Helping primary care to support people with dementia

Reducing the risk of developing dementia

February 8 2016

There is now a sufficient amount of research evidence that exercising, eating well and adopting other lifestyle approaches can reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life. To support this we have published a collection of content under the new topic of ‘Risk reduction’ on the Dementia Roadmaps.

These approaches also reduce the risk of other important diseases, but they may also help people already diagnosed with dementia maintain their independence and brain functioning for longer.

The following approaches are recommended by Public Health England and NICE:

  • Getting into the habit of taking regular, daily, short periods of exercise such as a 15 minute walk.
  • Making small steps to lose some weight and thereby also reduce your risk of diabetes (or helping you manage diabetes if you are already diagnosed).
  • Looking after your mental health and seeking help promptly if you feel depressed.
  • Seek advice from your GP if you don’t feel refreshed after a nights sleep, especially if you snore and/or are overweight.
  • Eating a diet which is good for your heart (what’s good for your heart is good for your brain).
  • Stopping smoking using whichever local support network or medication which suits you best.
  • Reducing your alcohol intake to a maximum of 14units per week (moderate intake)

Resources to support risk reduction

Dementia Atlas: Putting a focus on dementia

The Dementia Atlas is an interactive map that plots data about dementia care and support, allowing people to compare the quality of dementia care across the country.

Dementia rarely travels alone: living with dementia and other conditions

This report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dementia examines the scale of difficulty faced by people living with both dementia and other health conditions, and how the health and social care system can provide holistic, person-centred care and support for this growing body of people.

Health matters: midlife approaches to reduce dementia risk

This guidance published by Public Health England makes the case for action in midlife to promote healthy lifestyles that can reduce the risk of dementia.

Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 Implementation Plan

This implementation plan outlines how the 50 commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020 will be met, ensuring that England becomes the world-leader in dementia care, research and awareness by 2020.

The dementia profile

The dementia profile developed by the Dementia Intelligence Network collects new and existing data on dementia at both Clinical Commissioning Group and local authority level. This will assist the local planning of services and support areas to make sustainable improvements from an easily accessible online platform.

The Daily Sparkle

The Daily Sparkle is a professionally written daily and weekly reminiscence and activity tool supported by the UK’s leading care organisations such as the NHS, AgeUK and DementiaUK.

Dementia core skills education and training framework

This framework published by Skills for Health, Health Education England and Skills for Care sets out the essential skills and knowledge necessary for all staff involved in dementia care.

Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to delay or prevent onset

This guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence aims to increase the amount of time that people can be independent, healthy and active in later life.

Approaching an unthinkable future – Understanding the support needs of people living with young onset dementia

This report explores the experiences of people living with young onset dementia contacted by Dementia Pathfinders during a social care workforce training project in 2014 and 2015.

Prevalence of dementia in population groups by protected characteristics: a systematic review of the literature

This literature review published by Public Health England examines evidence on how the prevalence of dementia varies with different characteristics, such as ethnicity, gender and religion.

A practical guide to healthy ageing

This guide published by NHS England and Age UK contains advice to help improve the health and general fitness of people of any age, but it is particularly relevant for people who are about 70 years or older.

World Alzheimer Report 2015: The Global Impact of Dementia

The World Alzheimer Report 2015, ‘The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends’ makes key recommendations to provide a global framework for action on dementia.

Dementia Diaries

Dementia Diaries is a national project that brings together people’s diverse experiences of living with dementia as a series of audio diaries.

The Sound Doctor: Getting the best out of life with dementia

A series of films providing information to families living with dementia through the entertaining medium of TV/Film.

World Alzheimer Report 2014, Dementia and Risk Reduction

The World Alzheimer Report 2014, Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors critically examines the evidence for the existence of modifiable risk factors for dementia.

Blackfriars Consensus on promoting brain health

The Blackfriars Consensus, published by the UK Health Forum and Public Health England, explores the potential for incorporation of dementia risk reduction into current approaches for non-communicable diseases.

Be head strong

This guidance published by the Alzheimer’s Society contains tips to help people reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Can dementia be prevented?

These web pages on the NHS Choices portal give advice on leading a healthy lifestyle to help lower your risk of developing dementia when you are older.

Am I at risk of developing dementia?

This factsheet published by the Alzheimer’s Society explains what we know about the risks associated with developing different types of dementia, and gives some advice on the steps people can take to reduce their risk.

Groups to support risk reduction

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia (APPG)

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia (APPG) is a cross party group made up of MPs and Peers with an interest in dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Alzheimer’s Research UK is a leading research charity for dementia, dedicated to funding scientific studies to find ways to treat, cure or prevent all dementias.

Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dementia UK

Dementia UK is a national charity, committed to improving quality of life for all people affected by dementia. The charity provides Admiral Nurses, specialist dementia nurses who provide practical and emotional support to family carers of people with dementia.

Health Education England

Health Education England (HEE) works across England to deliver high quality education and training for a better health and healthcare workforce.

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