THIS week is Dementia Awareness Week (17th -23rd May 2015) and yesterday Hedon Library played host to a Dementia Awareness Session led by Emma Williams which outlined the personal impact of dementia and what people can do to help those living with the condition.
Around 850,000 people in the UK have diagnosed dementia and perhaps 5,000 of those live in the East Riding – and there may be many more living with symptoms but are yet undiagnosed. It is likely that most people reading this will know of someone with dementia.
The session yesterday was keen to convey five things that people should know about dementia:
- It’s not a natural part of ageing
- It’s caused by diseases of the brain. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s
- It’s not just about losing your memory – it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks
- It’s possible to live well with dementia
- There’s more to a person than the dementia
“The Hedon Blog is declaring itself a Dementia Friend. We hope that through the blog in a series of articles we can help raise awareness of the condition, encourage more people to become Dementia Friends and encourage local action so that Hedon can justifiably call itself a dementia friendly place that aims to include people with dementia and contribute towards their quality of life. Another aim is to encourage people to seek early diagnosis of dementia.”
There are some information resources available locally. Hedon Library boasts a collection of books on dementia. It also hosts a digital reminiscence therapy unit – this state of the art technology lets people with dementia and their carers create a digital life story book which is a personal reminiscence tool that can include photos and music. Someone in the early stages of dementia can put together their life story into a digital book; the ability to revisit this later as the dementia progresses, can be a source of comfort and stimulation.
Warren Branton has been using the digital reminiscence therapy unit at Hedon Library with his wife Irene who has dementia. He said: “The digital memory book has been a real source of comfort for Irene, especially being able to add in familiar music which she loves. It’s user friendly and has been an enjoyable experience for us both.”
If your workplace or organisation deals with the public, then it might be beneficial to hold your own Dementia Information session for staff. Emma Williams from the Alzheimer’s Society may be able to help with this – contact her on 01482 211255.
There is a massive amount of information available at the Dementia Friends Website and some resources to download too. This YouTube video available there is particularly pertinent. As it demonstrates, in many ways being dementia friendly is just extending good neighbourliness:
If you are worried about memory loss, book an appointment to see your doctor. He or she can rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms to dementia. But the earlier you seek help, the sooner you can get the information, advice or support that you need.
transforming the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about dementia