Dementia focus 'should be on care'
Posted on 09 November 2011
It is unlikely that dementia will be cured in the near future but there will still be a series of major advances in how we look after those with the condition, an expert has claimed.
Professor June Andrews, director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling, has highlighted the importance of focusing on more than just curing the disease and looking at home care services.
She said that the condition is a symptom with a number of different causes and each of these must be tackled in turn in order to completely banish these effects.
These different types of dementia can be treated and she points to Alzheimer's as an example where medication has been developed that can be effective.
The more that doctors discover about these conditions the more easy it can become to resist developing dementia, she suggested.
Professor Andrews highlighted people's greater knowledge of vascular dementia, which is the first form of the disease that has been shown to be preventable.
This condition can be caused by poor heart health and those strategies used to target this area can also be effective at treating the dementia, she claimed.
Steps such as stopping smoking, cutting down on drinking, eating well and consuming fruits and vegetables are all important steps that can be taken by those looking to avoid vascular dementia.
Professor Andrews warns that doctors should not lose interest in the condition based on the lack of cures being developed.
"You can care for it and, if you can care for it, you can make [someone's] life an awful lot better," she explained.
The National Audit Office recently estimated that dementia's cost to both the health and social care services amounts to £8.2 billion per year.
In contrast, it predicted that improvements to hospital care for these patients could create savings of £80 million.