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Dementia Awareness

11 April 2013

Dementia Awareness

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One of the topics on Validium's May Issue of the Employee Newsletter is Dementia Awareness Week, which, this year, runs from the 19th May to the 25th May.

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause, is increasingly discussed in politics and widely covered in the media.  As an ageing society, the relevance of such exposure for all of us will only rise as more and more people are at risk of developing dementia due to increasing lifespans.  As a result of improved health awareness, more nutritious diets, better exercise and advances in medicine, bodies are now declining at a slower rate than minds, in many instances.

The recent passing away of Margaret Thatcher, whose decline into a state of dementia was depicted in a recent film, The Iron Lady, is a stark reminder of the prevalence of dementia within our society.  When you also remember that Ronald Reagan, Thatcher’s close US ally during the Cold War also succumbed to dementia, you realise that two of the most powerful leaders of the western world in the last century were both susceptible to this form of mental decline, despite years in office using the very same brains trusted to make decisions that could have affected the fate of millions.

Many people, around 800,000, are directly suffering from dementia (half of whom are completely unaware) and many of you reading this blog will have been, or know of someone close who has been, impacted by the high care demands placed upon them.

With the UK government’s abolition of the default retirement age, resulting in an ageing workforce, we also need to be aware of people in the workplace who begin to show signs of this progressive disease.  Employers must be prepared to support people with dementia and to make reasonable adjustments so they are not disadvantaged at work, even though, over time, it may become impossible for them to carry on working.

The theme for this year’s Dementia Awareness Week is “Talking”.  By talking about dementia we can all raise awareness and knowledge about the subject.  Although there is no cure for dementia there are drugs available that can slow down the effects, so early diagnosis and preparation for the years ahead is really important.

For more information:  http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/




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