How can we support people with dementia to live well?

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Around 850,000 people are estimated to have dementia in the UK, and that figure is expected to rise to 1 million by 2025.

Rising prevalence has led to a number of new initiatives focussing on the condition. In 2015, the Prime Minister’s Challenge on dementia 2020 set out more than 50 commitments with the hope of making England a world leader in dementia care, research and awareness by 2020.

Efforts like this are starting to reap rewards, and there have been recent improvements in the rates of diagnosis and new funds being developed to research the condition.

However, despite these positive steps, we know people with dementia and their carers still find it hard to get good quality care and support or to lead as active a life in the community as they could.

With this in mind, Age UK started looking at what ‘living well’ meant to people with dementia and their carers, and from there we branched out to find an array of services and approaches that could help them achieve this. Our findings are published in a new report, ‘Promising Approaches to Living Well with Dementia.’

Continue reading “How can we support people with dementia to live well?”

Guest blog: The Group is the Cure

This guest blog was written by Professor Catherine Haslam, recently of Exeter University and now at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Despite living in a world that claims to value its social relationships, we still have a blind spot when it comes to harnessing these relationships in protecting our health and well-being.

Our tendency is to rely primarily on medical and technological advance, but we know now that we do so at our peril if we fail to build our social networks at the same time.

Belonging to social groups and networks — whether they involve family, friends, work colleagues, or other relationships — has been shown, in numerous studies, to be an important predictor of health; just as important as diet and exercise.

The Social Effect

When Holt-Lunstad and colleagues evaluated this collection of research in their meta-analysis, they found that the magnitude of the effect of social relationships on mortality was comparable to quitting smoking, and exceeded that for obesity, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity. Continue reading “Guest blog: The Group is the Cure”