Dementia Action Week
Dementia Action Week runs from 21-27 May and is a chance for people to take action, however big or small, to improve the everyday lives of people with dementia. There are many benefits of socialising for older people and Islington tries, through various initiatives like the Older People’s Christmas Party (pictured) to reduce isolation. Islington Cllr Janet Burgess MBE explains more about dementia and how the disease has affected her family.
“Dementia Awareness Week is an opportunity for us to reflect on the people and families who are living with this terrible disease. It is a disease; the brain undergoes physical change. In Islington, around 1,030 people aged 65 and over are living with a dementia diagnosis. It is estimated that a further 293 people in that age group remain undiagnosed.
“The disease is not discriminatory. Although it mainly affects older people, younger people can also be affected. More than 40,000 people aged under 65 in the UK have dementia. As the number of older people rises over the next 20 years, so too will the number of people with dementia. There are no significant differences between ethnic groups and deprivation levels, although dementia is more common in women.
“I would urge anyone who is concerned about a family member or friend to seek diagnosis as soon as possible. Memory lapses are not always due to dementia, there may be another medical reason, but once there is a diagnosis, plans can be made. The Alzheimer’s Society, which locally runs Cecelia’s Café twice a month and Singing for the Brain weekly, is a brilliant source of support.
“My husband was diagnosed over five years ago. He is now very ill and it has been a difficult journey. I could not have managed without the help of the Alzheimer’s Society as well as that of family, friends and neighbours. Our Community Centres welcome people with early stage dementia. The council also runs day centres where people with more severe dementia can go.
“We are, as a borough, working to make Islington a more dementia-friendly place. As with many hidden illnesses, many members of the public don’t understand why people are acting in a certain way. With our support, people with dementia and their carers and family can lead fulfilling lives for as long as possible.”
Find out more at www.alzheimers.org.uk
How to reduce your risk of dementia
Based on the latest research, here are our top tips to reduce your risk of dementia. Your risk will be lowest if you can adopt several of these and not just one or two.
What’s good for your heart is good for your head, things that can help reduce your risk include:
Keep to a healthy weight
Give your brain a daily workout
Find out more about risk factors and prevention here
Find out about health and lifestyle services available in Islington by visiting the One You Islington website.