Everyone’s done it, gone into a room but can’t remember why or forgotten someone’s name, or that word for something, it’s just on the tip of your tongue. We all write down PIN numbers, even our own mobile numbers, and put computer passwords in notebooks, even though we know we’re not supposed to, just in case we forget. But what if it wasn’t just a bit of absent-mindedness, what if it happened more often, and was something more serious?
What if it was, dementia? There are currently 665,065 people in England who have dementia and an estimated twenty-one million people in England have a close friend or family member with the condition. In Leeds alone, there are around 8,500 people living with dementia.
This means that there is a good chance you already know someone, work with someone or are even related to someone who is living with dementia. In the UK there will be over a million people with dementia by 2021. Dementia Awareness week (18-24 May) can help you find out what you can do: for yourself and for those around you.
But first of all, what is dementia?
Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms including memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication skills, and a reduction in a person’s abilities and skills in carrying out daily activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and caring for yourself.
Dementia is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. This progression will vary from person to person and each person will experience dementia in a different way. Although the person will have some of the above symptoms, the degree to which they affect an individual will vary and not all people will have all of these symptoms.
What can I do to help?
It is possible to live well with dementia, especially with the support of friends. Anybody can become a friend. It’s as simple as just understanding a bit more about dementia. There are helpful tips and ideas to help you support the people you know with dementia and their carers too.
To become a Dementia Friend all you have to do is: watch this video
In the next post we’ll find out what more about living well with dementia and Peer Support groups with the Budding Artists, a men’s group and the On Yer Bike group.