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Friday 26 May 2017
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Dementia Awareness Week 2017

Dementia Awareness Week: let’s unite against dementia

A third of all babies born today will develop dementia in their lifetime, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. This statistic, in addition to the fact that dementia is accountable for more deaths in England and Wales than any other condition without a currently known cure, explains why Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is supporting the national Dementia Awareness Week movement between 14 to 20 May.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and it doesn’t just affect older people. In fact over 40,000 people under 65 in the UK have dementia and subsequently not only experience involuntary memory problems but also difficulties with planning, thinking things through, struggling to keep up with a conversation, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour.

Unfortunately, despite much perseverance, researchers are still yet to discover a cure for dementia. However, that does not mean someone with a diagnosis cannot lead active, purposeful and meaningful lives and continue doing the things they enjoy most.

Throughout Dementia Awareness Week, Derbyshire Healthcare will be attempting to raise awareness and increase public understanding about what dementia is, how to identify the signs and symptoms of memory loss and the onset of dementia in the behaviour of ourselves and our loved ones, and why seeking an early diagnosis is so important.

Symptoms of dementia

Dementia affects people in very different ways, especially in the early stages. A person with dementia will often display problems with some of the following, which will become worse over time:

  • Day-to-day memory – for example, difficulty recalling events that happened recently

  • Concentrating, planning or organising – for example, difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (such as cooking a meal)

  • Language – for example, difficulties following a conversation or finding the right word for something

  • Visuospatial skills – for example, problems judging distances (such as on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions

  • Orientation – for example, losing track of the day or date, or becoming confused about where they are.

 

A person with dementia will also often have changes in their mood. For example, they may become frustrated or irritable, apathetic or withdrawn, anxious, easily upset or unusually sad. With some types of dementia, the person may see things that are not really there (visual hallucinations) or strongly believe things that are not true (delusions).

Help and support, locally and nationally

Anyone who believes they might be experiencing early signs of dementia is advised to speak to their GP for further advice and support in the first instance.

Alternatively, if they prefer, individuals can also contact Derby and Derbyshire’s dementia support service Making Space by calling 01332 497640 (Derby) or 01246 592010 (Derbyshire).

Information and advice about dementia can also be found on the NHS Choices website