24 May 2013

Dementia Awareness Week highlights our chosen charity

The Alzheimer’s Society is Bizspace’s chosen charity for 2013. The charity supports people with dementia and carries out vital research into the condition.

We are pleased to provide office space at our Shipley business centre to the Alzheimer’s Society and we have been holding fundraising events all this year to support the charity. To find out about our latest events, please visit our Facebook page.

This week is Dementia Awareness Week and to mark the occasion, the Alzheimer’s Society has released a booklet called It’s Time to Talk About Dementia, which gives advice on talking to people about memory loss.

People embarrassed by memory loss

 The organisation commissioned a survey by YouGov, which revealed many people find dementia a difficult subject to broach with their loved ones.The research discovered that:

  • 60% of people aged 55 or over said they would feel uncomfortable discussing dementia with family and friends if they felt they were developing the condition
  • 64% of 18 to 24-year-olds admitted they would struggle to talk openly about dementia.

These figures have prompted the Alzheimer’s Society to warn that this could mean up to 500,000 people are suffering from problems with their memory without support.

Cheshire pensioner Mike Howorth was diagnosed with dementia six years ago.

The 83-year-old says: “My father and grandmother had the condition so as soon as I noticed I was repeating myself and starting to forget things I went straight to my GP. I tell everyone I meet that I have dementia. It is absolutely vital that we talk about the condition. Unless people are prepared to talk about it many of those who are worried about their memories will never pluck up the courage to see their GP.”

Tips to get people talking

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, says: “It is really saddening that dementia is still a disease that many of us don’t feel comfortable talking about, especially with our own families. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia in the UK and hundreds of thousands more are affected by the condition in some way, whether it is a family member or a friend.”

One of the aims of Dementia Awareness Week is to get people talking about it, to try and get rid of the stigma surrounding the condition, he adds.

The charity has issued five tips for people who want to talk to someone they know who they think may be starting to develop dementia.

  1. Think about whether you are the best person to broach the subject or whether there is someone else who would be more appropriate.
  2. Choose the moment to introduce the subject carefully. Don’t talk about your concerns during a row or when you’re out in public. Discuss it calmly and in private.
  3. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it and choose your words carefully.
  4. Try to stay positive throughout the conversation.
  5. Contact the Alzheimer’s Society for advice and support.