Dementia is a degenerative brain disease often seen in the elderly and affecting 1 in 4 people by the age of 80. People with a learning disability, especially Down syndrome, have an increased risk of developing dementia.
Diagnosis of dementia in people who have a learning disability, autism or Down syndrome poses a challenge, as the presentation can be similar to their pre-existing symptoms. It can also be harder for service users to explain their symptoms, which means that the standard assessment tests cannot be easily used. We utilise recognised assessment tool to aid diagnosis, such as the Dementia in Learning Disability (DLD) test.
How we support people with this diagnosis:
Diagnosing dementia, and which type of dementia someone has, is important. It will ensure that people with dementia can get the right support, treatments and plan for the future.
Our support for service users with dementia is similar to how non-learning disabled people would be cared for. We focus on medication, behaviour management plans using Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), psychotherapy such as reality orientation, reminiscence and cognitive stimulation, and also giving personal support as well as supporting service users to continue with activities they enjoy.