Raising awareness of growing dementia risk in Pendle

Dementia support group based at  Age Concern in Nelson are open to new members.
Dementia support group based at Age Concern in Nelson are open to new members.
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A SUPPORT worker is continuing to raise awareness of dementia — as figures reveal that an increasing number of people in Pendle are living with the illness.

Julie Hesketh, from The Alzheimer’s Society, has stepped forward to urge local residents with any concerns to go and get an early diagnosis.

The earlier a person gets treated for the illness, the quicker medication, support and advice can be given, and the easier it is for people to cope with dementia during their day-to-day lives.

According to Julie, there are 100 different types of dementia, which can affect a person of any age, and it is expected that there are many people that have the illness without even realising.

In Pendle, there are currently 1,114 people diagnosed with dementia, in comparison to 1,060 people in 2010, and 1,073 in 2011. It is expected that this figure will increase to 1,131 in 2013, in line with national trends.

Julie, the area’s dementia support worker, said: “Dementia can affect anybody — it is not just an old person’s illness.

“There are hundreds of different types of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s, and there is medication and help out there, once you have got a diagnosis.

“Once the diagnosis has been given people can live quite well with dementia.

“There are thousands of people who are undiagnosed, through a lack of knowledge of what to do.”

Julie advises that anybody with concerns about memory loss should visit their GP, and ask to be referred to Memory Services, which is based at Maple House, Burnley General Hospital.

There is also plenty of help available for people with dementia, as well as their carers.

With the help of Lancashire County Council and The Alzheimer’s Society, East Lancashire Community Dementia Forum runs a dementia cafe in Colne on the fourth Thursday of every month, at Arcadia Cafe, in Windy Bank.

The event, which offers information, advice and refreshments in a relaxing and friendly environment, runs from 2pm to 4pm.

The Alzheimer’s Society also run their own East Lancashire Carers’ Support Groups, which offers support and advice for carers, and information for people living with dementia.

One of the groups is held at the Age Concern Resource Centre, in Leeds Road, Nelson, on the last Tuesday of every month, from 2pm to 4pm.

Any local business wanting to learn more about people living with dementia can get given free basic training by Julie.

The advice sessions are available by request.

Julie added: “If staff are trained it makes it easier for people with dementia to go into a shop. with the understanding that people are sympathetic to their condition.”

It is estimated that one in three people over the age of 65 will die with a form of dementia, and figures show that 700,000 people in the UK currently have the illness.

It is expected that this figure will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.

For more information contact The Alzheimer’s Society on 01282 421233 or e-mail eastlancashire@alzheimers.org.uk