Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London


Maintaining familiarity and helping the person to relive any memories could help them develop occasional moments of recognition. Prompting a person’s memory could be a challenging task, but Dr Warner believes there are methods worth trying. “Create a life story” he says. A life story is an album or a book with photographs and pieces of information, tracing a person’s life. “I think that everyone should make a life story before they get dementia”, says Dr Warner. If the memory is linked with a strong emotion, the person could recall that memory more easily.

Using “inventive ways of communicating” could also be a method of prompting someone’s memory. Music is a fantastic way to do that. It “ registers to a different part of the brain that seems to be less affected. People with dementia respond very well to music.” It can enhance communication and help them express feelings and connect with past memories.

As the ageing population is rising, the number of people at risk of getting dementia is rising with it. But Dr Warner mentions that “it is now [becoming] more recognised that the risk factors of dementia are pretty much the same as risk factors for heart disease”, which means the different ways of improving heart health are also the same for improving brain health.

But, if an individual is diagnosed with dementia, it is still possible to slow down its progression. In order to do this, Dr Warner suggests:

  • Keeping healthy
  • Eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Making sure your blood pressure is controlled
  • If you suffer from diabetes, you should make sure that it is under control
  • If you have an irregular heart rate, make sure it is treated

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