Dementia focus

Published on 2 July 2018

When you hear someone talking about dementia, the first word that comes to mind is usually ‘Alzheimer’s’. Not, surprising given Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in the UK, but there are many other forms.

What is dementia?
It’s an umbrella term describing a set of symptoms associated with the ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities, which could include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulties with thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Language
  • Understanding
  • Mood/behaviour changes
  • Judgement

These changes are often small to start with, but they then become severe enough to affect someone’s daily life.

Why are we hearing so much about dementia?
We live in an aging population and the demand on services and support is greater than ever. Our region is described as ‘super-aging’, with over 7,700 people currently living with dementia in Cumbria, a figure estimated to increase by 40% over the next 12 years. A lot of people and businesses recognise this and are working really hard to increase awareness within local communities across the UK to help support families and those living with dementia in their daily lives.

How have we been helping?
With such a significant number of people impacted by dementia in our region, we wanted to help highlight the issues and raise awareness for the organisations that support the people and families affected.

Over the last 12 months we’ve been working closely with Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland in a range of ways. As part of this we’ve joined local Dementia Action Alliance groups across our region. These groups have been set up to help businesses and other organisations work together to share best practice and take actions on improving public understanding about dementia and provide invaluable help and support to those that need it. Click to find out more about local Alliance's in your area.

We’re also really proud to have a number of Dementia Friends in our team. A Dementia Friend is a volunteer who learns a little more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action, encouraging others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. For us, the Dementia Friends in our team are a really crucial point of contact for someone living with dementia, as they can help share knowledge with colleagues in their own teams that helps provide invaluable support on a much more personal level to our customers and their families, at a time for some people which is very daunting.

In addition, three of our team are Dementia Champions, (including Becky Towns, our Community Co-ordinator), which means as a business we now have the training, thanks to Alzheimer's Society, to deliver Dementia Information sessions to staff, businesses, schools, communities etc. all across the region with the shared goal of helping work towards creating dementia friendly communities.

If you are considering taking part in a Dementia Friends session and would like to find out a little more first on what is involved, you can email Becky at rebecca.towns@cumberland.co.uk

If you want to find out more about dementia or you’re just looking for a little more support or advice, then visit alzheimers.org.uk or alzscot.org.