May 2019 Meeting - Dementia Friends Session

The group conducted its AGM meeting before welcoming Mark Neville from the Alzheimer’s Society to deliver a ‘Dementia Friends’ session on the 21 May 2019. 


Mark explained every time you travel to work you are likely to pass someone who is living with dementia. Most people assume that only people, who are in the later years of life have a dementia diagnosis.  Mark highlighted that he is aware of a child of nine being diagnosed with the condition.

There are around 50 million people in the world living with the condition. One person is diagnosed with dementia every 3 minutes in the UK.  It is estimated that it cost over 1 trillion dollars per year to care for people living with dementia worldwide.

People with dementia get confused, angry, and frustrated.  They may also present with other personality changes.  Mark best described the condition as a set of fairy lights.  Over time some lights begin to flicker, gradually these lights go out therefore closing off pathways in the brain.

Mark also explained dementia happens to people of all abilities.  He illustrated this with a story.  An old lady lived in a care home tapped her fingers continually on a table. The only time she stopped was to eat and sleep.  The old lady rarely received visitors.  One day her niece, who lived in Australia, visited her.  The niece could not explain the constant tapping.  Eventually the care home found out the lady was one of 12 women, who broke the enigma code during the war.  The lady then became a hero.

The onset may be delayed/prevented by following a healthy diet, not smoking and drinking alcohol.  Being socially active also helps stop dementia. People who are deaf are 5 times more likely to get dementia.

Mark advised organisations are now asking to learn more about dementia.  Those businesses who are dementia friendly and have undertaken a course on it are now wearing a badge.  It is hoped people living with the condition will feel able to approach these people.

For more information on dementia please click on the following link.