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Remember the person: Dementia Awareness Week 2014

NHS Lewisham CCG is teaming up with the Alzheimer's Society to support Dementia Awareness Week, 18-24 May 2014. 

Each year 'remember the person' is the recurring theme for the awareness week. It’s not just about losing your memory - dementia can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks. But with the right support and know-how, it’s possible for someone with dementia to get the very best out of life. Remember that a person with dementia still has dreams, dislikes and things they’re passionate about. There’s more to a person than their dementia.

Sadly, in some cases where symptoms of dementia have advanced, friends of people with dementia no longer visit them - they want to remember how that person used to be. Even at an advanced stage, people with dementia can sometimes indicate they are aware of those around them. They are still 'there'.

Local GP Dr Hilary Entwistle from Woolstone medical centre and GP Clinical Lead for Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Dementia is a serious and progressive disease that leads to memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, which can make life confusing.”

She added: “This week provides a big opportunity to increase understanding of dementia and to remind people that there's more to a person than their dementia. By raising awareness about this condition we could diagnose individuals earlier, giving more time for them to come to terms with future symptoms and get treatment to slow the progress of the condition.”

In the UK, there are about 800,000 people with dementia. It’s estimated that around 400,000 people have dementia but do not know it. 

Top 5 facts about dementia:

  1. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain - symptoms of dementia are caused by physical disease which directly affects the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but other conditions can cause dementia too.
  2. Dementia is not a natural part of aging - whilst it’s common in the over 65s, dementia can also affect younger people. In the UK, over 17,000 people under the age of 65 have this condition. It’s not uncommon for people in their 50s to have dementia.
  3. It's not just about losing your memory - dementia can have a huge impact on a person's life and on the people around them.
  4. It's possible to live well with dementia - many people with early stage dementia live full lives, although some adjustments might be needed to cope with symptoms.
  5. There's more to a person than their dementia - this is reflected through the recurring 'remember the person' recurring theme for Dementia Awareness Week.

For more information on dementia or the Alzheimer's disease visit The Alzheimer's Society website.  

Alternatively, if you have concerns about Alzheimer's disease or about any other form of dementia, the Alzheimer's Society national dementia helpline (0300 222 1122) can provide support, guidance and signposting to appropriate services. The helpline is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.