Accessibility options |
West London NHS Trust > Patients and carers > Mental and physical health conditions > Dementia


Senior lady in day servicesWhat is dementia?

Dementia damages the structure of the brain and affects a person’s ability to think, use language, remember, understand and make judgements. It can change a person’s personality and make it difficult for them to control their emotions and behave appropriately in social situations.

How common is dementia?

Dementia usually affects people over the age of 60. It is very common, and one in every 20 people over the age of 65 has dementia, and one in five over the age of 80.

Why is it important to get treatment?

In most cases, there is no cure for dementia, and symptoms get worse over time. Even so, it is important to get treatment so that a person can cope better with their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Getting help early can make a big difference to a person’s future because they have time to establish routines that could help them stay independent for longer.

Living with dementia

The changes in the brain slowly lead to memory loss and confusion, so that a person with dementia loses the ability to carry out normal, everyday activities for themselves.
A person with dementia may need a lot of support from carers, and the WLMHT team encourages them to be part of a person’s treatment. Well-organised support can make all the difference, particularly in the early stages of dementia, to a person continuing with the activities that give meaning to their life.

Care at WLMHT

The occupational therapy team at WLMHT work in an equal partnership with a person to develop daily routines that allows them to maintain independence and a satisfying life. Establishing new ways of doing everyday tasks and making alternations to the home can enable a person to continue living in their own home for longer. Medication may also be suggested to relieve some of the symptoms of dementia.
Care at WLMHT includes taking into account each person’s diverse needs and personal treatment preferences.

Research at WLMHT

WLMHT is one of the most research-active mental health trusts in the UK. Research into dementia and cognitive impairment is one of the priority areas for researchers at WLMHT. Patients and carers receiving treatment through our clinical service often benefit from participating in research. Patients and carers are encouraged to ask their doctor or nurse what research studies may be suitable for them.