As we grow older, many of us become concerned about developing dementia. Especially if we have cared for a parent, relative or friend with dementia, we want to feel like we have the power to change our own fate.
Recent guidance published by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggests that there are ways in which dementia might be prevented or delayed by choices we make in our mid-life (40-70’s).
There is no question that leading a healthy lifestyle in your mid-life will have a positive impact on your later years, but the ageing process is not fixed. Some people will experience dementia in their 50’s and others won’t be affected until their 90’s. It’s vital to maintain moderate physical activity and cognitive stimulation on a regular basis to delay frailty, whatever your age.
Volunteering is a great way of staying physically and mentally active post retirement. Many of our volunteers tell us that they have been given a new lease of life, as well as a sense of purpose at time when their social roles are changing.
Social and mental stimulation not only has positive impact on our volunteers but also for the older people they are caring for. Conversation or social stimulation for an older person, who maybe only has one visitor a week, can have a huge impact on their morale and mental wellbeing. And for those living with dementia, our volunteers can provide a break to their partner or family member so they can have some time to themselves for a short while.
As dementia remains high on the health agenda, Royal Voluntary Service is looking at ways in which we can better support those living with dementia and their carers. Alongside our work providing on-ward support for patients with dementia and home support services, we are going to be trialing a new dementia service in Oxfordshire and elsewhere which offer activities that are focused on cognitive and physical stimulation. Together we want to improve the well-being of those living with dementia and their carers.
Volunteering is a great place to start. To find out more about opportunities in your area visit our volunteering section.
Posted by Dr Allison Smith, Head of Strategy and Development, Royal Voluntary Service at 00:00
Monday, 30 November 2015.