Throughout the day, an army of volunteers manned Wimbledon Station to support our chosen charity Alzheimer’s Society who are hoping to raise over £20,000 during the week to support people living with dementia, their families and their friends.
In addition to hitting our local streets in Wimbledon, we also ‘went blue’ for the day – breaking out the denim jeans, the shiny blue suits and the odd bit of blue fancy dress silliness! Being the creative bunch that we are, some of us even did some baking and sold the cakes to add to our coffers. Please visit our JustGiving page if you’d like to make a donation.
This Dementia Awareness Week, Alzheimer’s Society are keen for people to get talking and to share their experiences of dementia. A great way to do this is by passing on the five key facts about dementia out-lined on this page.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
It is true that dementia is more common among over-65s, with 1 in 3 people over this age developing dementia. But it is also true that over 17,000 under 65’s have been diagnosed with dementia. It is true that some of us become more forgetful as we get older, or during times of stress or illness. But it is also true that dementia is a disease, affecting the brain, which causes memory loss, mood changes, confusion and loneliness.
Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
Dementia is the name for a collection of symptoms that include memory loss, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. These symptoms are brought about by a number of diseases that cause changes in the brain. The most common of these is Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's changes the chemistry and structure of the brain causing the brain cells to die off. Other types of dementia include Vascular Dementia and Pick’s Disease. As the brain shuts down, a person gradually loses the ability to do the things many of us take for granted from enjoying conversations with family or friends to eating or dressing without help. This loss of independence can make someone suffering from dementia feel ostracised and alone. By talking about dementia this Dementia Aware-ness Week you can play a part in changing this.
It's not just about losing your memory
Dementia makes it harder to do things because it makes it difficult to plan and learn new activities, and interferes with structured everyday tasks. It can also make it harder to communicate. There is much that can be done to help. Every year we understand more about dementia, and develop new strategies that can help to boost someone's confidence and maintain their independence for as long as possible as well as providing companionship to eliminate the loneliness that dementia can create.
It's possible to live well with dementia
Most of us have an image in our mind of what life with dementia looks like. That image is often very bleak. So it can be very surprising to learn that many people with dementia continue to drive, socialise and hold down satisfying jobs. Even as dementia progresses, many people lead active, healthy lives, continue their hobbies, and enjoy loving friendships and relationships. Of course dementia does make it harder to do certain things. But with the right support and know-how, it is possible for someone with dementia to get the very best out of life.
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