Dementia is a disease that appears to be very much gripping our century, you hear more about it now, than anytime previously. That is because perhaps our media and our communication systems are so darned tuned in now days. How ever it is talked about a lot in the circles I move in here in Wednesfield North. It is a disease that to me strikes at anyone, no matter what type of job you did or what sort of job you do.
We all forget a name or a face sometimes. Especially as we get older. But dementia is something different.
Memory problems are one of a number of symptoms that people with dementia may experience. Others include difficulties with planning, thinking things through, struggling to keep up with a conversation, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and it doesn’t just affect older people. Over 40,000 people under 65 in the UK have dementia.
During the course of a year acting as your local Councillor I do get people telling me about their fears, asking me about what help can be given about a range of ailment and disease. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are two of the most frequent half joking, or joking conversation’s people have with me.
My advice has always been this. If you’re worried about your memory, or about someone else’ memory, the first thing to do is make an appointment with their GP.
There are lots of reasons someone may show symptoms similar to dementia. These include depression, chest and urinary tract infections, vitamin and thyroid deficiencies and brain tumours.
Your GP can check for most of these and take the next steps to find out what’s causing your memory problems. If you do get diagnosed with Dementia – With help and support dementia sufferers can lead lives.
Take the BBC Radio WM presenter Ed Doolan. A household name here in the West Midlands for at least thirty years, a man that has interviewed me scores of times over those decades. I have had my battles with him, and once took over his Radio Show for a day, to give the ’Phil Bateman’ version of this much loved Aussie’s own radio show. However the BBC didn’t ask me again, which perhaps says it all….!
Ed is a quick witted, hard hitting journalist with big names always beating their way to his door to be interviewed. Ed can recount Presidents and Prime Ministers sitting down to be given the ‘Ed Doolan verbal treatment’. Always humorous, always updated, always sharp and on the ball was Ed. In the space of a few seconds tough and uncompromising, then the next seconds – understanding!
Ed was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, and he told the West Midlands about it back I think in 2011. Ed and wife Chrissy are great people. Yet this damned disease has Ed battling away, not giving up, still presenting a Radio Show on a Sunday .
Ed is a battler, his own story is very much now an inspiration for other vascular dementia sufferers.
I am pleased to say that I still keep in touch with Ed.
At the beginning of this year we had a curry evening with the ‘great man’. Mary and I with our friends, former MP’s Peter Snape and Lynda Waltho all met at Ed’s home again, to reminisce and talk about the current state of the World!
Ed is an inspiration his work takes much longer to do than it once did, his shows are pre-recorded and not live as they once were. But he still keeps battling with the support of Chrissy and a small but dedicated team of helpers at Radio WM.
The fact is that if you or a friend, or you find a family member is diagnosed with the disease –People can still live well with dementia.
Although there is no cure for dementia, scientists and researchers are working hard to find one.
Until that day comes, support and treatments are available that can help with symptoms and managing daily life. These can allow people with dementia to lead active, purposeful lives and carry on doing the things that matter to them most. Just like Ed is doing at the moment.
If you want to find out more about Dementia, then the National Dementia Helpline is a very good place to start 0300 222 11 22. But don’t forget to go and have a chat with your own doctor!