18 June 2020 – Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day – Raise Some Dough!
Posted by Kate Makin on June 18, 2020
Photo by Inna Skaldutska from iStock
With most of the nation still in lockdown, the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day 2020 will be looking a little different to previous years. Despite this, the Alzheimer’s Society is keen for as many people as possible to get involved and to host their own Cupcake Day; either online, at home, or at a later date. The aim is to fundraise and raise awareness of dementia through the nation’s love of baking, and the focus this year will definitely be on virtual baking with family and friends. Baking is a great activity for all ages; from parents looking for home-school activity inspiration to grandparents hosting a virtual bake off!
Fundraising kits are available from the Alzheimer’s Society, and these kits contain everything that you need, including donation boxes and gift aid forms, as well as delicious recipe ideas. The money raised will go to the Alzheimer’s Society to help them in supporting those affected by dementia and also help to fund research and dementia care and support.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia develops when the brain is affected by this disease, and the connections between the nerve cells of the brain are lost. This leads to symptoms including memory loss and difficulty with thinking, problem-solving, or language.
Currently, some drug treatments can help with some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no cure, and sadly, it is a progressive disease, meaning that over time, more symptoms develop and get worse.
It is estimated that currently around 52,000 people in the UK have Alzheimer’s disease and, with an ageing population, this figure is likely to increase. It typically affects people over the age of 65, but younger people can also be affected. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease significantly increases with age.
How does Alzheimer’s disease affect daily life?
As an occupational therapist, I have worked with many individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease. While typically they can remember things from many years ago, it is their short term, or day-to-day memory, that is affected. Typical early signs include forgetting someone’s name, forgetting recent events, getting lost, forgetting appointments and losing items.
Individuals often go on to develop other problems, such as repeating themselves and have difficulty planning and organising everyday tasks, such as making a meal. Individuals often lose track of the day, or date. Changes in the person’s mood can also occur, for example, they may become anxious, or irritable.
During these early stages, I support the individual and their family in coming to terms with these changes. I also recommend practical aids to help someone with their memory, such as using a weekly pill dispenser. Other electronic reminders are also useful, such as a memory aid pendant.
As the disease progresses, people need more help with day-to-day tasks. They may start to behave and act differently, for example, becoming agitated, or aggressive. These behavioural changes are often difficult for their families.
As an occupational therapist, I regularly suggest to family members how activities can be adapted, and advise them on the use of reminiscence aids to try and maximise a person’s quality of life and reduce some of their distress.
As a person’s memory continues to deteriorate, further assistive aids are useful. These may include a day and night analogue dementia clock if a person is confused and experiencing poor sleep, or a wandering alert floor and door sensor kit if a person is at risk of wandering and getting lost.
In the later stages, people with Alzheimer’s disease become less aware of what is happening around them, and they often become frailer and eventually require help with most daily activities. During these later stages, my involvement as an occupational therapist is likely to concern mobility, and in particular, moving and handling aids. Further aids assist in making tasks safer and easier for carers and more dignified for the person themselves. For example, wheelchairs, transfer aids and dignity feeder cups are common assistive aids that I recommend to care-givers during these later stages.
In my experience, Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult condition to cope with, both for the individual, as well as their family and loved ones. There is however a lot of information and support available, for example from the Alzheimer’s Society and Carers UK.
Why not support the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day this year? 2020 will be a landmark year in many ways, but this is also an opportunity for people to be innovative and creative to support this worthwhile cause. While flour is back on our supermarket shelves, it is time for the nation to get baking and raise some dough!