Dementia is a cruel illness, robbing families of their loved ones - or the person they once knew. Caring for a relative with the illness is physically and mentally draining, which is why a new trial in Oxford is aimed at helping carers.
In Oxfordshire around 65,000 people are helping to care for people with dementia
In Berkshire the figure is 72,000.
And in Hampshire there are approximately 131,000 friends or relatives looking after people with dementia.
Cary Johnston reports on the pioneering "Caring for Me and You" trial.
One in 14 people over 65 - and one in six over 80 - have dementia, but new research in our region is hoping to combat these devastating illnesses.
Some of this work is being done at the University of Sussex where a build-up of proteins on the brain is being studied. And in this Dementia Awareness Week members of the public have been invited to see their work close up.
Andy Dickenson reports. He speaks to Andy and Janet Gumbrill, Dr Karen Marshall and Prof Louise Serpell.
Life expectancy is rising with many of us living longer than past generations. So with an ageing population, pressure is mounting on councils and hospitals to provide services for the elderly. Now a fully dementia-friendly housing complex in Kent has opened. The council-run sheltered accommodation scheme is the first of its kind in Ashford. Tom Savvides talks to residents, councillor Paul Clokie and Elizabeth Taylor from Alzheimer's Society.
A grandmother who stole thousands of pounds from her dementia-suffering friend has received a two-year suspended jail sentence after appearing at Canterbury Crown Court.
Eighty-year-old Margaret Rigby stole £57,000 from her 'friend of 40 years' Barbara Lewis's bank account - to finance a lavish lifestyle - as she lay seriously ill with dementia and memory loss in a care home.
A 49-year old mother from Kent - diagnosed with a rare form of dementia - says she's determined to raise awareness of the condition.
The diagnosis means Lorayne Minahan, from Lydd, has between two and eight years to live. And she's determined to make the most of the time she has left. John Ryall reports.
The Government has pledged more than £300 million to be spent on research into dementia while all NHS staff will have to undergo training in the condition. The announcement was made by David Cameron while visiting a Dementia Friends / Alzheimer's Society event at The Clare Charity Centre in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire. The centre is located west of Thame in Oxfordshire.
Scientists in the Thames Valley are to lead the way in research to find a cure for dementia. A new institute is to be built costing £10m.Read the full story ›
People with dementia and their families and carers will have the opportunity to get advice, information and support at an event being held in Southampton Central Library this month.
The Dementia Awareness Day next Wednesday (10am - 4pm) will see the launch of ‘Reading Well - Books on Prescription for Dementia’. The aim of the initiative is to enable health professionals to recommend helpful books to support people with dementia and their carers. The books, which offer information and advice about dementia, support with living well after diagnosis and practical advice for carers, can be borrowed for free by anyone with a library card.
To support the launch a range of organisations will come together on the day - including Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, Carers in Southampton, Sunrise Senior Living and Paris Smith Solicitors - to highlight the support available in the city. There will also be a talk by Dr Ruth Bartlett about how people with dementia are portrayed in films.
The aim of the day’s activities is to promote a greater understanding of dementia and to help people find out about the services that are available to support those affected by the condition, as well as giving people with dementia and their carers the chance to meet new friends with shared experiences, and to understand that they are not facing this alone.
The Dementia Awareness Day will be open to all in an effort to increase understanding of the condition among the wider community. Anyone interested in finding out more about dementia – or if they have concerns about a friend or relative – is welcome to attend.
The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that one in three people over 65 will develop dementia, with the number of people living with dementia in Southampton expected to double over the next 20 years.
“People with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community. That’s why it is so important that we raise awareness of the condition, not just for those directly affected but also the wider community to help increase understanding. By bringing all the dementia care services under one roof at the Central Library people in Southampton can access dementia support services in one place and get all the help they need – whether it be legal, social or financial advice.”
“It is a great opportunity for our Dementia Support Workers to stand alongside people like the Southampton Admiral Nurses and figures such as Ruth Bartlett of Southampton University, to help raise awareness of dementia within our community and to show that people can live well with the condition. The support is out there, in books, in support workers, and in social support groups also. There are 2,513 people with dementia in Southampton, and we provide many services in the area to help people live well with dementia. We have art groups, Memory Cafes, Singing for the Brain and our Dementia Support Workers, to name just a few.”
The doctor behind a new guide for carers supporting people with Dementia has reinforced the reasons why it's so important. The Dementia Handbook for Carers contains contact information, coping strategies, legal advice, and medical information.
ITV Meridian spoke to Dr Luke Solomons from Berkshire Healthcare.
A new guide for those who care for people with Dementia is being launched in Reading today. The Dementia Handbook for Carers contains contact information, coping strategies, legal advice, and medical information.
The Living Well with Dementia event is being held this afternoon between 3pm and 7.30pm
Berkshire Healthcare and the University of Reading have teamed up to produce the new guide to support people who care for those with dementia.
There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK. By 2021 there will be more than a million people with the disease. In the west of Berkshire alone there are more than 5,000 people with dementia and this is due to rise to almost 9,500 by 2030, an increase of more than 80 per cent. When you take into account family carers there are thousands more people who will be affected dementia.
The project was funded by the Berkshire West Confederation of Clinical Commissioning Groups as part of their response to the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge.
"Carers repeatedly tell us they feel overwhelmed by the information out there and we just want to ensure that they have information from a trusted source, in a format written by them, not professionals. We hope this will stop them feeling they are alone in the wilderness. Carers have such a vital role and we wanted to give them the support they deserve.
"At Berkshire Healthcare we believe in working together with people to deliver innovative solutions. By working with the carers themselves we are confident this guide should give them what they need."
"I am passionate about better dementia awareness and care. I would say to anyone in a similar situation to get help before you think you need it and this guide will give them all the information they need to make sure they get that help."