'The more I read, the more I get frightened' - Man with dementia discusses life with the illness

  • Watch as Fiona Marley Paterson speaks to Chris Atkinson about living with dementia.

Dementia action week looks to raise awareness as almost one million people suffer from the illness in the UK.

The week is designed to shine a light on how people can support those who have dementia.

Chris Atkinson is someone who is in the early stages of dementia. He says that as time goes on he can remember less and that he is scared for his future and the knock on implications that will have for his wife.

He said: "It's frustration of things that I know I know, but I can't drag them into the conversation. It's just on the tip of my tongue or just coming down my brain, but I just can't get it.

"And the more I read, the more I get frightened - not for me, but for my wife."

Chris is fearful of what the illness could do to him in the upcoming years. He said: “I'm guessing that in five years time I won't be able to sit here and, you know, discuss with you what we're discussing about.

"I feel it's just like a shadow in the back. Just creeping forward a little bit. You know, sometimes I've never heard this song. I can remember a lot of them. Whereas if I read a book, I'm not remembering what I've read three chapters back.

"So you can follow a book, but if you ask me what you've read about, I wouldn't have a clue. So I've just brought some books back, which I thought I would enjoy... I've gone on to poetry though, and poetry is doing me the world of good."

Dementia affects almost one million people in the UK. Credit: PA

Dementia action week is running from Monday 15 to Sunday 21 May with the aim of raising as much awareness as possible.

Councillor Patricia Bell, said: “We're living longer, and sadly, dementia is relative common, but people can live well with dementia, especially if we have dementia friendly communities.

"So they are able to react in a supportive, friendly way. And where people with dementia would feel it's okay to say, 'Hey, I can't remember who you are, but it's really good to see you, what's your name?' And it's quite okay to have that conversation."

Maria Day from the Alzheimers Society explains that there are various different types of dementia that come with their own range of symptoms.

She said: "So all types of dementia have various signs and symptoms. Initially, people might notice some short term memory loss, particularly with Alzheimer's disease.

"And vascular dementia, maybe more in terms of lack of concentration, speed of thought, and and different things as well. So there's various signs and symptoms people can get throughout the dementia journey."

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