World Alzheimer's Month and the Crucial Role of Caregivers

7th Sep 2023

World Alzheimer's Month and the Crucial Role of Caregivers

Alzheimer's Month, observed globally every September, serves as a reminder of the relentless battle against one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases – Alzheimer's. During this month, organisations, caregivers, and communities unite to raise awareness, educate, and provide support to those affected by this condition. Let’s delve into the month, the crucial role that caregivers play in the lives of Alzheimer's patients and how our Dementia Care Training will prepare caregivers to deliver high-quality person-centred care.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is the most common cause of dementia, characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral changes. As the population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer's is increasing, making it a global public health concern. In the UK alone there are over 850,000 people living with dementia.

‘Never too early, never too late’

This year, the World Alzheimer's Month 2023 campaign, 'Never too early, never too late', aims to underscore the pivotal role of identifying risk factors and adopting proactive risk reduction measures to delay, and potentially even prevent, the onset of dementia.

The greatest risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are aging and genetics. Scientists have discovered more than 20 genes which directly affect a person’s risk of developing these diseases.

Although we can’t change our genes or stop ageing, there are changes that we can make to reduce our risk of dementia. Research suggests that if we were able to modify all of these, we might be able to prevent or delay up to 40% of Dementia cases.

Here are 12 of those modifiable risk factors:

  • Physical Inactivity
  • Smoking
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Head injury
    • Air pollution
  • Infrequent social contact
    • Less education
  • Obesity
    • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
    • Depression
  • Hearing impairment
  • With the global number of people living with dementia expected to triple by 2050, there has never been a more urgent need to understand and respond to the risk factors associated with this condition.

    Find out more about these risk factors and how you can get involved with the month’s events and activities on Alzheimer’s Disease International’s website.

    Curbing these risk factors can also aid individuals already living with the disease, but in many cases, they still do require a level of care for emotional support and to help carry out daily tasks.  

    Unseen Heroes: Alzheimer's Caregivers

    Behind every Alzheimer's patient, there is often an unsung hero – the caregiver. These individuals, whether family members or professionals, dedicate their time, energy, and compassion to provide care and support for those affected by Alzheimer's. Their role is multifaceted and demanding, but their impact is immeasurable.

    The World Alzheimer’s Month campaign have published these relevant facts relating to Alzheimer’s Care:

    • Women bear a substantial share of the responsibility for informal care of people living with dementia. Approximately two-thirds of primary caregivers are women, with this figure escalating significantly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) — regions expected to account for 71% of global dementia prevalence by 2050.
    • 50% of the costs for dementia are related to informal care.

    Some of the ways a caregiver can be expected to aid an individual living with Alzheimer’s are as follows:

    Providing Emotional Support - One of the primary roles of caregivers is to offer emotional support to Alzheimer's patients. A diagnosis of Alzheimer's can be frightening and disorienting, and patients often experience feelings of confusion, frustration, and even depression. Caregivers play a pivotal role in offering comfort, reassurance, and a sense of stability.

    Assisting with Daily Activities - As Alzheimer's progresses, individuals may struggle with everyday tasks, such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Caregivers step in to help with these activities, ensuring the safety and well-being of their loved ones. This assistance allows patients to maintain a higher quality of life and independence for as long as possible.

    Managing Medications and Healthcare - Alzheimer's often requires a complex regimen of medications and regular medical appointments. Caregivers are responsible for managing these aspects of a patient's care, ensuring that medications are taken correctly and coordinating with healthcare professionals to address any medical concerns.

    Creating a Safe Environment - Safety is a top priority for Alzheimer's patients, as they may become disoriented or prone to accidents. Caregivers modify living spaces to reduce hazards, implement security measures, and provide supervision to prevent dangerous situations.

    Navigating Behavioural Changes - Behavioural changes, including agitation, aggression, and wandering, can be challenging for both patients and caregivers. Caregivers are trained to respond to these behaviors with patience and empathy, often working with healthcare professionals to develop effective strategies for managing them.

    Fostering Social Engagement - Isolation is a common issue for Alzheimer's patients, as social interactions can become increasingly difficult. Caregivers play a vital role in facilitating social engagement, organizing activities, and providing companionship to combat loneliness.

    BVS Training’s Dementia Care Courses for Care Workers

    If you’re a social care provider that supports individuals living with dementia and are looking to make the most of Alzheimer’s month, it is the perfect time to get your staff trained in our Dementia Care courses:

    Dementia Care 1: Understanding Dementia

    Dementia Care 2: Person Centred Dementia Care

    These CPD-Accredited, live-action video courses explore the physical condition of dementia, how it affects a person and goes into depth on the person-centred qualities that a skilled carer should reflect in their day-to-day practice.

    Alzheimer's Month serves as an opportunity to honour and appreciate the caregivers who selflessly dedicate themselves to the well-being of those affected by Alzheimer's disease.

    Get In Touch

    CareTutor has a range of over 70+ video-based social care courses on its eLearning platform including Dementia Care Courses, with easy to use compliance and management tools.

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