Sunday, 17 May 2015

Are you dementia aware?

In the last couple of weeks, two of my friends have lost loved ones to dementia. It's tempting to say something trite: 'It's for the best', or 'They weren't the people we used to know'. Whatever, this doesn't take away the sadness for those left behind.

In the UK, today marks the start of Dementia Awareness Week, organised by the Alzheimer's Society on whose website here there is lots of information and encouragement for anyone touched by this horrible condition. Please take a look. It's not purely a fundraising exercise - although there is a 'donate' button, should you feel so inclined - but is also about helping us all to be a bit better informed.

I am a Dementia Friend, which means I  have read up on how I might be able to help someone with dementia. This could anything from putting labels on cupboard doors to ease the confusion when a familiar environment becomes unfamiliar, to being more patient with that old lady in front of me in the supermarket queue who can't fathom how to work the chip & pin device.

Of course, it's not just the elderly who suffer from dementia, a fact amply demonstrated in the film Still Alice. This stars Julianne Moore as a 50-year-old linguistics professor who suffers from early-onset Alzheimers and follows its devastating effects as her illness worsens. It's a good film and worth a look; or read Lisa Genova's novel of the same name on which the film is based. I promise it's not as depressing as it sounds.


  1. Thanks for raising awareness of this, Julia. My mother had started down this terrible road some years before she passed away and I was grateful that she became rather child-like and good natured rather than some of the more aggressive forms it can take.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Rosemary. I wonder if dementia is more prevalent now than it used to be, if only because we are all living longer, or if we simply know more about it. Years ago, we might have dismissed is as the dottiness of old age.