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The more we know Alzheimer's,
the better we can help

May 2017

sad couple hugging

Next week is Dementia Awareness Week here in the UK –  and how appropriate this is for everyone.

This dreadful condition is set to become the biggest killer of the century and one way or another we will all be affected. If we don’t develop it ourselves...and my goodness the risk is high as one in six people in their senior years develop dementia – then it is more than likely we will know someone who does develop dementia in one form or another.

At the moment there are over 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and someone is being diagnosed with dementia every three minutes.

And the saddest thing is that according to the Alzheimer’s Society, many people are facing the problem alone.

its biggest ever awareness campaign calling on society to unite against dementia.

Alzheimer's Society

Alzheimer's Society has launched its biggest ever awareness campaign calling on society to unite against dementia.

The campaign highlights the following:

  • The scale and urgency of dementia: Over one million people are set to have dementia by 2021. It’s also the public’s most feared health condition – but is one of the least understood, with stigma still rife
  • The broken social care system: People with dementia receive poor, substandard care from a system starved of funding. Often it’s family carers who bear the emotional and financial burden of this
  • Dementia can affect anyone: Dementia is not a condition that only affects people in later life – in fact over 40,000 people under 65 are now living with dementia.
  • Dementia causes devastating loss of identity and strips people of their memories and connections, yet is the only top ten cause of death we can’t prevent, cure or slow down and funding of research is desperately low

During next week starting May 18th, the charity will host a first of its kind dementia policy and research conference. It will unite experts in policy, research, government, health and social care to discuss and understand what action is needed to create a better deal for people living with dementia, the biggest health and care challenge of the 21st century. This conference will see the launch of a new in depth report into the reality of living with dementia in the UK today.

Part of the week is also to help inform everyone about the disease, including:

Dementia is a disease of the brain which causes nerve cells to die, damaging the structure and chemistry of the brain.  No two types of dementia are the same and types can include:

vascular dementia (caused by problems with blood supply to the brain)
mixed dementia (usually Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia)
dementia with Lewy bodies
frontotemporal dementia (including Pick’s disease)

Everyone experiences dementia in their own way. Lots of things can affect this, including the person’s attitude to their diagnosis and their physical health. Other factors include the relationships they have with friends and family, the treatment and support they get, and their surroundings.

The Society also wants to highlight the fact that it is not just about losing your memory, although it does often start by affecting the short-term memory.  But dementia can also affect the way people think, speak, understand things and how they feel and behave.

The good news is that people can still live well with dementia and along with drugs and other treatments, there are a number of things that can help with dementia including:

  • cognitive stimulation, which might involve doing word puzzles or discussing current affairs
  • life story work, sharing memories and experiences with a carer or nurse to create a ‘life story book’
  • keeping as active as possible – physically, mentally and socially – which can boost memory and self esteem, and help avoid depression.

The Society hopes that by understanding more about dementia,  not only will people seek treatment earlier, but also people affected by friends or relations suffering from dementia will have a better understand of what help is needed and what can be done.

Find out more about all the work that is going on by the Alzheimer’s Society at: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk



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