Dementia

Information about dementia and the North Yorkshire dementia strategy.

 

What is dementia?

'Dementia' describes a set of symptoms that include:

  • Loss of concentration and memory problems,
  • Mood and behaviour changes, and
  • Problems with communicating and reasoning.

The most common types of dementia are:

  • Alzheimer's disease, which is when abnormal proteins surround brain cells causing damage to the internal structure of the brain cells and prevents chemical connectins between the cells causing the cells to die
  • Vascular dementia, which is when the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced by narrowing, blockages or damage to the blood vessels causing the cells to become damaged or die. This can be caused strokes - either one large stroke or a collection of mini strokes over a longer time period.
  • Mixed dementia, which is when a person has more than one type of dementia e.g. a person could have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Why is dementia important?

In 2009 the National Dementia Strategy (the accessible version of the National Dementia Strategy is available here) was published, providing a strategic framework within which local services could deliver quality improvements to dementia services and address health inequalities relating to dementia.

Following on from the National Dementia Strategy, the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia 2020 was published in February 2015, setting out the Government's aspirations for what the NHS, along with its partners both locally and nationally, will be asked to deliver in the course of the current parliament.

What is the picture in North Yorkshire?

Most people living with dementia are likely to be older people, with 1 in 4 people over the age of 85 at risk of the conditions that cause dementia.

70% of people living with dementia have other health conditions.

There are other groups of people also experiencing memory loss and other difficulties caused by dementia, - young onset (aged 64 or under) and people with a learning disability are two groups that are often overlooked.

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. This has the same risk factors as heart disease and stroke, therefore the same preventative measures are likely to reduce risk.

Risk factors include:

  • Getting older
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet
  • Too much alcohol
  • Being overweight

 

A multi-agency project group has developed and published the new dementia strategy and action plan.

'Bring me sunshine - Living well with dementia in North Yorkshire' is the 2017 dementia strategy, and was named by a group of people living with dementia. It brings together the experiences of people from North Yorkshrie who are living with dementia and their carers. It is written as if a person living with dementia is talking to an audience about what it is like to live with dementia in North Yorkshire now.

It describes what people have said they would like dementia support services in the county to look like over the next five years.

The strategy has been developed by talking to nearly 1300 people who live with dementia every day of their lives. They have described the things that are important to them.

Key themes:

  • Challenging the stigma and raising awareness
  • Accessibility
  • Early diagnosis and support
  • Ensuring consistent care and support
  • Planning for the future and dying well
  • Communities and networks - seeing the person, not the dementia
  • Value and importance of carers support
  • Workforce development

The action plan has four key principles which will run through everything that we do

 

  • I am me - I am not dementia. I have a name and I expect it to be used.
  • Carers matter - treat them as well as they treat us.
  • The small things - small acts of understanding can make a huge difference.
  • Consistency - where I live shouldn't determine how I am treated.

Underpinning this there are five key priorities that will form the focus of the work to be done to improve the support and information we provide for people living with dementia and their carers.

These priorities have also been developed and agreed in partnership between health and social care professionals and people living with dementia, and their carers.

  • Dementia friendly North Yorkshire
  • Workforce development
  • Diagnosis
  • Support and advice
  • Planning for the future and dying well

 

If you would like to access the full version of the Dementia Strategy please click here.

Alternative versions include the Easy Read and the Plain English summary. These are available below:

Moving ahead

Working together, the partners will produce an annual report on progress. In addition, North Yorkshire County Council will continue to host an annual dementia conference in order to highlight best practice and discuss new and emerging issues with both health and social care professionals and people living with dementia and their carers.

What are the benefits of having a dementia strategy and action plan?

  • The incidence and prevalence of dementia is a growing issue for all partners in North Yorkshire. The creation of this multi-agency strategy will enable us to effectively work together supporting people living with dementia and their carers. This will promote choice and control to support people to remain independent for longer and promote positive outcomes.
  • The strategy provides clear feedback from the engagement and consultation with our communities across North Yorkshire. This has formulated the action plan for the improvement of existing, and development of new, dementia support which will inform our joint commissioning decisions.