Early stage dementia

Dementia. It’s a dark, slightly hulking shadow in the background for many. Something we fear but trust that it will pass us by. What if it doesn’t? Would you, your doctor or your family know what early stage dementia ‘looks’ like?  Today our post includes a range of resources for understanding changes you may see in someone who has early stage dementia.

Webpage: Early Diagnosis of Dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia

earlydiagnosisThis webpage describes the benefits of early diagnosis of dementia, an overview of the diagnosis process, who can make a diagnosis of dementia, specialists you may see as part of diagnosis, types of dementia, current research and what to expect after diagnosis.

Book: Counseling People with Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease: A Powerful Process of Transformation, Robyn Yale

counselearlystageadThis brand-new book presents a new counseling framework designed for the challenges and needs arising from dementia. Robyn Yale is an internationally recognised expert on early-stage dementia support groups.  The book explores the subjects of identity and self-esteem, resilience, relating to and educating others, stress management, special issues and challenges facing people with early-stage dementia, the role of family and many aspects of counseling those with early-stage dementia.

DVD: Living with memory loss: An exploration into the world of early stage dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia

livingwithmemorylossThis DVD takes you into the world of early stage dementia. It will demonstrate the benefit of coming together with others, to learn more about dementia and the role that sharing experiences can play in forging a meaningful direction in life after a diagnosis of dementia.

Website: How to Detect Dementia Early, Alzheimer’s Australia

detectearlyThis nifty self-contained website for doctors and other healthcare professionals includes a screening tool that could help with early diagnosis, free helpsheets to give to patients and access to a surgery kit which has loads of leaflets, posters and helpsheets for a clinic. There are also clinical research articles, websites and accredited education courses listed.

Journal Article: Collective Strength: The impact of developing a shared social identity in early-stage dementia, Linda Clare; Julia M. Rowlands and Rebecca Quin. Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice, 2008.

Abstract: Current theories of social power suggest that development of a shared social identity can create the possibility of bringing about political and attitudinal change as well as benefiting individual psychological well-being. This exploratory, qualitative, internet-based study extending over two years explored the impact of developing a shared social identity among a group of people with early-stage dementia. We investigated the experience of belonging to the self-help network Dementia Advocacy and Support International (DASNI), and its effect on self-concept and adjustment, from the perspective of DASNI members in order to understand more about the factors that promote self-help, and the effects of engaging in self-help, mutual support and advocacy in this context. Seven active members of DASNI with a dementia diagnosis volunteered to participate. Interviews were conducted via email, and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to develop a thematic account. The challenges engendered by the onset of dementia were reflected in descriptions of loss, struggle and uncertainty. Participating in DASNI, in contrast, engendered a sense of collective strength and having something valuable to contribute, and made it possible to discover that there can be life after diagnosis. Belonging to DASNI helped to counteract the challenges to self and identity posed by developing dementia, thus significantly affecting the experience of living with dementia, and creating the possibility of effecting social change. Gradually, people in the mild to moderate stages of dementia are developing a `voice’ and rejecting the passive patient role. One important element in this process is the way in which people with dementia band together to help themselves and one another, and influence social attitudes, through mutual support and collaborative advocacy. The development of DASNI, consistent with recent theoretical developments in conceptualizing processes of social power and influence, offers significant potential for change.

Note: if you’re interested in reading this article, please click the Request an Article under “How to Borrow” menu at the top of the page

Website: Start2Talk, Alzheimer’s Australia

This website has been created to help people with dementia and carers plan for the future. There are many practical worksheets to help users move through different processes and plan ahead – with materials designed for both carers and people with dementia. The site also includes lists of state-centric tools and resources to assist with creating wills, advance directives and a range of other legal considerations.  Information for GP’s, GP Practice Nurses, Multicultural Workers and Aboriginal Health Workers. Below is a brief introduction to Start2Talk and why it might be important for you.

Webpage: 1o early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s Association

AA10warningsignsThis online article from an American Alzheimer’s body provides a straight-forward list of warning signs that could indicate dementia. Informative, easy-to-understand and useful, I am still moved to remind you that the best method of diagnosing dementia is to consult your GP.

YouTube: Four Stages of Dementia: The Early Stage, Rainbow Hospice

This short video describes some of the changes and warning signs you may see when someone has dementia. At just under 2 minutes long, it is well-presented, to the point and easy to digest.

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