The Challenge of Dementia No. 7
This month I turn to another support group, The Alzheimer’s Society. Robbie Lane, Alzheimer's Society Media Manager (and Dementia Champion), Central England writes:
Alzheimer’s Society is committed to ensuring the rights of people affected by dementia are recognised and, until the day we find a cure, we will be here to support anyone affected.
Too many are still facing dementia alone without adequate support. In Leicestershire there are about 12,000 people with dementia, including about 1,200 in Harborough. We urgently need to find a cure, improve care and offer help and understanding for people affected.
How can I avoid getting dementia?
However, there are steps we can all take to reduce our risk of developing the condition, which research has shown increases significantly if you smoke, are obese, have high blood pressure or have high cholesterol. Regular exercise has been shown to lower the risk of developing dementia, as well as reducing the amount of salt in your diet. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables provides your body with high levels of antioxidants which may help to protect against some of the damage to brain cells associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
What help is available to people with dementia and carers?
Locally, Dementia Support Workers can offer valuable information and guidance if you call our county office on (0116) 231 6921. For general advice you can also call our National Dementia helpline on 0300 222 1122 or via alzheimers.org.uk.
We provide local support groups and can direct you to groups provided by other organisations. In Market Harborough we run an activity group which meets at Market Harborough Methodist Church whilst we run the Forget Me Not Memory Café at Countesthorpe Village Hall.
Also offered in the Kibworth area is Side by Side, which is a new Alzheimer's Society service that helps people with dementia to keep doing the things they love. The service helps people get out and about, with the support of a volunteer, doing an activity of their choice. This might be anything from joining a local club, to going to the football, a cafe or simply a stroll in the park. This extra support can make it easier for people with dementia, who might sometimes feel isolated or find it difficult to leave their homes, to do things we might take for granted and feel part of their local community. The service is highly flexible and built around the individual and their needs.
We are also particularly keen to hear from people who would like to volunteer for this service. You can find out more by calling (0116) 231 6921.
What can I do to help?
We want people to join our Dementia Friends programme which is the UK’s biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia, to transform the way they think, act and talk about it.
Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
Finally, we urge you all to unite with us on Dementia Action Week, 20-26 May, when events will be taking place across Leicestershire and you can get involved by visiting alzheimers.org.uk/DAW.
Do come along to the Age Well event on Saturday 30 March 10am - 2pm in the Kibworth Grammar School. There will be many support groups and agencies ready to provide lots of information and advice on ageing well!