We can all play our part in dealing with dementia

Ian Lavery MP.
Ian Lavery MP.

It is a sobering thought that in less than a decade more than one million people in this country will be living with dementia.

Add in their family and friends who are helping them cope on a day to day basis and the figure increases significantly.

Research has shown that dementia affects one in 14 people over the age of 65, and by the time people have reached their 80s the figure is one in six.

The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and although the condition is not confined exclusively to older generations, there is no getting away from the fact that we are living in an ageing society so it follows the numbers will only get worse.

Dementia exhibits itself in memory loss and aspects of thinking, reasoning and perception, but the Alzheimer’s Society believes there is a way all of us can help, even if we do not know anyone with dementia.

It has devised a ‘dementia friendly’ programme, aimed at raising awareness of dementia and ensuring people diagnosed with the condition can feel understood, valued and able to continue contributing to society.

That is something I feel so strongly about that I am planning to organise a series of sessions where people can join up to be a ‘dementia friend’, starting with one at Bedlington Community Centre on Friday, September 7, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. It will be led by the Alzhiemer’s Society and I will be taking part.

Capacity is limited, however, so anyone wishing to attend must contact my office on 01670 852494 or email ian.lavery.mp@parliament.uk

Following on from that, I hope to organise similar sessions throughout our Wansbeck constituency, one community at a time until we have covered the whole area.

The sessions will outline how we can all play our part in creating communities that understand the problems people with dementia face so they can continue to enjoy life.