Did you know that there are 850,000 people in the UK who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia and there is estimated to be 1 million by 2025. Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home. 80% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia or severe memory problem and 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.
Age is the greatest risk for Alzheimer’s and the disease mainly affects the over 65’s. Above this age, a person’s risk of developing dementia doubles approximately every five years. One in six people over 80 have dementia.
How does Alzheimer’s affect the body?
People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may experience lapses of memory and become more forgetful.
As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s lose independence and require more help maintaining their daily activities. This is as a result of a loss of brain function.
During the course of the disease, proteins build up in the brain to form structures called ‘plagues’ and ‘tangles’. This leads to the loss of connections between nerve cells and eventually to the death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia also have a shortage of some important chemicals in their brain.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms develop and they become more severe.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are genereally mild to start with, but they get worse over time and start to interfere with daily life.
For most people with Alzheimer’s the earliest symptoms are memory lapses. In particular, they may have difficulty recalling recent events and learning new information. These symptoms occur because the early damage is usually to a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which has a central role in day-to-day memory.
Although memory difficulties are usually the earliest symptoms; someone with the disease will have or go onto develop problems with other aspects of thinking, reasoning, perception or communication.
To date no drug treatments can provide a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However drug treatments have been developed that can improve symptoms, or temporarily slow down their progression in some people.
How can Adaptawear help?
Due to Alzheimer’s, it can be difficult for individuals to get dressed by themselves, as well as being difficult for carers to dress a person with the condition. As dementia progresses, people increasingly need more help with everyday activities, including dressing. It is important to enable a person with dementia to make their own choices for as long as they can and if they do need assitance to offer it tactfully and sensitively.
This means that dresses, nightwear, trousers, tops and shirts can be drawn through the arms and fastened easily at the back by carers. The fastenings are so discreet that no one will notice and the dignity of the wearer is maintained at all times.
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