for the person to process the information and respond.
  • Break down activities into a series of steps. Use short, simple sentences.
  • When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. Avoid speaking sharply or raising your voice.

We also do not say that people ‘wander’ – they are walking with purpose. Their aim is to get someone to do something – there is a purpose behind it. The reason for their walk may not always make sense, but nonetheless, it has a purpose

#DementiaActionWeek Question 1

What is dementia, how many types are there and does everyone get affected in the same way?

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Dementia is not a specific disease. Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills that are severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks, as brain cells stop working properly.

This happens inside specific areas of the brain, which can affect how you think, remember and communicate.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but there are other types of dementia too. It is possible to have more than one type of dementia at the same time. Alzheimer’s is sometimes seen with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. You may hear this called ‘mixed dementia’.

Every person is unique and dementia affects people differently – no two people will have symptoms that develop in the exactly same way. dementias unfortunately are progressive, meaning symptoms start out slowly and gradually get worse. If you or someone you know is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, please don’t ignore them. Seek a doctor’s opinion soon, as they will help to determine the cause.

Kim and Philomena’s Story

Being diagnosed with dementia is something that a family would always remember.

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Philomena was diagnosed with dementia 17th February 2016 – a date that her family would never forget. She currently lives alone with the support of her Home Instead carers, and her two daughters to help her with her medication, ironing, shopping and meal preparation.

Once a month Philomena and Kim (her daughter) used to attend a dementia cafe in Bishops Stortford, run by The Alzheimer’s Society, which they both thoroughly enjoyed, but unfortunately it got shut down.

With the worry of Philomena not being able to have some social interaction, they got referred to a dementia hub in Sawbridgeworth by Hertswise.

” Hertswise run such an invaluable service that has been great not just for my mum but for me too!” – Kim, Philomena’s Daughter 

Ever since her first session, Philomena has enjoyed every moment of it “There is just so much to do and many opportunities to join in with things.”

With Philomena’s dementia getting progressively worse, she has been every so thankful for the opportunity to join a hub that is welcoming and helps her engage more in the activities.

“At home she now always talks to her carers and her cleaner about the things she does at the hub, and shows them what she makes – thus allowing her to have social interaction with them too.” – Kim, Philomena’s Daughter 

If you would like some more information regarding one of our hubs please contact Herts Help on: 0300 123 4044