In the UK at present there are approximately 10 million individuals suffering from a neurological condition that have a significant impact on daily living. Although neurological conditions can affect any individual at any point in their lives it has been found that these conditions are more prevalent in the elderly and this may be the result of a number of different factors including environmental factors and genetics.
In America it is estimated that one in four adults suffer from mental illness, and 6% of those individuals suffer debilitating effects as a result. In America there many other neurological conditions that are prevalent such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
These neurological disorders can have a significant impact on an elderly individuals daily life. The main issue that affects an elderly individual is memory disorders; these are often the result of conditions such as: Dementia, Motor Neurone Disease, and Parkinson’s.
Dementia is one of the most common neurological conditions to affect the elderly population. In the UK there is currently over 800,000 individuals suffering from Dementia, and approximately a third of those individuals are aged 95 or over.
Dementia is a condition that causes an ongoing decline of the brain and in an individual’s abilities, resulting in them experiencing problems with: thinking speed, memory, language understanding and judgement. This in turn can cause an individual to encounter a number of difficulties with daily living, and this is largely because it can make tasks much more challenging as the ability to remember and concentrate is greatly reduced.
At present there is no cure for Dementia, however for milder cases of Dementia there are medications that have been shown to be effective in relieving some of the symptoms. For example Antipsychotics could be used on a short term basis to treat individuals suffering with Dementia who display aggressive behaviour, or those who may be at risk of harming themselves or others. However medications may not be effective for all individuals who are diagnosed with Dementia.
It is estimated that 1 in every 500 individuals are suffering from Parkinson’s in the UK, and most of those who are diagnosed with the condition are aged 50 or over.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, that is caused by a lack of Dopamine as a result of the death of a number of nerve cells in the brain.
There are a number of symptoms that could indicate that an individual is suffering from Parkinson’s, and these include: tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, pain and tiredness. It is difficult to diagnose Parkinson’s , and this is largely because the only way Parkinson’s can be diagnosed is through a specialist examining the individual for any physical signs of Parkinson’s, and taking a detail history of any symptoms that the individual may be experiencing.
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, however there are medications available that may help an individual to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s
Motor Neurone Disease
It is estimated that 2 in every 100,000 people are diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in the UK each year. Generally Motor Neurone Disease affects individuals over the age of 40, and is most common in individuals between the ages of 50 and 70.
Motor Neurone Disease is a rare condition that causes parts of the nervous system to become damaged, which in turn causes progressive weakness and muscle wasting. This condition can have a significant impact on daily living and cause an individual to experience great difficulty in completing a number of activities including: gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing, and breathing. The main symptoms of Motor Neurone Disease include: a weakened grip, shoulder weakness, leg dragging, slurred speech, and a foot drop as a result of ankle weakness. Symptoms generally progress over time, and this may leave an individual unable to move, as well as experiencing great difficulties with communication, swallowing and breathing.
There is currently no cure for Motor Neurone Disease, and the only treatment aims at present are to make the individual feel as comfortable as possible, give the individual the best quality of life possible and to compensate for the progressive loss of body function. For example breathing masks and some medications may help to relieve some symptoms of the condition.
Home Care And Neurological Conditions
The implementation of a Home Care package may be extremely beneficial for an individual who is suffering from a neurological condition, and this is largely because a care worker will be able to support an individual with most areas of daily life including: medication management, personal care, meal preparation, domestic duties and they can also help with supporting an individual with completing activities that they enjoy. For example a care worker may be able to help an individual to get out and partake in social interaction opportunities.