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Frequently asked questions
“I forget where I parked my car”
“I forget what I’m meant to be doing sometimes”
“I repeat myself a lot”
“I can’t do more than one thing at a time anymore”
“My family have noticed that I’m different now”
“My memory is not what it used to be”
Ageing and Memory—what is “normal”?
s we get older we notice that perhaps we are not as mentally sharp as we once were or that we may take a little longer to do things. This is normal and should not lead to any significant changes in our lifestyles. However, if you or others notice that your memory is poorer than might be expected, or if a decline in memory means that you have to make fundamental changes to your day to day life then you should seek ofessional advice. Wh en memory changes are likely to be of concern is where there is a progressive pattern of decline over time. If you have doubts about your memory, you may consider consulting the internet for information. This may be helpful but is not a substitute for expert H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0 Frequently asked questions:
Dementia is a group of symptoms that are characterised by a decline in intellectual functioning of sufficient magnitude to interfere with a person’s daily activities and social relationships. There are many different forms of dementia including Vascular Dementia (also sometimes called Multi-Infarct Dementia), Frontotemporal Dementia (including Pick’s Disease) and Lewy-Body Dementia amongst others although the most widely known form is Alzheimer’s Dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a type of dementia, is named after a German Neurologist in 1906, is a progressive disease which causes thinking and memory skills to become impaired. It also affects language and causes difficulty with everyday tasks that were once considered straightforward. 3. What are the early signs and symptoms of dementia? People and their families notice different signs that give cause for concern. Most typically, memory problems are reported first. Other symptoms can include:  difficulty with carrying out tasks that were previously not problematic, such as finding ones way around,  difficulty with finding the words that are needed in  difficulty with thinking ahead, planning or organising  difficulty remembering names of people that are However, not two people are alike and the occurrence or pattern of symptoms can vary considerably. H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0 There is some evidence for a genetic basis for a small number of dementias, although these are the ones that tend to occur earlier in life, that is, under the age of 65. By far the greatest risk factor for dementia is age. Other risk factors include: significant injuries to the head in earlier life and high blood pressure. In general, the chance of developing dementia is slightly increased if a parent was diagnosed with it. However, not much more is known at present about how this mechanism operates. It is likely that a number of factors combine to contribute to the onset of dementia. Many of these factors are still unknown. Up to the age of 65, dementia develops in only about one person in every 1000. The chances of developing dementia rise sharply with age to one person in twenty over the age of 65. Over the age of 80, the risk increases to one person in five. However, it should be borne in mind that four out of five people over the age of 80 do not develop dementia. i). Drugs for Dementia
There are a small number of drugs that have been developed. These are called Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors. The drugs are called Aricept, Reminyl or Exelon and are typically used in the mild to moderate stages of the disease. A fourth drug, Ebixa, tends to be used in the later stages. Research has shown that in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, there can be a real improvement if these medicines can be tolerated. Most patients do tolerate these drugs well. However, the drugs are not a cure. Rather they can act to improve quality of life for longer by improving the symptoms of H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0 the disease. They work by making sure that the substances involved in the communication between nerve cells in the brain remain levelled. Learning new skills
One of the ways to cope with memory changes that occur with dementia is to learn new ways of using our memory. For example, using notes, calendars, diaries, alarms, electronic reminders and prompts have been shown to help. In addition, patients can learn new ways of using their memory through some simple techniques which assist with learning and recall. Unfortunately at present there is no cure for dementia. 9. Does dementia only happen to older people? No. It is true to say that the majority of people with a diagnosis of dementia are over 65 years of age. Occasionally patients as young as 40 can develop the disease although this is relatively rare. How can I help myself if I have dementia? a. Memory strategies – try new techniques to help your
memory (Harley Memory Clinic Leaflet lists some of these) b. Assisted technologies – there may be electronic aids
or other tools and equipment which can help such as:  Home improvements for safety  Jogging your memory  Support day-to-day activities by retaining mobility, assisting with eating and drinking or cooking, personal care and hygiene and comfort and rest H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0 (see below for web address of Nottingham Rehab Supplies – this is one of many companies which provide such aids and adaptations) c. Healthy diet – The Alzheimer’s Society have useful
information of a healthy diet: We know that people with a more vascular dementia particularly benefit from a healthy diet which works to lower their fat intake and cholesterol. d. Driving (see DVLA web address below) – you may
need to stop driving before your memory and concentration problems cause an accident. It is a difficult decision to make but the law is clear that it is the person with the diagnosis of dementia who has the responsibility to inform the DVLA of their diagnosis. e. Lasting Power of Attorney (Mental Capacity Act
2005) – you may wish to consider registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for when you become too unwell to make decisions or manage your finances. It is important to make as many arrangements as will bring you peace of mind later on. (see below for website address or consult your Solicitor who will need to prepare the LPA with you). f. Stay active – being active and engaging in hobbies
and other activities that you can maintain is important for protecting your mood and self-esteem. It is important to plan to do something each day that gives you a sense of pleasure and achievement. H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0 g. Support for self and loved ones – sometimes talking
over with each other the things that you are struggling with can enable you to cope better with the changes that are presented by dementia. There are website addresses below which are helpful in seeking out appropriate support.
Website addresses for further information: H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0 Disclaimer:
The information contained within this leaflet is intended as an introduction to the illness
or medical condition known as Dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s Disease. The
information must not be used as a medical diagnosis and should not replace a
comprehensive memory assessment with an appropriately qualified practitioner.

Harley Memory Clinic Ltd cannot be held responsible for any advice contained in this
leaflet and it should not be regarded as medical advice. Harley Memory Clinic Ltd makes
reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained within this leaflet is both
accurate and honest and cannot accept any liability regarding the accuracy or
completeness of information or its specific application.

H a r l e y M e m o r y C l i n i c L t d 2 0 1 0



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Submission on the Needs of People with Neurological Conditions for Pal iative Care and End of Life Supports Introduction The Neurological Al iance of Ireland is the umbrel a group representing over thirty charities workingwith people with neurological conditions and their families. Over 700,000 people are living with aneurological condition in Ireland. 1 The issue of end of life care is of h

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