By 2021 it is estimated that there will be more than a million people with dementia in the UK, and 60,000 deaths a year already directly attributable to the condition.
With only 44 per cent of people with dementia in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland receiving a diagnosis, Dementia Awareness Week, which launches on Monday, May 19, hopes to raise awareness of the increasing problems affecting people living with dementia.
Dementia Forward is one charity carrying out special events for the duration of the week as part of the national campaign Don’t Bottle it Up, including a series of drop in sessions at St Peter’s Church in Harrogate between 10am and 2pm, giving people the opportunity to raise any concerns they have.
Community liaison officer Netty Newell said: “We will be there every morning for anyone that has got any concerns or questions and they can just drop in.
“It is important locally because when you are doing things nationally it doesn’t always relate to people living in their community, but people don’t want to ring a national helpline so it is about bringing that focus in to make people aware that we are here locally as Dementia Forward.
“We want to make sure that we are catering for those local people.”
There is also the opportunity for people with questions to ask the experts. CEO of Dementia Uk Hilda Hayo will be part of the panel available to tackle any problems facing those affected by the condition and their carers.
This follows a play by Brian Daniels exploring the impact of dementia on two families called Don’t Leave Me Now at 2pm and 7pm on Thursday, May 22 at the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough.
Dementia Forward hopes that this event will draw attention to the effects of the condition and make people aware of the organisations and groups out there to offer the necessary support and help form dementia friendly communities.
CEO Jill Quinn said: “The whole idea of dementia friendly communities is that people are very lonely after that kind of diagnosis because it is not the conversation that you have down the pub. How likely are you to shout it from the rooftops that you have dementia?
“We are hoping to educate people, and we do that with a positive spin. We are looking at wellbeing and socialising.”
Ms Newell is also confident that the schemes in place on a local level, though part of a national campaign with the Alzheimer’s Society, will convince people that there are people available for an informal chat about dementia, rather than a formal diagnosis.
“Hopefully we will just reach that one person that doesn’t want to make it formal by going to the GP, because it is a massive step to go and get that formal diagnosis, especially when you know there is no cure,” she said.
“There is just that chance that if you are in town you might have more confidence to ask the question rather than phoning a national helpline.”
Tickets to the May 22 play cost £5 as a donation. Reserve your seat by calling Dementia Forward on 01765 645904 or email firstname.lastname@example.org