Damian contributes the first of a monthly column to the Petersfield Post, entitled 'Raising awareness of dementia is crucial'.
Before my late mother was diagnosed with a form of dementia I thought I knew a lot about the condition, but when the diagnosis came I realised how far from the truth that was. Communities across the UK are faced with the growing reality of this disease, yet public understanding of the condition remains poor and this needs to change.
Dementia is a broad term used to describe a variety of brain disorders, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s. Those suffering from dementia can experience a range of symptoms including memory loss, confusion and issues with speech.
In the time that it takes you to read this article, one new person in the UK will have developed dementia. In East Hampshire alone there are almost 2,000 people who have the condition, with more than 24,000 people across Hampshire. Raising awareness is absolutely critical to not only prevent it being treated as a taboo subject, but also providing people with the understanding and means to better support those with condition.
The challenge is huge but one initiative that is working hard to make a difference is the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme, aiming to create more communities that are dementia friendly, so people who are affected feel more understood and included. Their target is to have 4 million Dementia Friends by 2020 and I am delighted to now be a Dementia Friends Champion and able to run information sessions that enables those attending to sign up as Dementia Friends if they wish.
After a successful session in Alton, I am running one in Petersfield on Friday 11th December and another in Liphook on the 12th February 2016. It’s been hugely rewarding for me to be part of this programme and I hope many of you will join the campaign and help make the community more dementia friendly.
For more information and support on dementia in Petersfield, please contact Julie Osborne, Dementia Advisor on firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Tilmore Centre, 1 Tilmore Road, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 2HG.
This will be the start of a regular monthly column but you can always contact me via email Damian.email@example.com or keep in touch via my website www.damianhinds.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/damianhinds