News - 29th October 2019

How does dementia affect everyday life?


We know that many of you have personal experience of dementia – in fact half of people in the UK know someone affected by the condition.


It’s clear from speaking to our passionate supporters, that they want to see a new life-changing treatment for dementia. Current treatments can help with symptoms for a time, but today there are no medicines to slow down, prevent or treat the underlying diseases that cause dementia.


Last week there was a lot of excitement around the news that the pharmaceutical company Biogen has announced that it is working to release a new drug called aducanumab for people with early Alzheimer’s disease.


If approved, aducanumab would be the first drug to tackle the underlying changes in the brain that drive Alzheimer’s – that’s a big development. But there are still a lot of unknowns and some important work to do around the drug, with no guarantees at this stage.


There are many ways an emerging new treatment could be judged as a ‘success’. Arguably the most important way is by improving the day-to-day aspects of life that dementia makes so hard.


It’s true that problems with short term memory are a key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, and can have a profound effect on many aspects of daily life. But dementia can take away so much more than memory.


Although a person’s own experience of living with dementia varies, as does their needs for care and support, common everyday challenges for people with dementia include washing, getting dressed, eating and bathing.


Dementia is a progressive condition. As the diseases that cause dementia advance, the symptoms get worse and someone is likely to need more help carrying out tasks that they may have once taken for granted.


At first, people may need reminding to bathe or need help with tasks such as hair washing, while in the later stages of dementia, a person may not be able to bathe at all without help.


To help explain some of the common and varied challenges people with dementia face, we’ve created a new interactive online tool. It may help you understand how dementia can affect someone’s day-to-day life – some of these may surprise you.


We developed the tool alongside expert dementia researchers, doctors who see people with dementia regularly in their clinic and people with experience of caring someone with dementia.


The tool also lets you explore how we’re working to make life easier for people with dementia by developing pioneering new treatments.

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