How much do you know about dementia?

Less than half of people in Wales feel they have a good understanding of dementia. Alzheimer's Society is trying to change that.

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Dementia review a 'wake up call' says charity

Alzheimer's Society in Wales says there needs to be a 'step change' in the way dementia services are commissioned in Wales. Sue Phelps, the charity's director, says preventative services can be a "lifeline" for people with dementia and their carers.

This review is a wake-up call. It has long been recognised that health and social care must be better integrated, but recognition is one thing and delivering much needed change is another.

We work closely with local authorities and health boards and understand the pressures they are under financially, but we need to make sure money spent on services for people with dementia is used effectively. We must ensure there is enough funding in the system to allow us to protect the most vulnerable.

– Sue Phelps, director Alzheimer's Society in Wales

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Current dementia arrangements 'not sustainable'

The CSSIW review into dementia care took place between July 2013 and January this year. As part of the review, the inspectorate visited five local authorities to look at how well services for people with dementia and their carers was being commissioned.

The report found:

  • significant gaps in the planning and provision of prevention and early intervention services
  • the commissioning of preventative services from the third sector is ad hoc
  • a need for greater focus on the quality of care and people's quality of life when monitoring service contracts.

By 2021, the number of people with dementia across Wales is projected to increase by 31% and by as much as 44% in some rural areas.

Local authorities and health boards must increase the pace at which they are transforming services to deliver integrated models of care that will effectively support people with dementia and their carers.

The report identifies that the current arrangements for commissioning services are not sustainable in the face of projected future demands and financial pressures.

– Imelda Richardson, CSSIW Chief Inspector

'Major changes' needed in dementia provision

The review took place between July 2013 and January 2014 Credit: Daniel Karmann/DPA

Major changes need to be made in the way dementia services are planned and commissioned in Wales, according to a report from the Care and Social Service Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

The report found that there are 'significant gaps' in the planning and provision of early intervention services and there is a need for 'greater focus' on the quality of care provided by local authorities and health boards.

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Healthy lifestyle could help reduce risk of dementia

Living a healthy lifestyle could dramatically reduce the risk of developing dementia - according to a major piece of new research. A study of more than two thousand middle-aged men in Caerphilly found the risk can be cut by 60 percent.

Exercise was the key factor but cutting out on drinking alcohol and smoking, as well as eating more healthy food could also have a huge impact. Our correspondent Carole Green reports.

New study finds dementia risk reduced by exercise

old person with weights
Recent surveys show that less than 1% of people in Wales live a completely healthy lifestyle Credit: PA

A study which has taken over 35 years to complete has found that exercise can reduce the risk of dementia.

Cardiff University scientists have found that healthy behaviours including no smoking, low alcohol intake, healthy eating and regular exercise can reduce the effects of dementia.

Over 2,235 men were surveyed over 35 years in what is one of the longest investigations into the influence of environmental factors in a chronic disease.

The people who consistently lived a healthy lifestyle had a 60 per cent decline in dementia and cognitive decline.

More than 2,000 take part in Memory Walk

walkers starting memory walk
Thousands of people - many in matching t-shirts - have been taking part in the Memory Walk in Bute Park. Credit: Tom Sheldrick / ITV News

More than two thousand people have been taking in part in the Cardiff Memory Walk to raise money for dementia sufferers and their carers.

It's thought this year's event is the biggest ever. With a third of people over 65 expected to die from dementia, those fundraising say it's a great cause.

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