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This content is taken from the Newcastle University's online course, Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Welcome to our course. I’m Lynne Corner from Newcastle University, and I’ll be guiding you through it. When we think about dementia, we think about memory. We think about our ability to plan, to make decisions, to find the right words, and how we interpret our senses.

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 seconds Every four seconds, or the time it takes me to breathe in and out or blink, another person somewhere will be diagnosed with dementia.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds There are 46 million people living with dementia across the globe; that’s over 7 million new cases every year. People are living longer, which of course is a really positive change. But for some, this means living longer with dementia. The worldwide costs of dementia are huge. Some estimates suggest $818 billion. The prevalence of dementia in developing countries is increasing faster than higher-income countries. So the global challenge of finding ways to live well with dementia has never been more important. Though most of the people living with dementia live in developing countries, most of the costs of dementia occur in Western Europe and North America, mainly due to expensive medical and social care costs.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds So dementia is an important global challenge, because of its scale, in terms of the growing number of people affected and the huge costs involved. If dementia was an economy, it would be bigger or on par with companies such as Apple and Google. And this is a very useful comparison, because there has never been a more urgent time to develop innovative solutions and ideas to help people connect and communicate with dementia, especially as people are working longer and many friends and family of people with dementia are living in different regions, even different countries. And so there’s an urgency to help people to connect and care.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 seconds Of course, the real cost of dementia is personal the nature of dementia as a progressive condition means that it can become increasingly difficult to communicate with the person with dementia. And inevitably, relationships change. In this course, we’ll be talking to experts in dementia who can help us to understand what is happening in the brain and what’s behind some of the more distressing symptoms. We’ll also be talking to experts in communication and speech and language, who will be sharing insights on what might work to help us to continue to communicate.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds And, of course, we’ll be able to share together our ideas and insights as friends, family of people with dementia, and carers, so that we can learn together how we can continue to connect and live well with dementia.

Dementia: A global challenge and personal reality

The World Health Organisation has described dementia as ‘one of the major health challenges of our generation’.

We are facing a global challenge to find a cure, improve treatment, and ensure we have enough resources to enable people to live well with dementia.

An estimated 50 million people worldwide live with dementia, and as we are living in an ageing population, this is set to increase. China, India and South Asia are experiencing the biggest growth in the incidence of dementia. This has brought increasing awareness of dementia, but with it, depictions of the challenge as akin to a ‘silent tsunami’, ‘crisis’, or a ‘creeping shadow’.

As individuals, we may think about the challenge of dementia a little differently. Often, carers describe being on an uncertain journey, drifting, playing a waiting game, or losing connection, like sand running through the hands. So while carer descriptions may not be as negative or as fearful as the metaphors we might come across in newspapers or policy reports, there is an acknowledgement that life can become much more difficult for those who live with the condition.

In this course, we focus on the personal realities of dementia for those affected. We’ll be thinking about dementia’s effect upon the person, on our personal relationships and on the activities of daily living. Our aim is to share ideas and insights as family, friends and carers so that we can learn together how to connect and live well with dementia.

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Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well

Newcastle University

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