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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

C.R.A.F.T Moments

Article by my Dad, Craig -

It seems I’ve reached that certain age, you know when you get to tick the over 60’s box on forms and when things start to go downhill.  My knees ache, my back pains but the most annoying things I’ve found as I go about my day is just how often I can’t remember what I was doing or what I was going to say!  I stand at the bottom of the stairs and think “was I going up or coming down”, I walk into rooms only to walk back out because I can’t remember why I went in.  And why do I bang the front of my head with my palm when speaking do I have frontotemporal dementia?

My dearest daughter (meaning expensive) refers to these as ‘senior moments’, when your mind goes a total blank and you put the kettle in the fridge.  I do correct her though, mines a little more apt – I call them CRAFT moments, it’s got a better ring to it – And what does that stand for

Can’t Remember A Flaming Thing!


But when do CRAFT Moments become a concern?  What are the signs that I should be going to the Doctor?  The NHS, spend thousands on advertising telling you FACT – for Heart attacks and strokes, coughing for longer than 3 weeks might be lung cancer and Blood in your pooh might be bowel cancer – but where’s the advert that says

  • There are 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.

  • There are 25,000 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.

  • There will be 1 million people with dementia in the UK by 2025.

  • Two thirds of people with dementia are women.

  • The proportion of people with dementia doubles for every five-year age group.

  • One in six people aged 80 and over have dementia.

  • 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.

  • Delaying the onset of dementia by five years would reduce deaths directly attributable to dementia by 30,000 a year.

  • The financial cost of dementia to the UK is £26 billion per annum.

  • There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK.

  • Family carers of people with dementia save the UK £11 billion a year.

  • 80 per cent of people living in care homes have a form of dementia or severe memory problems.

  • Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home.

  • That only 40% of people with Dementia in the UK receive a diagnosis

Why isn’t there enough understanding?

What are the early signs?

And why does it get called Dementia Disease when in fact it isn’t, it is a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain. These symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions.

The most common being Alzheimer’s.

So what are the early signs?

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia include:

  • memory loss – especially problems with memory for recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, and asking questions repetitively

  • increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning

  • becoming confused in unfamiliar environments

  • difficulty finding the right words

  • difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops

  • changes in personality and mood

  • depression

Early symptoms of dementia (sometimes called cognitive impairment) are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. This means you might not notice if you have them, and family and friends may not notice them or take them seriously for some time.

In dementia, the brain becomes more damaged and works less well over time. The symptoms of dementia tend to change and become more severe.

For this reason, it's important to talk to your GP sooner rather than later if you are worried about memory problems.

The speed at which symptoms get worse, and the way that symptoms develop, depends on what's causing the dementia, as well as overall health. This means that the symptoms and experience of dementia can vary greatly from person to person.

Some people may also have more than one condition – for example, they may have Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia at the same time.

While dementia has many symptoms that are similar whatever the cause, the different forms of dementia do have some particular symptoms.

Symptoms specific to vascular dementia

The symptoms of vascular dementia can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse, although they can also develop gradually over many months or years. 

People with vascular dementia may also experience stroke-like symptoms, including muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of their body.

Symptoms specific to dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and people with the condition typically also experience:

  • periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion 

  • visual hallucinations

  • becoming slower in their physical movements

Symptoms specific to frontotemporal dementia

Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia typically include changes in emotion, personality and behaviour. For example, someone with this type of dementia may become less sensitive to other people’s emotions, perhaps making them seem cold and unfeeling.

They may also lose some of their inhibitions, leading to behaviour that is out of character, such as making tactless or inappropriate comments.

Some people with frontotemporal dementia also have language problems. This may include not speaking, speaking less than usual or having problems finding the right words.

So to conclude

So to sign off I am calling for CRAFT pamphlets to be located in doctor’s surgeries (that’s if I can find the one I belong to) to make sure more people are aware of the early signs of dementia onset by regaling you with a true story of two of my contemporaries, who were passing on the stairs and stopped to chat.  At the end of the chat the one who was going up went down and the one who was going down went up. Where they having a craft moment?  Yes, they were, but that’s the government for you!

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