Supporting our Families Living with Dementia

The Physical and Mental Benefits of Animal Therapy for the Elderly in Care
October 13, 2021
Thyroid Gland Awareness Month 2023
January 25, 2023
Show all

No one is prepared for life with dementia. You might feel scared, confused, or angry. However, at Doddington Lodge we are here to provide the right information, support and guidance for our residents and families along the way.

There is nothing more important than understanding what a dementia diagnosis really is and what it will mean when living it. The term ‘dementia’ is used to describe a collection of symptoms when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. These symptoms are commonly: a decline in memory, reasoning, and communication skills, making it difficult to understand things that were previously clear. Another common symptom of dementia is the gradual loss of skills needed to carry out daily activities, this may be an upsetting factor when thinking about your life with dementia, however, that is why our specialist dementia care at Doddington Lodge is a place where professionals are able to help you manage the anxieties and questions you may have.

Many people living with dementia, lead active and fulfilling lives for many years. At Doddington Lodge our residents living with dementia actively take part in activities that are fun, enjoyable, and overall, help to stimulate the senses of touch, sound, smell, and sight. Our sensory garden has been specially designed to create a safe and stimulating environment for our residents to relax and spend time outdoors.

The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia. Less common are dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Fronto-temporal dementia (FTD).

It is possible to have more than one type of dementia, a condition known as ‘mixed dementia’. This is most often Alzheimer’s disease with vascular dementia but can be other combinations. There are also some rarer conditions that cause dementia. Together, they account for about 1 in 20 people diagnosed. A variety of factors can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia such as: Ageing, genes, health, and lifestyle (for example, physical activity, diet, alcohol, and smoking) all play a part. Most people with dementia are over 65 years of age, but dementia can also affect younger people.

All types of dementia are known to cause prominent changes to how the mind works day to day, that is why we believe in doing all that we can to help go through these difficult changes. Our incredibly caring and highly qualified dementia team at Doddington Lodge, understand the importance of being there for our residents, no matter what stage of dementia they are diagnosed with, we understand it is hard to take it all in. Our dementia team are there to support our residents through their diagnosis, providing incredible consideration to all changes that they are going through.

When going through these changes, it is important that our residents are aware of what their diagnosis means and what they can expect for the future, so they are able to cope when these changes come to light. Alzheimer’s disease occurs when amyloid proteins called plaques and tangles develop in the brain and cause the brain cells to die. People often experience a gradual progression with Alzheimer’s disease and there are three main stages:

Early Stage – Alzheimer’s disease usually begins gradually with very minor changes in the person’s ability or behaviour. This is often just an attribute of part of getting older. It is only usually on reflection that we identify that this could be the beginning of the disease.

Middle Stage – As the disease progresses, the changes in the person become more obvious. The person will need more support to manage their day-to-day needs. Relatives or informal carers of the person may require more support too.

Late Stage – At this stage the individual will need more help and support. They will eventually become more and more dependent on others and require nursing care.

Another common disease known to cause dementia is Vascular dementia. This type of dementia is due to the vascular system, a network of blood vessels, becoming damaged. This means that the blood traveling through the vascular system is unable to reach the brain cells, meaning the brain cells will eventually die.

A number of conditions can cause or increase damage to the vascular system. These include high blood pressure, heart problems, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This means it is important that these conditions are identified and treated at the earliest opportunity. Effective treatment of these conditions may significantly delay or stop the development of vascular dementia.

The onset of vascular dementia can often be more sudden than the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (which progresses gradually).

A rarer cause of dementia is Fronto-temporal dementia. This type of dementia is caused when the nerve cells in the frontal and/ or temporal lobes od the brain die. This causes a loss of important chemical messengers within the brain. Fronto-temporal dementia is a less commonly known disease; however, it is a significant cause of dementia in younger people, under 65. It is estimated to be the third most common cause of dementia for this younger age group.

Symptoms of Fronto-temporal dementia include:

  • Loss of their inhibitions – behave in socially inappropriate ways and act in an impulsive or rash manner; this could include making tactless or inappropriate comments about someone’s appearance
  • Loss of interest in people and things – lose motivation but (unlike someone with depression) they are not sad
  • Loss of sympathy or empathy – become less responsive to the needs of others and show less social interest or personal warmth; this can make the person appear selfish and unfeeling
  • Show repetitive, compulsive, or ritualised behaviours –
    this can include repeated use of phrases or gestures, hoarding and obsessions with timekeeping
  • Crave sweet or fatty foods, lose table etiquette, or binge on ‘junk’ foods. • It is common for a person with Fronto-temporal dementia to
  • struggle with planning and organising or making decisions.
    These difficulties may first appear at work or with managing finances.

The last and another uncommon disease that causes dementia is Dementia with Lewy Bodies. This type of dementia is caused by tiny spherical protein deposits that develop inside the nerve cells in the brain. Their presence in the brain disrupts the brain’s normal functioning, interrupting the action of important chemical messengers, including acetylcholine and dopamine.

Lewy bodies are also found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disease that affects movement. Many people who are initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease later go on to develop a dementia that closely resembles dementia with Lewy Bodies.

There are also symptoms that are particular to dementia with Lewy bodies.

In addition to the symptoms above, a person with DLB may:

  • Experience detailed and convincing visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there), often of people or animals
  • Find that their abilities fluctuate daily, or even hourly
  • Fall asleep very easily by day, and have restless, disturbed nights with confusion, nightmares, and hallucinations
  • Faint, fall, or have ‘funny turns’.

Overall, we understand that dementia, in whatever form it comes, is an illness that evokes negative feeling and emotions, especially in the early stages of understanding your diagnosis and deciding the best route of care for you during these challenging times. You are not alone, many residents that have come to us when living with these diseases are doing incredibly well in an environment that best suits them. We make each of our dementia residents as comfortable as possible with activities that spark imagination and enjoyment, environments full of nature that are known to deliver amazing health benefits, professional carers that understand the difficulties that our residents will be dealing with, along with many things that allow our residents to have as much independence as possible. At Doddington Lodge, we believe in giving the best care possible and helping you to live your life to the fullest.

If you are someone living with dementia or a loved one of someone with the diagnosis, we are here to help and support you along your journey. To arrange a visit or to have a chat with one of the Doddington Lodge’s team, who can provide more information on how we can help, call 01584 707084, or email is at: