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  1. Kate Bunkall

Call for people to stop driving when dementia starts

The families of people with dementia are being urged to encourage their loved ones to give up driving, because of the potential dangers including the threat to their own lives, and those of others on the roads.

Alzheimer's Disease affects 800,000 people in this country, and before diagnosis and even after - some sufferers are still driving when they should not be behind the wheel.

A survey by a road safety charity has found a decline in the cognitive abilities of older motorists was the biggest worry for more than half of those questioned.

When David Orr from South Oxfordshire was diagnosed with Alzheimers, his family convinced him to stop driving. He has said that although it was a hard conversation to have, he is glad his relatives were honest with him. He told his story to our reporter Kate Bunkall.

New centre offers hope for dementia sufferers in the Thames Valley

Dementia has been described by experts as a "ticking time bomb" affecting thousands of people in our region.

But now a new research centre that aims to improve the detection and prevention of the disease has opened at the University of Reading.

The centre will run clinical trials in the hope of finding new treatments, as Mel Bloor reports.

Interviewees: Dr Laurie Butler - Head of the University of Reading's School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Les Eggleton whose wife suffers from Dementia and Dr Paul Loughlin, Consultant Psychiatrist in Old Age.

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Shortage of specialist dementia care on Isle of Sheppey

Relatives of people with dementia on the Isle of Sheppey say there is a desperate shortage of specialist help. There is not a single dementia nurse for a population of 35,000, so patients have to go to the mainland for treatment in unfamiliar surroundings that many find confusing and stressful.

It is a serious situation, but it has triggered fresh thinking about the condition that will affect 1 in 20 of us. Nashreen Issa reports.

Foster an adult with dementia

Could you open up your home and make a real difference to the life of someone living with dementia?

Kent County Council’s Shared Lives service provides short breaks, day care and longer term support in the host family’s own home which can help vulnerable adults avoid residential care homes.

People with dementia really benefit from still being able to live in a family home and the scheme allows them to develop new relationships and be part of the community. Hosts are paid and KCC needs more people to come forward and take on this rewarding role.

This is a great opportunity for someone who perhaps has a background in caring, to build a new career making a real difference to people’s lives. As people live longer, dementia is a growing challenge. We in Kent are determined to reduce stigma and improve understanding of the condition. Shared Lives is a really important scheme because it gives people living with dementia all the support they need to stay independent and lead fulfilling lives in the community.”

– Graham Gibbens, Kent County Council

To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives host, or to find out more about how to use the service, visit www.kent.gov.uk/sharedlives or call 01233 652401.

Alzheimer's Research UK gives £58,000 for new study

Dr Mariana Vargas-Caballero working in the laboratory Credit: Alzheimer's Research UK

A Southampton scientist has been awarded more that £58,000 by Alzheimer's Research UK to study chemical signals in the brain in Alzheimer's disease.

The research will study signals that control learning and memory in the brain to help understand the disease and to hopefully find new treatments.

Dr Mariana Vargas-Caballero will train a PhD student Sarmi Sri to help look into the early symptoms of the disease.

Sarmi said, "We are really interested in whether there is a time window during which nerve cells are particularly vulnerable to damage.

"Hopefully, our findings will inform new ways to reverse or prevent nerve cell damage in Alzheimer's."

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research said, "Understanding the changes in Alzheimer's is important because this is when potential new treatments are likely to be most effective."

Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance launched

The number of people living with dementia is on the rise.

That is why a new community focused response has been launched by Andover Mind and Hampshire County Council.

The concept of a community focused response is so the wider community can develop a better understanding of the condition, so that people who have dementia can live independently.

Around 100 people representing Hampshire businesses attended the launch of the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance.

Other shops, leisure companies, transport providers, health and social care organisations and charities are also being asked to sign up to the Alliance and pledge their commitment to creating Dementia Friendly Communities.

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New scheme to help find people with dementia who go missing

According to research, around three in every five people with dementia will go missing at least once during the course of their illness.

It can be a very frightening experience for them but also their family.

Now a new scheme, the first of it's kind in the world, is being piloted in the Thames Valley to help find people with memory problems who go missing.

Mel Bloor talks to dementia patient Ralph Burridge and his wife Jan, George Holland - the great nephew of missing Sussex pensioner Nellie Herriott, Dr Rupert McShane from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust who came up with the idea, volunteer Naomi Manuel and Service Manager Deborah Ginns.

REPORT: New treatments for dementia patients

As the elderly population grows the number of people suffering from dementia continues to be an ever-increasing issue. For sufferers, it's daunting enough having dementia but often they're in hospital for other ailments too.

Martin Dowse has been to one hospital where they're pioneering new ways to help people get through their time on the wards. He speaks to specialist dementia nurse Jeni Bell, Jan Gollop who's husband suffers dementia and Luisa Castle, dementia care provider.

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