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Information About Dementia

Helping people in West Berkshire living with dementia

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive diseases that affect the brain. It describes a group of symptoms that include problems with memory, thinking or language and changes in mood, emotions, perception and behaviour.

Dementia can affect a person at any age but it's more common in people over the age of 65. As a progressive disease, the symptoms may be relatively mild at first, but get worse over time. There are many types of dementia but Alzheimer's disease is the most common. The next most common is Vascular Dementia.

Five facts about dementia

  1. dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  2. dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
  3. it is not just about losing your memory
  4. some people find it possible to live well with dementia
  5. there is more to a person than dementia

For more information about all types of dementia, visit the Alzheimer's Society website.

How many people in West Berkshire have a form of dementia?

In the UK around 800,000 people are living with dementia. In West Berkshire, 1,669 residents aged 65 and over are estimated to have dementia, but this is likely to be an underestimate because of low levels of diagnosis.

Less than half of people living with dementia in the UK have a formal diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, people with dementia will not have access to the appropriate support, information and treatment they need.

Being dementia aware and dementia friendly 

Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer's Society initiative which is funded by the government as part of the Dementia Challenge. At a Dementia Friends information session, you will learn what it's like to live with dementia, and how you can help to create dementia friendly communities. You could help someone living with dementia to feel included in their local community. Every attendee is awarded a forget-me-not dementia friends pin badge, to show that they know and care about dementia.

The same forget-me-not symbol has been used to recognise organisations and businesses in West Berkshire that are dementia friendly. You can find out more about Dementia Friendly West Berkshire on their website.

These free information sessions are run by Dementia Champions, who are volunteers who have undertaken training to help others make a positive difference to people living with dementia in our district. Please contact us if you want to find out more. 

To find out more about how West Berkshire is dementia friendly, please visit the Dementia Friendly West Berkshire website.

How can I reduce my risk of developing dementia?

Having a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Keep physically active - do at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week (you can find ideas for keeping active on our Physical Activity webpage.)
  2. Get your measurements checked - keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol
  3. Drink alcohol in moderation - the NHS have useful advice for cutting down on alcohol
  4. Eat a healthy balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and less fat and salt
  5. Quit smoking - find out how on our Stop Smoking webpage.

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