COLUMN: Dozy’s rambles on dementia

Mike Mendoza
Mike Mendoza

MENTAL health conditions are awful to suffer from.

Why? Mainly because many people do not understand a condition that is not visible.

More and more people in the UK are now suffering from one of the many mental health disorders called dementia. In fact, approximately 850,000 people suffer from this condition.

The risk of developing dementia increases as you get older and the condition usually occurs in people over the age of 65.

I wonder how many of us are aware that more than 40,000 younger people under the age of 65 in the UK have dementia? This is called early-onset or young-onset dementia. Again this is a totally misunderstood condition.

As you get older, you may find that memory loss becomes a problem. It’s normal for your memory to be affected by age, stress, tiredness, or certain illnesses and medications. This can be annoying if it happens occasionally, but if it is affecting your daily life or is worrying you or someone you know, you should seek help from your GP.

I am about to go on a dementia awareness course, having had a close relative suffer for several years from Alzheimer’s, one of the forms of dementia.

I actually think that I could write a humorous book about the disease, but of course no medical condition is a laughing matter. One does need to keep ones humour when dealing with any stress related situation.

Alzheimer’s and dementia can be most distressing to relatives, more so than the patient as the patient is not always aware that they have a condition or problem, which of course also has a significant effect on care givers.

Imagine, there is nothing worse than a much-loved mother or father not knowing who you are and when being informed that you are their son or daughter, they soon forget again within seconds. Many will not even know where they are and believe that they are somewhere totally different, another country or another area.

I myself was not aware that there are over 100 different types of dementia. The word dementia describes a group of symptoms that may include memory loss, difficulties with planning, problem solving or language, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour.

Dementia isn’t a natural part of ageing, It occurs when the brain is affected by a disease

There are some wonderful care homes specialising in dementia both in and surrounding our district. I have visited quite a few and never stop being amazed at the dedication of staff who need a very special mindset to look after people who may, after a short period of time, not even recognise the staff member looking after them, such is the severity of the condition.

The sad thing is, of course, there is still no known cure for dementia, although drugs are being developed to slow the condition down.