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By Debbie le Quesne

A good life with dementia: Keys for a brighter future

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Reports, reports and more reports . . . my desk is awash with them and my laptop groaning under the strain of Word documents.

It’s Friday and it should be happy because for many of the weekend’s almost here. But I’m feeling a little flat, bruised even, after the recent run of negative headlines in the Press.

Add to that my personal obligation to try to keep abreast of all the breaking news, latest industry gossip and legal updates, it doesn’t make the most palatable cocktail.

What I really wanted was a shot in the arm with inspiring, good news. Tempted by the title – A Good Life with Dementia – I set about reviewing the lasted piece of work commissioned by Red & Yellow Care. It outlines a six-part framework for enabling a ‘good life’ with dementia.

The publication of the report coincides with the launch of the new service, Red & Yellow Care, which uniquely offers specialist, dementia care tailored to the client. The report draws on the expertise and insights of those working in the field and six themes were identified.

Not surprisingly, the study showed that 43 per cent of people polled don’t think it’s possible to live a good life with dementia.

So let me tell you what the target areas of the report are . . .

  • How to better support people with dementia to maintain their sense of uniqueness and personal identity (Respecting identity: ‘It’s not one size fits all’)
  • Achieving the right balance between memory-based activities and enjoying the here and now (Embracing now: ‘It’s a moment-living life’)
  • Ensuring people with dementia are able to experience meaningful human connections (Sustaining relationships: ‘You don’t always need words’)
  • Ensuring people with dementia are able to experience a full range of emotions (Valuing contrast: ‘Good days and bad days’)
  • Taking risks – what are we protecting people with dementia from? (Supporting agency: ‘What’s there to worry about?’)
  • Promoting good overall health for those who are living with dementia including physical and emotional wellbeing (Maintaining health: ‘My priority in life’)

 

The report also examines the areas that people in the UK feel are important contributors to happiness such as independence (91%), freedom to take risks (65%), being supported and cared for (91%), living in the moment (94%) and not living in the past (72%).

 

The Good Life with Dementia report was funded by Red & Yellow Care and published in association with Alzheimer’s Society with a view of encouraging debate.

“What’s striking is that this new framework is actually just stating the obvious. It’s about the things we all take for granted, but which are eclipsed by the panic, fear and stigma that have come to surround dementia. We need to get back to core principles if we’re going to enable people with dementia to see past their fear, and make the most of what is potentially a long, rich and rewarding time of life,” said Dr Bahbak Miremadi, Founding Director of Red & Yellow Care.

I agree wholeheartedly.

The report also identifies three main barriers that exist to help people live well with dementia: diagnosis, public awareness and the need to improve care flexibility.

I seem to have read most of this before and it really does state the obvious. For people with the memory-loss condition and their families and carers, the report may offer pointers. Of course, the problem here is that there’s never going to be a neat model of achieving best outcomes as the disease is as individual as its victims’ response to therapies.

Good life with dementia – I really hope that we can achieve that and I applaud every last step taken to target this outcome. Sun’s out, forecast reasonable . . . have a great weekend.

The Good Life with Dementia report is available to download from www.redandyellowcare.com/goodlife.

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