Story by Rosie Strathearn-Brady | Photos by James Woollen
Dementia is a term used to describe a number of symptoms that occur as a result of disease which damages part of the brain. Whilst Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are two of the most common forms of dementia, there are over a hundred different types.
Although people over 65 are most likely to be diagnosed with dementia, it is a disease can happen at any age. In Sheffield there are estimated to be 7,000 people living with dementia, about 1% of the population. As we expect to live longer, the number of people who will have a dementia diagnosis is likely to rise. As with sufferers of any other long-term condition, people living with dementia can be supported to live a better life with the right support, information and understanding. An early diagnosis will enable family, friends, carers and neighbours to help and to get the support they need. People living with dementia can often be isolated or feel they are not welcome or able be attend the activities that were once part of their everyday life, such as using a library, walking, taking part in sports, gardening, going to their mosque.
Some of the symptoms associated with dementia will be well known, including memory loss, beginning to act differently, poor communication (particularly for people who do not have English as a first language), inability to complete certain tasks or think logically and mood changes. There may be other reasons why a person demonstrates some of these symptoms and a visit to the GP is the best way to find out if you have any concerns for yourself, a family member, or a friend.
The thought that someone we love or care for being diagnosed with dementia raises both concern, alarm and, in some cases, denial. By working towards building dementia friendly communities, we want to ensure that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.
There are many people in Burngreave living with dementia, and there is lots of work going on to support people affected by dementia to improve their quality of life. The Dementia? Welcome! Café in Burngreave is doing some amazing work on Wednesday mornings at the Furnival (11am – 1pm), offering a welcoming atmosphere for people with dementia to socialise and have fun doing activities.
There are many ways for you to get involved in the Dementia Friendly Burngreave project (which is part of a citywide initiative to improve the lives of people living with dementia).
- Free dementia awareness sessions for a local group, faith organisations, a group of friends or neighbours, in your workplace, etc. The session last less than one hour and will give you an improved insight into how to support people living with dementia.
- More detailed two-hour sessions run by Enrichment for the Elderly at a bronze, silver and gold level.
- Promoting and supporting local social cafés, which are for people living with dementia, and their family members and carers.
- Helping local groups to ensure their activities are dementia friendly by raising awareness.
- Encouraging people who are worried about themselves or a family member to get a diagnosis and support.
- Support for carers.
- Attend the Burngreave Dementia Day on 18th November at the Verdon Recreation Centre. There will be lots of fun activities and a free lunch, as well as information and guidance from local organisations.
For more information on any of this, please contact Rosie on 0114 213 4075 or firstname.lastname@example.org