Home' Intouch : In Touch Winter 2016 Contents SERVICES
Services and programs provided by Alzheimer’s Australia
NSW educate and support people with dementia, their
families and carers in living well with the disease.
Living with Dementia: The Living with Dementia
program provides information on dementia and support
options. The program is group-based, and encompasses
education and sharing experiences. After attending this
program, participants say they feel a sense of hope
following their diagnosis, and that it is still possible to live
well with the disease.
Dementia Advisory Service: Dementia Advisory
Services (DAS) workers provide dementia-specifc
information and support to people living with dementia,
their families and carers. DAS provides practical advice
about coping and living well with dementia in an effort to
enhance quality of life and minimise the risk of premature
or inappropriate admission to long-term residential care.
Younger Onset Dementia: The Younger Onset
Dementia Key Worker program aims to improve quality of
life for people with younger onset dementia (prior to age
65), their families and their carers. This is accomplished
by providing them with access to a Key Worker to serve
as their primary point of contact. This Key Worker will
also work with them to develop strategies that optimise
their engagement with support and care options. Key
Workers deliver individualised, person-centred support,
information and advice to improve quality of life.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse: Providing
support to people from non-English speaking
backgrounds, known as culturally and linguistically diverse
communities (CaLD), is the role of CaLD link workers.
They raise awareness and acceptance in the community
that dementia has a medical basis in order to debunk
myths about the disease. This helps remove barriers
for people in these communities, and it enables better
engagement with health and community providers.
For more information, call the National
Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or email
DEPRESSION AND DEMENTIA:
IS THERE A LINK?
PROFESSOR HENRY BRODATY AO AND PROFESSOR
PERMINDER SACHDEV AM, CO-DIRECTORS,
CENTRE FOR HEALTHY BRAIN AGEING (CHEBA)
Many people have questioned if there is a link
between stress and dementia, and Alzheimer’s in
particular. In 1991, a group of epidemiologists pooled
their data and found that there was a link between
depression and dementia, but not stress or anxiety.
An 11-year longitudinal study of more than 3000
people published in Lancet Psychiatry sheds new
light on the link between depression and dementia.
Researchers found that compared to those who
never had depression over this period, only the group
with increasing depression over time had a higher
risk of dementia generally and Alzheimer’s disease
specifcally. Those with intermittent episodes of
depression or persistently high depression scores did
not have an increased risk.
They reached this conclusion by asking people who
had been diagnosed with dementia or their families
about their past psychiatric history. This link was
stronger for people who developed depression closer
to the onset of dementia, but it still existed even for
people who had had their depression more than 10
years before their dementia started.
There were other factors to consider as well. People
with history of any type of depression were older,
had higher rates of smoking, alcohol consumption
and high blood pressure. The links were also affected
by history of stroke, the gene ApoE e4 and use of
antidepressants. Even so, the main fndings held even
when the researchers adjusted for these.
The good news for people with a history of
depression over their lifetime is that it does not
appear to be a dementia risk. However, depression
coming on later in life might herald dementia
pathology – either vascular or Alzheimer’s – before it
becomes clinically apparent. Whether early treatment
of depression or of cognitive symptoms makes a
difference is unknown. In the meantime, keeping
physically active and socially engaged protect against
both cognitive decline and depression.
Find out more about CHeBA at www.cheba.unsw.
ed.au. Professor Brodaty is an Honorary Medical
Advisor to Alzheimer's Australia NSW.
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