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Helping people in West Berkshire with dementia

What is dementia?

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which affects the brain. As the disease progresses, 'plaques' and 'tangles' develop on the structure of the brain, causing damage to brain cells. As damage to the brain progresses, people with Alzheimer's need someone to care for them, and the amount of care they require increases as the dementia worsens.

Five facts about dementia:

  1. dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  2. dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
  3. it is not just about losing your memory
  4. some people find it possible to live well with dementia
  5. there is more to a person than dementia

For more information about dementia, visit the Alzheimer's Society website

How many people in West Berkshire have a form of dementia?

Less than half of people living with dementia in the UK have a formal diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, people with dementia will not have access to the appropriate support, information and treatment they need.

In the UK around 800,000 people are living with dementia and in West Berkshire, 1,669 residents aged 65 and over are estimated to have dementia, but this is likely to be an underestimate because of the low levels of diagnosis.

The number of people living with dementia in West Berkshire is expected to rise by almost 500 people in 2020.

Being dementia aware

Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer's Society initiative which is funded by the government as part of the Dementia Challenge. At a Dementia Friends information session, you will learn what it's like to live with dementia and how you can help to create dementia friendly communities. You could help someone living with dementia to feel included in their local community. Every attendee is awarded a forget-me-not dementia friends pin badge, to show that they know and care about dementia. The same forget-me-not symbol will also be used to recognise organisations and businesses in Newbury that are dementia friendly.

These free information sessions are run by Dementia Champions, who are volunteers who have undertaken training to help others make a positive difference to people living with dementia in our district. Please contact us if you want to find out more. 

How can I reduce my risk of developing dementia?

Having a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia. Here are some things you can do:

  1. keep physically active - do at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week
  2. get your measurements checked - keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol
  3. drink alcohol in moderation - know your limits
  4. eat a healthy balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, less fat and salt
  5. quit smoking

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