The Challenge of Dementia No. 5
We hear talk about the government’s new 10 year plan for the NHS and the difference it may make to the treatment we receive. Meantime we need to take some responsibility for our own health. By watching our diet, avoiding smoking and alcohol, keeping our cholesterol and blood pressure in check, staying physically and mentally active, we can reduce the risk of many diseases, including dementia.
When it comes to dementia, however much money is pumped into the health service, there is sadly, as yet, no treatment to slow the progress of this disease. The NHS is frustrated by being unable to offer much comfort to those living with the condition. Yet without proper support, sufferers can become considerably worse, with the knock-on effect that a rapid decline can have on those around them.
While we wait for improved social care, we should all take some responsibility for supporting those who, through no fault of their own, are dealt the dementia card. We need to learn how to support those in need and perhaps resolve to improve the tools we have to help others.
However, there is a limit to the skills we can acquire and specialist support is essential. I have already described the enormous help both clinical and otherwise that specialist Admiral Nurses provide through their national helpline and hopefully, one day, face to face.
Having supported Dementia Harborough last year, and because I have seen the positive impact that VASL (Voluntary Action South Leicestershire) and Dementia UK Leicestershire have on people I have come across locally, I chose these two charities as beneficiaries of the Rotary Club’s Trolley Dash last December. The event raised over £1,500.
VASL is based in Market Harborough. Its general manager, Maureen O’Malley is passionate about the wide variety of support they provide. Through her, I met Kerry Turnbull, who has many years of experience supporting those with dementia and their carers.
To contact VASL ‘Support for Carers, Leicestershire’ tel 01858 468543.
Some other useful links are:
Click here to read more articles in the series 'The Challenge of Dementia' by Graham Thompson