Ken Ebbens, Carers Council chairman, speaks about the implications of dementia on carers and how the library can help
Recent welcome research by Cambridge University has found that there has been no increase in prevalence of dementia in the UK.
This apparent drop in the predicted number of people with dementia coincides with improvements in people’s education and living standards, as well as a reduction in risk factors such as vascular diseases, largely thanks to efforts to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
But this does not mean the end of dementia as a major issue for society, since the overall number of people with dementia is still set to increase as more people live into their 80s and 90s.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month and is a timely reminder that all this has implications for loved ones and carers of those diagnosed with dementia.
The role of carer is incredibly demanding. If you are caring for a person with dementia who is close to you, your relationship will change greatly as time passes.
You may experience feelings of grief and bereavement and have to deal with exhausting, challenging behaviour.
One of the many causes that can lead to challenging behaviour is boredom. The frustration from a lack of stimulation added to the frustration associated with a progressive form of dementia can lead to agitation and anxiety.
But this can be reduced: engaging in activities can provide positive benefits for individuals with dementia, providing a sense of involvement and belonging. It can also offer care-giver benefits as you’ll spend more time enjoying positive interactions with your loved one.
This is where the library service can help. The memory collection, kept at Portsmouth Central Library, has resources especially designed for people with dementia.
The collection has jigsaw puzzles, pictures to share books, memory boxes of memorabilia, card prompt collections from the 1940s and 1950s and reminiscence boxes containing books and photographs.
Reminiscence is often used to support the mental well-being of older people and achieves this by encouraging the recall of memories and events from the person’s life.
Everything in the memory collection is free to borrow if you are a member of Portsmouth Library Service.
If you are a carer, a shared activity from this collection could give you a chance to do something that makes both of you happier and able to enjoy quality time together.
For more details please contact Patricia Garratt on 023 9268 8259.