This week is Dementia Awareness Week. Dementia is affecting an increasing number of individuals, with a wider and potentially younger demographic. Angela Rippon will be addressing her own very real concerns in a forthcoming documentary and no doubt her worries are reflected by many who know individuals living with dementia.
A lot of research is being undertaken in this area and there are a number of high profile campaigns, such as the Alzheimer’s Society ‘orange’ campaign. Other, less well known charities are also carrying out some excellent work, and one that is very local to me is BRACE who say that they are “a local charity helping to solve a global problem”. Last year I was privileged to visit their laboratory and hear about the work they are doing to combat the illness.
One of the worries of dementia is that it has a greater impact than just the illness. Someone living with dementia will require more care and may become unable to manage their finances and other matters. As we all know, life does not stop because someone is ill. Bills still need to be paid and decisions need to be made about care and support. Ultimately someone will need to be given authority to make these decisions.
Dementia can affect any of us; the impact will be felt whether we are diagnosed personally or because we are caring for a family member. Taking the time to set up a Power of Attorney and/or an Advance Decision can make a difficult illness more bearable for those living with it.
It is important to raise awareness of the efforts being made to combat the disease, but at a practical level it is also wise to consider the implications of long term mental incapacity before action is needed.
If you or a relative need advice regarding mental capacity or elderly care issues please contact a member of our Elderly Care team.