Research: Vitamin D deficiency linked to dementia risk

Some fantastic research carried out at the University of Exeter has discovered a link between Vitamin D and a higher risk of dementia. (Source: Alzheimer’s Society)

People with very low levels of vitamin D in the blood may be twice as likely to develop dementia, according to a large British study published in Neurology on 6 August 2014. According to the research, those with low levels of vitamin D in the blood were 53 per cent more likely to develop any form of dementia, and those with severe vitamin D deficiencies were at a 125% greater risk.

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society said:

‘Shedding light on risk factors for dementia is one of the most important tasks facing today’s health researchers. While earlier studies have suggested that a lack of the sunshine vitamin is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, this study found that people with very low vitamin D levels were more than twice as likely to develop any kind of dementia.

‘During this hottest of summers, hitting the beach for just 15 minutes of sunshine is enough to boost your vitamin D levels. However, we’re not quite ready to say that sunlight or vitamin D supplements will reduce your risk of dementia. Large scale clinical trials are needed to determine whether increasing vitamin D levels in those with deficiencies can help prevent dementia from developing.’

At Sussex Grange, we encourage our residents and our clients in the community to get outside and see the sky – even just for a few minutes! It can be the difference between having a bad day and a good day, and lifts the mood of our residents in the house when the sun is shining. There is clearly further research to take place, but this study could have an impact on the future of dementia. For more information please read the news article directly.

Age UK: Don’t cut care petition – what could it mean for you?

How much time do you spend thinking about getting dressed in the morning to get ready for work or college / school? Probably very little time at all, however, for some elderly people, getting dressed can sap all their energy for most of the morning. We take some of these tasks for granted, but for the elderly, they are a huge undertaking, especially as the colder weather approaches, and the days become shorter. Right now, more than a million older people are left to struggle by each day without any support, and this number is growing all the time.

Ferocious cuts to funding for care at home mean that many older people are sacrificing their dignity because they can’t get the support they need. This is because unlike your GP or local hospital, services to help people stay safe and independent at home are mainly arranged by local councils, whose budgets have been severely cut.

Spending on services like home carers, meals on wheels, and day care has dropped by more than £1 billion in the last five years. This is having a huge knock-on effect on the NHS, where each year £669 million is being spent because older people are finding themselves trapped in hospital for days or even weeks, despite being well enough to leave, simply because there isn’t support available for them in their community.

You can do something about this – direct to the government. Sign the petition online to encourage the government to invest in care for older people. The petition is also available to print and send by post once signatures have been obtained, but this could mean the difference between someone having a hot meal every day and a wash over going months on end without washing, and eating toast as it is the only meal they can make easily.