Dementia Awareness Week 2017 takes place this week (15th – 21st May). This year, the theme of Dementia Awareness Week is ‘Let’s Talk’, and the aim is to reduce the stigma and silence surrounding this common condition. Throughout this week events will be taking place up and down the country to raise awareness and funds for dementia.
With the theme ‘Let’s Talk’, Dementia Awareness Week 2017 is all about opening up and talking. This national campaign to get people talking is aimed at those living with dementia, their friends and family members and anyone worried that they may be in the early stages.
Many people feel too scared, confused or ashamed to speak up about dementia. Some people will often bury their heads in the sand in the hope their symptoms will disappear. However, by getting the message of ‘Let’s Talk’ out there, the Alzheimer’s Society is hopeful that more people will reach out to them for help.
The term dementia actually covers a group of conditions instead of one single disease. All of these conditions are connected to memory problems. All cases of dementia are caused by damage to the normal function of the brain and are considered to be permanent and progressive. Dementia is an increasingly common illness and is set to be the biggest cause of death of the 21st century.
The risk of developing dementia increases with age and most diagnoses are made in people over the age of 65. The symptoms of dementia usually start out slowly and often go overlooked to start with. However, these symptoms will eventually become so severe that they disrupt daily life. Signs to look out for include:
- Memory loss
- Slower thinking speed
- Loss of mental agility
- Difficulties with language
- Unable to understand what is happening
- Impaired judgement
People with dementia may also become apathetic and disinterested in familiar activities. They often have trouble controlling their emotions and may find social situations particularly challenging. As dementia can affect a person’s decision making abilities and their capabilities to look after themselves, many people with the condition will need regular help from friends, relatives or healthcare professionals.
Get Involved With Dementia Awareness Week 2017
Whether you or anyone in your life has been affected by dementia or not, there are plenty of ways you can show your support and get involved with the Let’s Talk campaign. Dementia Awareness Week 2017 is your opportunity to join in with the Alzheimer’s Society’s mission to spread information and get people talking about dementia.
Some of the ways you can get involved include organising a fund-raising pub quiz with your work team and uniting the wider community by hosting a coffee morning and asking for donations for Dementia Awareness Week. If you like the sound of either of these suggestions or have some ideas of your own, request a fundraising pack and materials from the Alzheimer’s Society.
You could also become a Dementia Friend. Dementia Friends are people who make the effort to learn more about the condition and the many small ways they can help. These include spreading information or visiting someone who is suffering from dementia.
There is plenty of support available for people with dementia as well as their friends, family members and carers. If you suspect that you are seeing signs of dementia in yourself or a loved one, it is essential that you make the most of these resources and seek advice as soon as possible.
This article has a comprehensive list of places to turn to in East Berkshire.