There are over 800,000 people, who are living with dementia, in the UK. Even though the subject should be quite known because of this huge number, there actually is a big misunderstanding surrounding the umbrella-term “dementia”.
The word “dementia” often gets associated with a few well known symptoms like memory loss or language difficulties. These things are not the disease itself but easily noticeable effects of dementia in everyday-life. Other symptoms for example are: disorientation, mood changes and problems judging speed or distance. Nightmares and disturbed sleep patterns are common indications as well.
Different types of dementia differ vastly, accordingly the effects on work-life, of symptoms or progression of the disease itself. Affects can be instant if dementia follows a stroke, others may progress less rapidly over many years.
It has to be considered, that this type of mental disease is unavoidable, although a healthy lifestyle can minimise the risk of getting dementia. The fact that no one has found a solution on how to conquer or slow down the illness yet, shows how complicated an issue it is. This brings us to another concern, because the investment in dementia research is still very low. Charity and government investment for dementia research combined is over 6 times lower than cancer research.
A common myth linked to dementia is, the thought, that only old people are affected by dementia. In the UK there are approximately 40,000 people under the age of 65 who are affected by the medical condition. Relatives often find it extremely difficult to cope with the illness of their loved ones. A lack of understanding dementia and its repercussions could be a possible reason for this.
Particularly young patients need help in their work life because it can be hard to keep a job with a mental malady. There should be a variety of options regarding help in the workplace. Flexible working regulations and a basic knowledge about dementia could help employees to remain at work for longer.