Taking a stand to confront dementia

Somerset County Council is encouraging people worried about dementia to get better informed about the condition during Dementia Awareness Week (15-21st May 2016).

Dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65 (one in 14 people in this age group have dementia) and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age. However, it is not an inevitable sign of getting old and it can affect younger people too.

There are just over 5,300 people in Somerset with a diagnosis of dementia. By 2035 it is estimated there will be around 18,000 people with dementia in Somerset, which means more support and ‘dementia friendly’ communities will be needed.

Alzheimer’s Society, Musgrove Park Hospital, Reminiscence Learning, Somerset Libraries, and Yeovil District Hospital will be providing information stands across the county to provide advice on how to live well with the condition.

The Somerset Dementia Book Collection will also be available during opening hours in the following libraries; Yeovil, Bridgwater, Frome, Taunton, Minehead. Books in the Somerset Dementia Collection may be requested free of charge from any Somerset library.

Some events include:

• Sunday 15th May: 11am – 6pm; Somerset County Cricket Ground; (Somerset v Yorkshire Championship) an information stand about Dementia Awareness week events. Reminiscence Learning (01823 668676).

• Monday 16 – Friday 20th May: 10am – 3pm; Information stand, The Hub, Musgrove Park Hospital.

• Monday 16 – Friday 20th May: 10am – 3.00pm; Information stand, Yeovil District Hospital.

• Saturday 21st May: 10am – 1pm: Alzheimer’s staff member and information stand at Frome Library (part of the Care Act library tour, Tel: 01458 251541).

• Sunday 22nd May: 10am – 4pm: Guinness World Record attempt at 2pm for the most people dressed as scarecrows, Fun Day, Vivary Park, Taunton (Reminiscence Learning, Tel: 01823 668676).

• Somerset County Council are providing information for staff on dementia during Dementia Awareness Week.

Councillor Anna Groskop, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing said: “Dementia presents us with one of the biggest health challenges on top of a rising older population demographic. The condition also generates a lot of fear, causing many people to put off having a diagnosis.

“It is reassuring to know that it is possible to live well with dementia, and the earlier you seek help, the sooner you will know how to plan well for your future. You can get all the information, advice and support you need from one of these events.”

Jill Lock, Services Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Somerset said: “By talking openly about dementia we hope to tackle the myths that surround it and get across that life doesn’t end when dementia begins. We would all love to see as many people as possible go to these events.”

Dr Iain Phillips, a GP from Wincanton and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s GP Dementia Lead said:

“Dementia does not affect every older person but if you are experiencing problems with your memory or other thinking skills, then a visit to your family doctor and an early diagnosis can make a tremendous difference to your life and those around you. Getting the information, advice and support you need can help people with dementia live a more independent life and for as long as possible”.

Karen Holden, dementia and older people projects lead at Musgrove Park Hospital, said:

“To mark Dementia Awareness Week, staff at Musgrove Park Hospital have taken on the theme of pledging to do all they can to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia, as well as their carers.

“We want to make it as comfortable as possible for patients and visitors at our hospital, and we are pleased that our Gould Ward for orthopaedics is now a dementia friendly ward.

“Our dementia champions are leading activities with patients on the wards. In the hospital concourse, we will have a memory tree at the hospital for people to write down their memories of school days, along with the things that are important to them. Staff will have the opportunity to participate in a Dementia Awareness walk around the hospital to help them to develop ideas on how we can make our hospital more dementia friendly, whether that be better signposting, use of colour to indicate location, or any other ideas they may have. The Alzheimer’s Society will also be hosting a stand to provide information.”

If you have a question about dementia you want answered then listen in to BBC Somerset ‘Ask the Experts’ on Wednesday 18th May from 10.00am. Ben McGrail will discussing dementia with people living with the condition and putting your questions to the panel from the NHS, Alzheimer’s Society and Somerset County Council.
– Ends –
For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

Dementia Awareness Week is Alzheimer’s Society annual flagship awareness raising campaign in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and this year Dementia Awareness Week is taking place from 15-21 May and is asking people to confront dementia head on. Find out more about Dementia Awareness Week at http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/DAW

Reminiscence Learning, specialising in dementia care, activity and reminiscence, training and community projects, telephone: 01823 668676

To view all of our news releases, please visit http://www.somersetnewsroom.com

The SCC Communications Team are also on social media:

To find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area, simply visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/councillors/somerset-county-councillors/