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World Alzheimer’s Month – support is available

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This September is World Alzheimer’s Month and the local NHS in West Lancashire is reassuring residents that services have been adapted so that support is available for people living with dementia and those who care for them during the ongoing pandemic.

Dementia affects more than 50 million people worldwide, with a new case occurring every three seconds. Although there are over 100 different types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia in the UK.

Dr Ros Bonsor, local GP and clinical mental health lead for NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “World Alzheimer’s Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms and let people know about the support available.

“The first sign of Alzheimer’s is usually minor memory problems which are easily dismissed as part of getting older. If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing dementia symptoms, do not delay speaking to your GP. Getting an accurate and early diagnosis can give you the best chance to prepare and plan for the future, as well as receive any treatment or support that may help.”

As the condition develops, memory problems become more severe and further symptoms can develop, such as:

  • Confusions, disorientation and getting lost in familiar places
  • Difficulty planning or making decisions
  • Problems with speech and language
  • Problems moving around without assistance or performing self-care tasks
  • Personality changes, such as becoming aggressive, demanding, and suspicious of others
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) and delusions (believing things that are untrue)
  • Low mood or anxiety.

Phil Winnard, mental health service delivery manager for NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “Living with dementia at any time brings challenges and we know the COVID-19 pandemic will be making things harder for people. It is important that you remember that you’re not alone.

“Although some services are working differently at the moment, we’d like to reassure residents that there are resources, support and advice available for people affected by dementia. Due to the pandemic some group activities and one-to-one support sessions are being delivered by telephone or online which also means that these are more easily accessed from your home.”

Chris Lawson, from Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We’re here to help you meet the challenges ahead. Dementia Connect offers a whole range of dementia support, by phone, online and face to face. It’s free for anyone to use, easy to access, and puts you in touch with our dementia advisers who will talk you through the right support.

“You’re no different a person after a diagnosis of dementia than you were the day before it, and as new challenges develop we’ll work with you to find ways to help you stay involved with what matters to you and your day to day life.

Dementia services, support, and advice useful links:

  • To find local support near you use the Alzheimer’s Society dementia directory tool
  • If you need dementia support, call the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line for personalised information, support and advice on 0333 150 3456.
  • For general information about services and dementia queries in West Lancashire please email: lawson@alzheimers.org.uk.
  • The Dementia Community Links service offers vital support to individuals living with dementia or a memory concern, and their carers. They continue to support individuals throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to maintain independent living and their trained staff support individuals by phone (and digital platforms where appropriate) – to refer onto this service call 0300 303 1234 or email advice@ageuklancs.org.uk

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and dementia useful links:

Alzheimer’s Society: Coronavirus information for people affected by dementia

Dementia UK: Coronavirus questions and answers

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