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The Alzheimer’s Society has said “five simple changes” to a persons lifestyle could make a significant difference in preventing dementia. The charity states that regular exercise as the most important factor despite growing evidence that the condition is linked to lifestyles.
Dr Clare Walton from Alzheimer’s Society said: “Some 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia but with no cure yet, we need a significant public health effort to attempt to reduce the number of future cases of the condition.
“We know that what is good for your heart is good for your head and there are simple things you can start doing now to reduce your risk of developing dementia. Regular exercise is a good place to start as well as eating a Mediterranean diet and avoiding smoking.
Alzheimer’s Society encourages people to follow five simple things to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia:
• Exercise – there’s more evidence that regular exercise will prevent dementia than any other measure.
• Eat Mediterranean food – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts, a little red wine and not much meat or dairy.
• Manage other health conditions – other conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure both increase the risk of developing dementia
• Avoid smoking
• Use it or lose it – scientists believe that frequently challenging the brain with new things is the key, for example taking up a new hobby, learning a language or even walking an unfamiliar route.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) has announced that nearly 90% of councils in England no longer offer social care to people whose needs are ranked low to moderate despite the fact that the government says councils have been given an extra £1.1bn to help protect social care in 2014.
Charities across the UK are warning that hundreds of thousands of people needing care are struggling without help, as when applying for social care needs are assessed as either critical, substantial, moderate or low.
In recent years the number of councils able to help those at the lower end of the scale has gone down as they struggle to balance their budgets. In 2010-11, Adass says 72% of councils in England only offered help with care to adults with substantial or critical needs. The association says that figure has now risen to 89%.
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Recent research undertaken by the London School of Economics and Kings College London on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society has found that most individuals with dementia in the UK are faced with a “care tax” as they have to sort out care for themeselves.
The Alzheimer’s Society found that on average, the equivalent of £32,242 a year was spent on care per patient with less than 30% of this amount being funded by councils or the NHS. The charity criticised this unfair “care tax” as those with cancer or heart problems got their care free on the NHS.
The care of those with dementia is becoming a growing issue as whilst over the last 7 years there had been no change in the proportion of older people getting the disease, numbers would still rise from 850,000 now to more than two million by 2051 because of the ageing population.
However the report also stated that there was a rise in younger adults with the disease – up from 17,000 to more than 40,000.
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Plans to cap the amount of money people in England spend on their social care could be jeopardised by a lack of funding, councils say.
Reforms to the adult social care system will cap the amount some people pay towards their care at £72,000 and allow them to apply for council funding.
But a poll of 152 councils in England found nine in 10 had concerns over the cost of the new scheme.
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